June 22, 2007 in Business

Business in brief: Weak demand closing sawmill for two weeks

The Spokesman-Review

A North Idaho sawmill will close for two weeks and reopen in July with a reduced staff.

Welco of Idaho produces Western red cedar boards for fences. Weaker demand for fencing material is behind the 24 layoffs, said Rob Harrison, Welco’s business manager.

A skeleton crew will stay on for equipment maintenance during the shutdown, which begins at the end of Friday’s swing shift. The plant will reopen July 9.

The plan is to consolidate two 40 hour shifts into one 50 hour shift, Harrison said. If the market improves, Welco could bring people back, he said. Currently, about 83 people work at the plant.

New York

Publisher delays release of violent video game

Video game publisher Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. said Thursday it was temporarily suspending the release of the violent title “Manhunt 2” because of an ongoing ratings controversy in the United States and a ban in Britain and Ireland.

The New York-based company said in a statement that it needed time to “review its options” but would “continue to stand behind this extraordinary game.”

“We believe in freedom of creative expression, as well as responsible marketing, both of which are essential to our business of making great entertainment,” the company said.

“Manhunt 2” had been scheduled for a July 10 release in the United States on both Nintendo Co.’s Wii and the PlayStation 2 from Sony Corp.

But critics said they were concerned with the game’s content, which depicts the escape of an amnesiac scientist and a psychotic killer from an asylum and their subsequent killing spree. In the Wii version, the console’s motion-sensitive remote is waved around to control a virtual murder weapon.

The suspension was a setback for creator Rockstar Games, which has come under fire for its popular “Grand Theft Auto” series of urban crime games, and Take-Two.

A spokesman for Rockstar said he was unable to comment on the suspension.

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