business news in context, analysis with attitude

• The New York Times reports that "legislators on the island of Kauai in Hawaii have approved a bill that would restrict the use of pesticides by companies developing genetically modified crops there.

The story explains that "because its warm weather allows for three corn harvests a year, Hawaii has become a hub for the breeding of new varieties of corn and other genetically modified crops, and for the production of seeds that are shipped to the mainland ... But the operations have aroused opposition from critics of genetically modified crops and from residents who say they have been bothered by dust and dangerous pesticides.

"The ordinance requires the seed companies to disclose which pesticides they use and establishes no-spray zones around schools, medical facilities, homes, public roads and waterways. The original bill would also have limited the planting of genetically modified crops, but those provisions were removed during deliberations."

Reuters reports that Loblaw Co., "facing increased competition from foreign-owned and domestic retailers, is cutting about 275 jobs as part of its drive to improve operations. The company said that the cuts will come from the management and administrative ranks and the main office, not the stores. The layoffs follow cuts of about 750 positions a year ago.

• In California, the Santa Barbara City Council has passed a law banning the handing out of free single-use plastic bags by supermarkets and other food stores, requiring that retailers charge shoppers 10 cents per bag.

Stores larger than 10,000 square feet have 180 days to comply. Smaller stores get a year.

Reuters reports that Costco said yesterday that "it will cooperate with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in its ongoing investigation of prescriptions for controlled substances, after receiving subpoenas and warrants from the DEA. The DEA has targeted large pharmacy chains and distributors to stem the flow of prescription drugs where abuse is suspected."
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