Business in brief: ‘Light,’ ‘low tar’ banned overseas

A federal judge Friday prohibited top tobacco companies from marketing cigarettes overseas as products that are “low tar” and “light.”

In a landmark lawsuit brought by the government, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled Aug. 17 that the nation’s top cigarette makers violated racketeering laws and deceived the public for years about the health hazards of smoking.

She ordered the companies to stop using terms such as “light” on their products.

After the decision, the companies asked Kessler to allow them to use the marketing overseas.

There is no justification for concluding that Congress intended to allow the tobacco companies “to tell the rest of the world that ‘low tar/light’ cigarettes are less harmful to health when they are prohibited from making such fraudulent representations to the American public,” Kessler wrote.

Attorneys for the companies said banning the use of the low-tar descriptors in foreign countries would be an unwarranted intrusion upon the right of these countries to regulate cigarette sales within their own borders.


Russia plans more nuclear reliance

Government officials said Friday that Russia will build two nuclear reactors annually through 2015, and increase to four a year by 2020 in an effort to sharply increase atomic power generation, according to Russian news agencies.

First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, one of two likely contenders to succeed President Vladimir Putin in next year’s election, said Russia should not rely exclusively on dwindling oil, gas and other hydrocarbons.

“The need to diversify our energy balance is obvious,” Ivanov was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass, Interfax and RIA Novosti.

Russia has 31 reactors at 10 nuclear power plants, accounting for up to 17 percent of its electricity generation. Putin has called for raising the share of nuclear-generated power to at least 25 percent by 2030.

Ivanov said that Russia will launch two 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactors a year under a program for which the government has allocated $26 billion through 2015.


JetBlue cancels hundreds of flights

JetBlue canceled nearly three-fourths of all scheduled flights across the country Friday – most in the New York area – because of a winter storm on the East Coast.

Aiming to avoid criticism about persistent delays and problems that followed a storm last month, the discount airline had canceled about 400 of its 550 flights by mid-afternoon.

Other airlines – including American, United, Delta and Continental – also canceled flights. Outside of New York’s airports, delays or cancellations were reported at airports in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Albany, N.Y., and Boston.

The storm was blamed for at least two deaths in traffic accidents in Pennsylvania. It also forced school cancellations throughout the Northeast and prompted some government agencies to send workers home early.

JetBlue has been under pressure to do better in bad weather since passengers were stranded in planes at John F. Kennedy International Airport for up to 10 1/2 hours during a storm last month.

From wire reports


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