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Customers cut use of new plastic bags

Foodland Super Market, Hawaii’s largest supermarket chain, said its customers avoided using 702,375 plastic bags during a challenge that ran from Oct. 20 to Nov. 30.

The company offered discounts and prizes to customers who shopped with reusable bags during the period at any of its 32 Foodland, Sack N Save and Foodland Farms stores.

Foodland organized the "Take the Bag Challenge" in part to prepare customers for plastic bag bans taking effect Jan. 11 on Maui and Kauai. But the company said it is extending the environmentally beneficial promotion by continuing to credit customers 5 cents for every reusable bag they use per visit, and giving away a free bag of Back to Nature nuts for customers making eight visits with reusable bags.

Foodland said it aims to reduce plastic and paper bag use by 25 million bags in the next year to help reduce negative impacts on the local environment.

 

South Africa is asked to join BRIC

JOHANNESBURG » South Africa has been formally asked to join the BRIC group of major emerging markets, comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China, bolstering its position as Africa’s champion. Chinese President Hu Jintao wrote a letter to his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, to inform him of the decision and inviting him to the BRIC’s third heads of state meeting in Beijing next year, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in a statement on his ministry’s website.

South Africa, which has a population of 49 million compared with China’s 1 billion, is betting on raising its clout on the world stage by joining BRIC, while strengthening political and trade ties within the bloc.

The country accounts for about a third of gross domestic product in sub-Saharan Africa and will offer BRIC members improved access to 1 billion consumers on the continent and mineral resources including oil and platinum.

Joining the group is "the best Christmas present ever," South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told reporters yesterday in Pretoria. "We will be a good gateway for the BRIC countries. While we may have a small population, we don’t just speak for South Africa, we speak for Africa as a whole."

 

Mylan settles claims of inflated prices

PITTSBURGH » Mylan Inc. agreed to pay $65 million to settle a lawsuit by the U.S. and Texas alleging it inflated prescription drug prices, increasing the cost of reimbursing pharmacies and other providers. The generic-drug maker, based in Pittsburgh, admitted no wrongdoing in agreeing to the payment, it said in a statement.

Since 2003, Mylan has been sued by states making similar allegations, according to the company’s 2009 annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last year, Mylan, AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $124 million to settle claims they violated the U.S. False Claims Act by underpaying Medicaid rebates, the Justice Department said.

 

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