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Archive for Saturday, June 26, 2004

Briefcase

June 26, 2004

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European Union gives boost to biotech crops

The European Commission proposed Friday that European Union governments approve Monsanto Co.'s genetically-modified corn for use in processed foods.

The commission said any products containing the corn, known as NK603, would have to be labeled clearly as genetically modified.

Friday's proposal to allow the corn to be marketed came a month after the European Union lifted its six-year moratorium on approving genetically modified organisms. The EU's 25 member states now have three months to decide whether to accept it.

European leaders have stressed the importance of the biotech industry as an engine for growth. Yet they are reluctant to be seen as promoting genetically-modified foods, which remain unpopular in Europe where consumers remember recent food-related health scares such as mad cow disease.

Restaurant

Low-carb craze factor in closure of Tippin's

Tippin's Restaurants Inc. has closed its remaining restaurants, but the chain's beloved pies and cheesecakes still will be available at some Kansas City-area groceries.

The Overland Park-based chain had about $40 million in sales and employed about 1,800 people in 18 Tippin's restaurants in Missouri, Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma at its peak in the early 1990s.

But the company filed for bankruptcy in January 2003 after posting a net loss of $1.7 million and closing nine unprofitable restaurants in the Kansas City area, St. Louis and Texas.

The company had hoped to emerge from Chapter 11 protection, but it closed its four remaining Tippin's restaurants and its lone Gambucci's operation on Thursday after suffering a downturn in revenues in the last two months.

Company officials said its recovery stalled, in part, because of the low-carb craze that hurt sales of their pies at Tippin's and their pasta at Gambucci's.

Lawrence

Chamber launches redesigned Web site

Lawrence Chamber of Commerce officials unveiled the organization's redesigned Web site Friday and touted its new features.

The site, www.lawrencechamber.com, now features a searchable database of chamber members and includes chamber documents and reports that can be downloaded, said Susan Henderson, the chamber's director of marketing.

The site includes information about the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, the community's economic development program and the chamber's membership services.

Report

Companies receive dismal diversity ratings

Fewer than a third of American workers believe their companies have effective diversity programs, according to a report by the National Urban League.

The report, set for release Monday, also found that fewer than half of the workers surveyed had favorable opinions of their companies' efforts on recruiting, leadership commitment and career development.

Sixty-five percent of those surveyed agreed that diversity improved creativity and innovation in the workplace, and 80 percent said they were comfortable working in diverse teams.

But when asked if their company had an effective diversity program, only 32 percent had a favorable response.

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