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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Monster Beverage shares dive as legal woes mount

Category : Business

Energy drink maker Monster reported weak results. Investors are already worried about lawsuits alleging that the drinks are harmful.

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Bebida Beverage Co. (BBDA: OTC Pink Current) | BeBevCo: Double Duty for KOMA Unwind This Weekend in NASCAR

Category : World News

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BeBevCo: Double Duty for KOMA Unwind This Weekend in NASCAR

KOMA Unwind Relaxation Reunites with Carl Long

PR Newswire

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STATESVILLE, N.C., March 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

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Defining absinthe gives EU headache

Category : Business, World News

The EU is struggling to define absinthe – a strong alcoholic drink that inspired some French poets and painters.

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Soda war’s greatest irony: Big Gulps are safe

Category : Stocks

How the drink that started it all — the Big Gulp from 7-Eleven — managed to get excluded from the soda wars.

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Doctors: urgent action on alcohol needed

Category : Business

Coalition of health organisations outline series of radical measures to reduce £55bn annual cost of alcohol misuse

Doctors’ leaders want tough action to limit the sale and promotion of alcohol, including cigarette-style graphic warnings and an end to drinks firms sponsoring sport, to tackle the growing toll of drink-related problems.

A coalition of medical organisations, including those representing GPs, A&E doctors and surgeons, urges ministers in a new report to implement an array of radical measures to reduce the £55bn annual cost of alcohol misuse.

But the draconian proposals did not find much favour with either the drinks industry or the Department of Health, which immediately said that it did not support the introduction of graphic health warnings on bottles and tins.

The Alcohol Health Alliance claims efforts to educate people about the risks of excess alcohol and voluntary deals with the drinks industry have not reversed the trend of increasingly problematic drinking. It wants ministers to set the planned minimum price for alcohol that David Cameron has decided should be introduced in England to be set at 50p a unit, higher than the coalition’s preferred option of 45p.

The alliance of 70 medical bodies and health charities is demanding that:

• A third of the label on all cans and bottles of alcohol should be given over to a hard-hitting warning about the health dangers of over-consumption

• A ban on all alcohol advertising and sponsorship. That would stop alcohol manufacturers paying millions to have their name on teams’ shirts or in the title of a competition – such as Budweiser, which sponsors the FA Cup in England

• Drink sales in shops and supermarkets should be restricted to certain times, and alcohol products sold only in designated areas, to reduce “pre-loading” – in which people drinking cheaper shop-bought alcohol before going out

• A hike in the price of high-strength products, such as certain wines, to discourage consumption

• Local councils do more to stop the proliferation of premises selling alcohol in certain areas

• The drink-drive limit should fall to 50mg per 100ml of blood – amounting to no more than a single pint of beer

The alliance welcomed what it called the limited progress achieved through the coalition’s controversial “responsibility deal” with alcohol producers, such as their pledge to put information about the number of units involved and a warning about not drinking in pregnancy on 80% of products by the end of 2014.

Sir Ian Gilmore, the AHA’s chair, said action was especially urgent given that UK teenagers drink much more than the European average.

Sir Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians, which represents hospital doctors, said the report, Health First, “demonstrates the clear evidence that the government must push on with its commitment to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.” A 50p minimum unit price could prevent over 3,000 drink-related deaths a year and 40,000 crimes annually in England, he added.

But the Department of Health said: “Cigarette-style health warnings are not applicable to alcohol. All levels of smoking are bad for your health, but the same cannot be said for alcohol consumption.”

The department argues that action is already underway to improve the detection and treatment of alcohol problems. Officials agree that information on labels could help consumers make healthier choices, but the industry’s labelling policy is considered to be sufficient.

The British Beer and Pub Association rejected the plan. “Alcohol consumption has fallen by 3% in the past year, and is down 16% since 2004. Drinking among young people is also falling”, said a spokesman. “The sale of alcohol in the UK is already among the most heavily regulated in the world.”

Danone to cut 900 jobs in Europe

Category : Business, World News

French food and drink company Danone says it will cut 900 jobs after weakness in southern European economies hit sales.

