Philip Morris, Nabisco merger approved
Federal regulators conditionally approved on Thursday the $14.9 billion purchase of Nabisco Holdings Corp. by Philip Morris Cos. Inc., which would create the world's largest food company. The combined company would have such brands as Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, Velveeta cheese, Kool-Aid and Jell-O.
Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco company and parent of Kraft Foods, is offering to acquire Nabisco Holdings for $55 a share plus the assumption of $4 billion in debt. The combined companies would have more than $100 billion in annual food sales.
Adult day-care users killed in van fire
A van burst into flames Thursday after arriving at an adult day-care center, killing a man in a wheelchair and a female passenger.
Ten people were in the van as it pulled up to the Almost Family Adult Day Care center and the driver noticed smoke coming from under the hood, said Alonza Williams, Baltimore County Fire Department spokesman.
The driver went into the center to get help and returned to the van with another man. The two were looking under the hood when "the whole thing just went up in flames," Williams said. The cause of the fire was under investigation, fire officials said.
Flu vaccine shortage easing
The nationwide shortage of flu vaccine is expected to ease by mid-December, allowing people who have postponed getting a shot to be vaccinated. Nearly 70 percent of the expected 75 million vaccinations have been administered this flu season, which so far has been mild, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.
Shipments of flu vaccine have been delayed because manufacturers had difficulty growing a particular virus strain included in this season's vaccine.