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Business in brief: Wilcox to close one dairy plant

The Spokesman-Review

A decision by Wilcox Family Farms to close its Western Washington dairy processing plant will not affect its Cheney operations, spokeswoman Kathy Martin said Thursday.

Wilcox said shutting down the Roy plant at the end of March will cost 130 employees their jobs, although some may be absorbed by its egg division, which the company plans to expand. Wilcox employs 365.

The statement announcing the closure at Roy attributed the move to large-company domination of the dairy business that has made milk processing unprofitable, “particularly in Western Washington.” But Martin said the Cheney operation is profitable.

The Cheney plant opened in 1997 and employs 50.

Wilcox opened for business in Roy in 1909.

– Bert Caldwell

Palo Alto, Calif.

Facebook adds Spanish version

Facebook Inc. unveiled a Spanish-language version of its popular online social network Thursday, hoping to expand its audience and catch up to rival MySpace.com.

It marks the first time Facebook has been available in a language besides English since founder Mark Zuckerberg started the Web site at Harvard University four years ago.

Facebook plans to add French and German versions before April, according to Matt Cohler, the Palo Alto-based company’s vice president of strategy and operations.

News Corp.’s MySpace, which is larger than Facebook, is available in 13 languages, including Spanish, French, German, Japanese and Italian.

Adding more languages is important to Facebook because about 60 percent of its 64 million active users are from outside the United States, including about 2.8 million in Latin America and Spain.

Beginning next week, anyone accessing Facebook from a Spanish-speaking country will automatically be routed to the Spanish version.

– Asssociated Press

Phoenix

Ban on hiring illegals upheld

A federal judge Thursday upheld an Arizona law that prohibits businesses from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and revokes the business licenses of those that do.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake’s 37-page ruling was a defeat to employers who argued it’s an unconstitutional attempt by a state to regulate immigration.

The ruling was a victory for advocates for tougher immigration enforcement who reject the long-standing notion that immigration enforcement was solely a federal responsibility.

Wake rejected arguments by business groups that federal immigration law severely restricts Arizona’s ability to punish people who knowingly employ illegal immigrants.

The judge concluded the Arizona law doesn’t conflict with federal immigration law, which he said specifically lets states regulate business licensing.

Wake’s ruling did not address whether the law applies only to workers hired since January.

– Associated Press

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