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      Postal cuts to slow delivery of first-class mail

      Facing bankruptcy, the U.S. Postal Service is pushing ahead with unprecedented cuts to first-class mail next spring that will slow delivery and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

      The estimated $3 billion in reductions will be announced in broader detail Monday. They're part of a wide-ranging effort by the Postal Service to quickly trim costs -- without immediate help from Congress in sight.

      The changes could slow everything from check payments to Netflix's DVDs-by-mail. They could add costs to mail-order prescription drugs, and threaten the existence of newspapers and time-sensitive magazines delivered to far-flung suburban and rural communities.

      And that birthday card mailed first-class to Mom could arrive a day or two late, if people don't plan ahead.

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