In Brief

1999-08-05T00:00:00Z In Brief nwitimes.com
August 05, 1999 12:00 am

INDIANA and ILLINOIS

Judge overturns law banning advertising for some diet drugs

CHICAGO -- A federal judge has ruled an Illinois law that bans brand-name

advertising for certain drugs is unconstitutional.

Judge Suzanne Conlon on Tuesday issued an order barring the law's enforcement

against New Jersey-based Knoll Pharmaceutical Co., maker of the diet drug

Meridia.

The law used to bar advertising for Meridia was passed in 1971 to battle drug

abuse. Conlon, however, ruled the ad ban has not been shown to protect citizens

from the dangers of drug abuse.

Knoll Pharmaceutical launched an advertising campaign for Meridia in 1998. But

the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation invoked a state law that

says no controlled substance shall be advertised to the public by name.

More bad news for Bloomington: Otis to cut 165 jobs

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Bloomington has received more economic bad news with the

announcement that Otis Elevator Co. will eliminate 165 jobs early next year.

The jobs to be cut include 145 hourly positions and 20 salaried employees. The

plant currently employs 975, including 610 hourly workers represented by Local

826 of the International Union of Electronic, Electrical, Salaried, Machine and

Furniture Workers.

Lou Rinaldo, director and general manager of the plant, said Tuesday it was

consolidating operations from two buildings into one. Some parts production

will be moved elsewhere, but new products will be introduced.

Since the job cuts won't take effect until early next year, normal attrition

through retirement may reduce layoffs.

Bloomington's largest manufacturing employer, General Electric Co., announced

last week it may soon close or curtail operations at its 3,200-employee

refrigerator plant.

The community also lost an Thomson Consumer Electronics television assembly

plant last year and an ABB electric power distribution plant earlier this year.

NATION

U.S. workplace deaths decline in 1998

WASHINGTON -- The number of Americans who died from injuries at work last year

was the lowest since the Labor Department started keeping track in 1992.

Job-related deaths fell to 6,026 in 1998 -- about 17 fatal injuries each day --

down from 6,238 in 1997, according to the agency's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"With employment at an all-time high, it is especially heartening to see a 3

percent drop in job-related fatalities," Labor Secretary Alexis Herman said

Wednesday. "It's good news for every family that sends a breadwinner into the

workplace and waits for him or her to come home safe and whole at the end of

the day."

Fewer workplace homicides -- the second leading cause of on-the-job deaths --

accounted for much of the overall decline. In 1998, 709 people were murdered at

work, compared with 860 in 1997. Overall homicide rates also declined

nationally last year.

U.S. ad spending on traditional media rose 5 percent

NEW YORK -- U.S. advertising spending on traditional media rose 5 percent in

the first quarter, down from 12 percent growth in the same period a year ago,

according to Competitive Media Reporting, which tracks ad spending.

Spending on television, newspaper, magazine, radio and outdoor ads combined

rose to $19.1 billion in the first quarter from $18.3 billion in the same

period last year. General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, spent

the most at $622.7 million, up 16 percent. Procter & Gamble Co. was second with

$393.0 million, down 10 percent.

The fastest growth came from online and Internet services, whose spending on

ads through traditional media outlets almost tripled to $284.2 million. AT&T

Corp. was the biggest spender in the category with $32 million, a 22 percent

rise.

AOL, American Greetings expand online card agreement

DULLES, Va. -- America Online Inc., the largest Internet service, expanded an

agreement that's worth at least $100 million to sell electronic greeting cards

over the World Wide Web with American Greetings Corp.

American Greetings, the second largest U.S. card company, will pay AOL at least

$100 million as part of the 5 1/2-year extension of their original 1997

agreement to market cards to the online access service's users. They will also

share revenue.

The Cleveland-based company's AmericanGreetings.com Web site will provide AOL

users with thousands of virtual cards, many of which are free and feature

cartoon characters such Dilbert and Betty Boop. America Online has expanded its

marketing and advertising agreements to help boost revenue after switching to a

flat-rate subscription in 1996.

Elway to team up on fitness and finance Web site

DENVER -- Retired Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway will team up with a

Florida firm in a venture to create an Internet site focused on health, fitness

and financial planning, his business manager said.

Elway and Boca Raton, Fla.-based JWGenesis Financial Corp. will be partners in

MVP.com, a company to be launched at the Super Bowl in January in Atlanta.

Elway and JWGenesis executives were to make a formal announcement about the

venture in New York.

Jeff Sperbeck, Elway's business manager, did not release details of the deal.

He described the planned company as "not specifically sports related. It's more

of a business venture than a sports venture."

In Wednesday's editions, the Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post

cited unidentified sources as saying the company and Web site would feature

products and services in fitness, health and financial planning as part of the

concept of personal goal-setting.

First Union CEO disappointed with bank's performance

CHARLOTTE -- The chief executive of First Union Corp., which is struggling to

regain investor confidence after twice cutting its profit forecast this year,

said he is disappointed with the bank's performance.

"I know that we have disappointed you this year with our downward earnings

forecast and revisions," said Chairman and CEO Ed Crutchfield, at a meeting

with analysts and investors in New York. "I can assure you we have disappointed

ourselves even more. What I'm asking you to do is focus on the future rather

than the past."

New rail-union president begins term

CLEVELAND -- Edward Dubroski, the new president of the Brotherhood of

Locomotive Engineers, said he wants to reunite the 55,000-member union after a

close vote to recall his predecessor.

Dubroski this week took the helm of the 136-year-old union of train-crew

members after 50.03 percent of those casting ballots last weekend voted to

remove Clarence V. Monin as president. Dubroski, who had been first vice

president, got about 80 percent of the vote to replace Monin.

Dubroski wasn't immediately available to comment on whether the close recall

vote could split the union as it tries to fend off an attempt by the United

Transportation Union to have all train-crew members represented by a single

labor group.

WORLD

Shell to drop customer warning about delays for Nigerian oil

LONDON -- The Royal Dutch/Shell Group, Nigeria's largest foreign oil producer,

will lift its warning to customers by Saturday that oil deliveries from Nigeria

would be delayed because of civil unrest.

Shell declared force majeure on July 9, a contract clause that's invoked when a

company cannot meet delivery obligations because of circumstances beyond its

control. The condition was lifted Aug. 3 at the Bonny loading terminal and is

set to expire Aug. 7 at Shell's Forcados terminal, said company spokeswoman

Cerris Tavinor.

Together, those two terminals exported some 750,000 barrels of oil a day or

roughly 1 percent of the world's needs. The two terminals ship almost 40

percent of the country's daily production. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil

producer.

-- Times wire report

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