Business news in brief

Posted: February 7, 2018 at 1:51 a.m.
Updated: February 7, 2018 at 1:51 a.m.

In this Jan. 26, 2017, file photo, containers of Roundup, a weed killer made by Monsanto, is seen on a shelf at a hardware store in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

Research on Roundup irks GOP lawmakers

WASHINGTON -- Republican lawmakers are threatening to cut off U.S. funding for the World Health Organization's cancer research program over its finding that the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup is probably carcinogenic to humans.

House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said Tuesday that the 2015 conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer was fundamentally flawed and relied on cherry-picked science. The Texas lawmaker said he has serious concerns about what he called an anti-industry bias and a lack of transparency within the program, which is based in Lyon, France.

A separate review by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in December that Roundup is not likely to cause cancer at typical levels of exposure.

Roundup, made by the agribusiness giant Monsanto, is the world's most widely used weedkiller and has been sprayed on corn, soybeans, cotton and other crops since the 1970s. It is also widely used on lawns and golf courses.

Monsanto also sells seeds genetically modified to produce crops that can tolerate being sprayed with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup and other products, as the surrounding weeds die.

-- The Associated Press

Law firms merge, settle into LR offices

Two longtime law practices -- Williams & Anderson and the Richard Mays Law Firm -- merged as of Jan. 1, the firms announced Tuesday.

The combined firms are continuing business with the name Williams & Anderson.

Williams & Anderson was established in 1988 and has offices in the Stephens Building in Little Rock. The Richard Mays firm was established in 1998 and has offices in Heber Springs.

The Mays firm now will work out of the Williams & Anderson offices. The combined firm has 15 attorneys and a full support staff.

Both firms specialize in a variety of practices, including corporate, litigation, real estate, labor and employment, tax, trusts and estates, and commercial law.

Other specialties of the Mays firm that will be added to Williams & Anderson are environmental energy, regulatory law and litigation.

-- David Smith

Newsweek suddenly fires top 2 editors

Two of Newsweek's top editors -- Editor-in-Chief Bob Roe and Executive Editor Kenneth Li -- were abruptly fired from the company on Monday, along with reporter Celeste Katz.

The decision caused chaos among the newsroom's remaining employees, who first found out about the firings not from management, but through word of mouth. Two reporters at Newsweek and its sister publication, the International Business Times, have since resigned in protest.

Katz, Roe and Li were among a team of reporters and editors who were pursuing an investigative piece into the finances of Newsweek's parent company, the Newsweek Media Group. The company publishes Newsweek, the International Business Times, and a handful of websites.

Employees were told to stop work and given the option of going home early on Monday, but some hung around, hoping to learn more about why the magazine's top editors were suddenly fired, one current employee of Newsweek Media Group said. Others were anticipating the worst: downloading their clips, brushing up resumes and preparing to look for work elsewhere, should the entire publication collapse.

-- The Washington Post

China gets Mercedes 'sorry' for quote

Daimler AG unit Mercedes-Benz is the latest international company offering the Chinese an open apology for quoting the Dalai Lama on Instagram, weeks after Chinese regulators investigated Marriott International for listing Tibet as a nation on its website.

The automaker attached a quote from the Tibetan spiritual leader to a post showcasing a sleek luxury model -- "Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open." The post garnered more than 89,000 "likes" before it was removed, according to a screenshot by the Global Times, the media mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party that was quick to criticize Mercedes-Benz's message.

"We fully understand this incident has hurt the feelings of Chinese people, including Mercedes-Benz's employees in China," the company said in a statement on Weibo after deleting the post it said contained "extremely mistaken information."

The Chinese Foreign Ministry urged foreign companies to respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity after the Marriott investigation. Retailer Zara and airline operator Delta also issued apologies for listing Tibet and Taiwan as nations on their websites.

-- Bloomberg News

BP to put $500M a year into clean energy

BP PLC plans to invest $500 million a year on low-carbon energy, which presents a growing challenge to its traditional oil business.

The United Kingdom-based oil producer sees "significant commercial potential" in solar power and is becoming more active in trading carbon credits, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Lamar McKay said in London. It also plans to set targets for emissions from operations, he said.

In December, BP re-entered the solar market after a six-year absence with a $200 million investment in a company that develops photovoltaic farms in Europe. The move followed recent forays by peers Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Total SA into offshore wind and solar-panel production as oil producers prepare for a future that could be dominated by clean energy.

-- Bloomberg News

Boeing says plane, parts orders at $900M

SINGAPORE -- Boeing announced more than $900 million in orders on Tuesday at a Singapore air show from companies in the region and beyond.

"Predicted growth for aerospace services in the Asia-Pacific brings opportunities to partner with local industry to understand the region's greatest needs ... and then bring them to market quickly," said Stan Deal, president and chief executive of Boeing Global Services.

The orders consist of aircraft parts, digital applications and planning tools. Boeing did not give the value of individual orders.

-- The Associated Press

Business on 02/07/2018