Business Highlights

  • Article by: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , Associated Press
  • Updated: July 8, 2014 - 5:15 PM

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Soda tax's last stand? Bay Area preps for showdown

WASHINGTON (AP) — If two of the most progressive U.S. cities don't pass a tax on sugary drinks, will the idea finally fizzle out?

Sugary drinks have been under fire for years, with many blaming them for rising rates of obesity and chronic diseases. Yet efforts to curb consumption by imposing taxes and other measures have failed, in part because the beverage industry has spent millions to defeat the efforts.

Now, the question of whether a bottle of Dr Pepper with 64 grams of sugar should be treated like a pack of cigarettes is being considered in San Francisco and Berkeley, with the two California cities aiming to become the country's first to pass per-ounce taxes on sugary drinks.

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Crumbs shows dangers of focusing on single product

NEW YORK (AP) — Turns out, being a one-hit wonder is risky.

When Crumbs, the New York City-based chain that built its business around cupcakes, shuttered several dozen of its remaining locations on Monday, it seemed like an abrupt ending for a company that opened a decade ago to ride the wave of popularity of the sugary treat sparked by the TV series "Sex and The City."

But Crumbs' rise and fall isn't surprising when considering the company's dependence on a fad. In fact, it's the latest cautionary tale for businesses that devote their entire menus to variations of a single product.

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EU's united front on Russia falling amid gas needs

VIENNA (AP) — A clutch of countries is breaking ranks with the EU's efforts to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Russia over Ukraine and building a pipeline meant to carry huge amounts of Russian gas to their doorstep.

Their defiance of a European Union stop work order is more significant than just another missed chance for Europe to call out the Kremlin. Russian natural gas already accounts for around a third of the EU's needs. The South Stream pipeline could increase Russian supplies to Europe by another 25 percent, potentially boosting Moscow's leverage long after the Ukraine crisis fades.

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After Detroit, another city ponders bankruptcy

FLINT, Mich. (AP) — As Detroit struggles to climb out of bankruptcy, another Michigan city with strong ties to the auto industry may be about to fall into the same hole.

Flint, the birthplace of General Motors that once had 200,000 residents, has also endured a spectacular drop in population and factory jobs and a corresponding rise in property abandonment, much like its insolvent big brother an hour's drive south.

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