PORT LABOR TALKS: A potential work stoppage at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach was on hold pending the resumption of contract talks today between a clerical union and shipping companies. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach handle about 40 percent of the nation's incoming cargo. Retail and apparel industry offi cials are closely watching the developments because any disruption could wreak havoc on shipments of fall and holiday goods. Negotiators for the Offi ce Clerical Unit of Local 63, a division of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, based in San Pedro, Calif., and 14 port employers agreed to take a break from the discussions to consider the proposals on the table. The contract of the 930-member union expired July 1, and it is seeking a new three-year agreement. A walkout would trigger a larger work stoppage by an estimated 15,000 longshoremen.

ARABOV TRIAL PUSHED BACK: The trial date for Jacob Arabov, the famed Manhattan jeweler known as "Jacob the Jeweler," has been moved to Nov. 5 from Aug. 6., said a spokeswoman in the U.S. Attorney's Offi ce in the Eastern District of Michigan. Arabov faces federal charges for allegedly laundering more than $270 million in proceeds from the sale of illegal narcotics on behalf of a Detroit organization known as the Black Mafi a Family. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he could face as much as 20 years in prison.

AKRIS HIRES: Akris has tapped Angelica Mojarro to be U.S. visual director, effective Aug. 1. In this newly created role, Mojarro will be in charge of retail and wholesale visual merchandising, and the overall creative direction for Akris in the U.S. She joined from LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton's North American division, where she was visual merchandising and training director and worked on the Celine and Emilio Pucci divisions. At Akris, she will report to chief executive officer Caroline Brown. The St. Gallen, Switzerland-based company also is looking to strengthen its presence in Asia, and hired Chieko Ino as president of Akris Japan, a new post. Chieko was previously head of marketing at Chanel's fashion division in Japan.

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