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AT&T's Loss Could Be ISPs' Net Gain

Plus, Mannesmann is now facing angry shareholders.

AT&T

(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report

will open the lines of communication -- to its rivals. The

Washington Post

reported Sunday that the company has agreed to let rival Internet service providers use its high-speed cable lines. Sources tell the

Post

that the concession was part of a tentative deal the company has reached with ISP

MindSpring Enterprises

(MSPG)

.

The U.S. wants airlines to keep tabs on the safety records on their foreign partners, sources tell

Reuters

. The proposed requirement would apply to U.S. airlines that write tickets for flights on foreign airlines.

Meanwhile, competition in the domestic aviation industry could soon get tighter thanks to an overseas competitor.

Richard Branson

tells the

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Sunday Times

in London that he is moving ahead with plans to launch a low-cost airline in the U.S., encouraged by the startup of service in Australia.

Overseas,

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

, which has lately been fending off would-be acquisitor

Vodafone

(VOD) - Get Vodafone Group Plc Report

, now faces an attack from within. Germany's

Welt am Sonntag

newspaper reports that a group of Mannesmann shareholders filed suit against the telecom giant in Germany Friday. They want the company to stop fighting Vodafone's repeated takeover attempts and let shareholders decide how to proceed.

Having successfully disrupted the

World Trade Organization

meeting in Seattle last week, opponents say they are now setting their sights on the free-trade pact between the U.S. and China. Expect Round 2 of this fight early next year.

Even though sales plunged 50%,

Disney's

(DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report

Toy Story 2

topped the box office for a second weekend in a row, with receipts of $28.3 million. Following were James Bond's

The World is Not Enough

, with $10.6 million,

Ah-nuld's End of Days

, with $9.7 million,

Sleepy Hollow

, with $9 million, and

The Bone Collector

, with $3.1 million.

In the Papers

Unlikely as it may sound,

General Motors

(GM) - Get General Motors Company Report

could become a takeover target,

Barron's

reports. Speculation has it that the automaker's highly profitable

Hughes Electronics

(GMH)

unit, which operates

DirecTV

, could attract a group of investors, the magazine reports.

Xeikon

(XEIK)

has been facing sluggish growth along with the rest of the digital printing industry, but it also faces the growing threat of cheaper competitors,

Barron's

reports in its latest issue.

Barron's

also takes a look at auto-parts maker

Arvin Industries

(ARV)

, which hopes to see its sales and earnings double during a five-year period ending in 2002.

Life's about to get a little more interesting for sports fans in London.

Video Network Communications

(VNCI)

, which provides video-on-demand, will announce a deal with

Universal Sports Marketing

to air live football and boxing there, London's

Independent

newspaper reported Sunday.

Rupert Murdoch's

BSkyB

pay-TV service will take a 24% stake in

Kirch Group

, a pay-TV business in Germany, Murdoch tells France's

Le Figaro

newspaper.

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he was long Disney, although holdings can change at any time.