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Supersize v undersize: food portions and obesity

Category : Business

Manufacturers have to list calories, fat and sugar on food labels, but their ‘portion size game’ hides a shocking truth contributing to our obesity epidemic

In 2008 Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health, and her co-author David Ludwig published a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association directly questioning whether the western food industry could play a constructive role in solving the obesity epidemic. Long-time foes of the junk food merchants, Nestle and Ludwig accepted that the food producers’ priority was “to make financial returns to stockholders”.

However, they calculated that the US food market was then supplying a staggering 3,900 calories per head/per day to the American public – nearly twice their energy needs. To keep (and increase) their own market share, fast food outlets soon hit on the obvious: they launched a “supersizing” war – outbidding each other to offer customers ever bigger portions first for their dollar, and not much later, for

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Food and drink firms undermining public health policy, say scientists

Category : Business

A paper published in the Lancet calls for regulation of companies that experts say are using methods seen in the tobacco industry

Food, drink, and alcohol companies are using similar strategies to the tobacco industry to undermine public health policies and should be regulated, say public health experts.

Negotiating with multinational companies on salt, fat and sugar levels or including calorie and alcohol amounts on labels in the way the UK government has done through its “responsibility deal” will not work, say the authors of a study published by the Lancet.

“Self-regulation is like having burglars install your locks,” said Professor Ron Moodie of the University of Melbourne, Australia. “You feel you’re safe, but you’re not.”

The paper is one of a series published by the medical journal on the large and growing threat of what are known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the globe – namely cancer, heart disease and stroke, diabetes and respiratory diseases. All are caused partly by our lifestyles – smoking, eating processed food, drinking and taking less exercise – in response to a world where energy-dense food, sugary drinks and alcohol is cheap and heavily marketed.

In 2010, 34.5 million people around the world died from these diseases, which were 65% of all deaths that year. That is expected to rise to 50 million deaths a year by 2030 as the NCD epidemic spreads. The World Health Organisation has set a target to reduce these deaths by 25% by 2025.

Moodie and colleagues say that the food and drink industries should be treated like the tobacco industry – as companies with too much of a vested interest in the sale of unhealthy products to help curb the epidemic of disease. They must have no role in the formulation of national or international policy, they say.

“Regulation, or the threat of regulation, is the only way to change these transnational corporations. The industry must be put under pressure if it is to change.”

The researchers were unable to find any health benefit to industry involvement in voluntary regulation or public-private partnerships. Industry documents, they say, reveal how companies shape public-health legislation and avoid regulation. They build “financial and institutional relations” with health professionals, non-governmental organisations, and national and international health agencies, says the paper. They distort research findings and they lobby politicians to oppose health care reform.

Huge multinational companies dominate sales worldwide. “The frequently used term ‘competitive market’ suggests a wide variety of traders; however, the most powerful corporate sectors of the world’s food system are increasingly concentrated to the point of oligopoly.

“For example, in the USA, the 10 largest food companies control more than half of all food sales. Worldwide, this proportion is about 15% and is rising rapidly. More than half of global soft drinks are produced by large transnational companies.”

The multinationals are now moving in on the developing world, the researchers say. “Saturation of markets in high-income countries has caused the industries to rapidly penetrate emerging global markets, as the tobacco industry has done. Almost all growth in the foreseeable future in profits and sales of these unhealthy commodities will be in low-income and middle-income countries [where consumption is currently low].”

The Food and Drink federation said: “We agree that action is required to tackle the worldwide health burden of obesity and diet-related diseases. However we believe that collaboration between a very wide range of organisations can successfully address the multifactorial causes of non-communicable diseases.”

Health campaign highlights sugar and fat in food

Category : Business

Government TV campaign targets obesity after supermarkets agree voluntary ‘traffic light’ food labelling

A graphic government television campaign highlighting the levels of sugar, fat and salt in everyday foods, including a cola bottle holding 17 cubes of sugar, and a wine glass full of fat from a large pizza, will be launched on Monday during an episode of Coronation Street.

