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Archive for Friday, May 2, 2003

Briefcase

May 2, 2003

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KFC to change policies after PETA protests

KFC, the world's largest chicken restaurant chain, announced new standards Thursday meant to guarantee humane treatment for its birds from hatchery to slaughterhouse.

The fast-food giant also asked the government to review a possible change in how processors slaughter its birds. KFC wants to know if gassing the birds with blasts of carbon dioxide would be safe for consumers and slaughterhouse workers. Its suppliers now stun the birds, then slit their throats.

KFC and its parent, Yum! Brands Inc., said the changes were not spurred by protests from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Above PETA protesters in Iowa City, Iowa, protest outside a KFC restaurant.

Retail

Credit card companies settle debit card lawsuit

Retail stores -- and ultimately their customers -- will save $100 billion through the end of the decade under an agreement reached with Visa and MasterCard over their increasingly popular debit cards, the retailers' lawyer said Thursday.

The two card issuers agreed to pay $3 billion and lower transaction fees to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of major U.S. retailers, including such giants as Wal-Mart and Sears.

Beginning Jan. 1, retailers who accept Visa and MasterCard credit cards will have the option of accepting or rejecting those companies' debit cards -- a concession designed to force the big card companies to lower the fees they charge stores.

Survey

State economy shrinking

The Kansas economy continued to struggle in April, according to a monthly survey of business managers.

Kansas' reading in the Mid-American Business Conditions Survey dropped to 45.8 from March's weak reading of 47.9. A number below 50 indicates the economy is contracting.

The survey also noted that Kansas has lost 2,500 jobs during the first three months of 2003.

"Based on surveys over the past several months, I expect the state to continue to lose jobs, albeit at a slower pace, in the second quarter of this year," said Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who conducts the survey.

Media

USA Today names Moon as new publisher

Craig Moon, executive vice president of Gannett Co. Inc.'s newspaper division, has been named president and publisher of USA Today, the company announced Thursday.

Moon replaces Tom Curley, who is leaving Gannett's national newspaper to become president and chief executive officer of The Associated Press, effective June 1.

Moon has been executive vice president for the past year.

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