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Health law to put calorie info on vending machines PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 08:20

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Office workers in search of snacks will be counting calories along with their change under new labeling regulations for vending machines included in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.

Requiring calorie information to be displayed on roughly 5 million vending machines nationwide will help consumers make healthier choices, says the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to release final rules early next year. It estimates the cost to the vending machine industry at $25.8 million initially and $24 million per year after that, but says if just .02 percent of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week, the savings to the health care system would be at least that great.

The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, according to the National Automatic Merchandising Association. An initial investment of $2,400 plus $2,200 in annual costs is a lot of money for a small company that only clears a few thousand dollars a year, said Eric Dell, the group's vice president for government affairs.

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Hollywood struggles against new film meccas PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by NICK PERRY, Associated Press RYAN NAKASHIMA, Associated Press   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 08:15

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In the old days, filmmakers flocked to Hollywood for its abundant sunshine, beautiful people and sandy beaches. But today a new filmmaking diaspora is spreading across the globe to places like Vancouver, London and Wellington, New Zealand.

Fueled by politicians doling out generous tax breaks, filmmaking talent is migrating to where the money is. The result is an incentives arms race that pits California against governments around the world and allows powerful studios —with hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal— to cherry-pick the best deals.

The most recent iteration of the phenomenon came earlier this month when James Cameron announced plans to shoot and produce the next three "Avatar" sequels largely in New Zealand. What Cameron gets out of the deal is a 25 percent rebate on production costs, as long as his company spends at least $413 million on the three films.

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States await FAA drone testing decision PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MICHELLE L. PRICE, Associated Press MICHELLE RINDELS, Associated Press   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 08:18

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Officials in Utah, Nevada and 22 other states are eagerly awaiting the Federal Aviation Administration's selection of six drone-testing sites for the agency.

States submitting bids are counting on a major economic boost if they become a test site. They also hope it will set them up in the long term as major players in the burgeoning industry.

"We've worn out the edge of the seat waiting for it," said Steve Hill, director of the Nevada Governor's Office of Economic Development.

Unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, have been mainly used by the military, but governments, businesses and even hobbyists are eager to start exploring possible uses for small unmanned aircraft.

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Judge ends Katrina flooding lawsuits against feds PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Sunday, 29 December 2013 08:04

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dozens of lawsuits seeking damages from the federal government for Hurricane Katrina-related levee failures and flooding in the New Orleans area are over.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval Jr. has dismissed the cases. The move comes more than a year after a federal appeals court overturned his ruling that held the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers liable for flooding caused by lax maintenance of a shipping channel.

Duval has also dismissed a parallel lawsuit against a contractor. It claimed excavation work weakened flood walls in New Orleans' Industrial Canal. Duval entered the orders to dismiss the cases on Dec. 20.

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