The adverts will bookend commercial food adverts, including from Asda, the Co-Op and Quorn, featuring their healthier ranges.

The campaign is part of the Change4Life scheme. The public health minister, Anna Soubry, said: “We want to make it easy for everyone to keep track of what they eat and make healthier choices. That is why we are also developing a simple and clear system for front of pack labelling that everyone can use.”

The government has been criticised in the past by many in the health sector for not introducing a mandatory simple uniform labelling system, but has finally won agreement from major supermarkets to introduce a traffic light system of labelling on a voluntary basis this year.

Soubry said with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe, there was more to do. “Making healthier, balanced meals on a budget can be a challenge for families. This new Change4Life campaign offers families free healthy recipes and money off those much needed cupboard essentials to encourage everyone to try healthy alternatives.”

Victoria Taylor, a dietician at the British Heart Foundation, welcomed the campaign, but said it was essential it wasn’t just a flash in the pan. “If we’re to lessen the heavy burden of obesity, this campaign must provide the spark for a continued, joined-up approach to the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity across the UK.”

Prosecco sales grow as fizz goes out of champagne market

Category : Business

Tesco says sales of Italian sparkling wine are already twice what they were last year, with new year celebrations still to come

If the credit crunch has taken the fizz out of the UK’s champagne market, Italy’s best-kept secret – prosecco – is emerging as the clear winner over the festive season.

Despite the general downturn in sales of fizz across all retailers this year, the sparkling tipple has been bucking the trend. At Tesco, prosecco has proved to be the star of its fizz category in 2012. Sales are already double what they were this time last year, with the biggest expected concentrated sales of the year still to come in the runup to new year celebrations.

Tesco’s wine category manager, Alain Guilpain, said: “What makes the rising demand for prosecco even more startling is that until about five years ago it was generally only known by connoisseurs. But it has grown by word of mouth and has become our fastest-growing fizz this year, not only riding the credit crunch storm but emerging as a true winner because of its great quality and keen price point.”

There is a similar trend at Waitrose, where prosecco has been the biggest seller in the supermarket’s sparkling wine range in the runup to the festive season.

Ken Mackay, Waitrose’s wine buying manager, said: “Sparkling wine has definitely been the tipple of choice this Christmas, with sales reaching an all-time high. In the week leading up to Christmas, sales of sparkling wine at Waitrose were up 23% year on year. Prosecco is the biggest seller by far, followed by cava. English fizz was the star performer in terms of growth in the week before Christmas, with sales up 80% year on year.”

Its sales of champagne are holding up – up 6% year on year – while combined sales of fizz (sparkling wine and champagne) for the week before Christmas were 440,000 bottles – or 2.2m glasses.

Marks & Spencer said it was gearing up for its biggest new year for champagne and sparkling wine since the millennium, as so many more people are celebrating at home rather than in pubs and clubs and everyone takes a bottle. It expects to sell more than 1m bottles of fizz between Christmas and New Year – 15% more than last year.

Market researchers have already predicted that this year sparkling wine would outsell champagne in the UK. In a survey in July Mintel said champagne sales had fallen by a third since the start of the credit crisis in 2007 as people slashed their spending on luxuries, while sales of cheaper sparking wines had risen by more than 50% over the same period.

The latest trade figures reveal that a poor November sent year-on-year champagne sales down by between 6% and 7%, with overall sales for the full year expected to be some 3% down at 312m-314m bottles.

Guilpain said: “Judging by strong sales and record orders in the last few weeks it looks very much as if a record number of Brits will be drinking prosecco over the festive season.”

Prosecco takes its name from the glera or prosecco white grape variety which is grown mainly in the Conegliano and Valdobbiadene wine-growing regions of north-east Italy. It is a fresh and lively wine with crisp, fruit-driven character, often compared to apples and dessert pears with a clean, refreshing finish.

It was the original wine used in both the bellini (sparkling wine and peach puree) and spritz (sparking wine and orange liqueur) cocktails.

Wine experts believe that Britons who tasted the drink for the first time for the jubilee and other celebrations have recognised it as a wine in its own right rather than as a “poor cousin” of champagne.