The Cable

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(CNN) On Monday, a jury awarded a California woman $417 million because she developed ovarian cancer and had used Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder for decades. The award includes $70 million in compensatory damages and $347 million in punitive damages.

Eva Echeverria, a 63-year-old from Los Angeles, said she had been using the powder as a regular part of her feminine hygiene routine since she was 11 years old. She stopped using it in 2016, after she read a news story about another woman who used it and had ovarian cancer.

Echeverria's is the first of hundreds of similar cases in California to be decided. Juries elsewhere have returned four other verdicts against Johnson & Johnson, and another case in New Jersey was dismissed.

There are thousands of similar cases going through state and federal courts right now.

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission has started an in-depth investigation of Bayer's planned $66 billion takeover of U.S. seeds group Monsanto, saying it was worried about competition in pesticide and seeds markets.

The merger would create the world's largest integrated pesticides and seeds company, the Commission said, adding this limited the amount of competitors selling herbicides and vegetable seeds in Europe.

"The Commission has preliminary concerns that the proposed acquisition could reduce competition in a number of different markets resulting in higher prices, lower quality, less choice and less innovation," the European Commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

Germany's Bayer said it still aimed to have the transaction approved by the end of the year.

"Bayer looks forward to continuing to work constructively with the Commission with a view to obtaining the Commission's approval," the company said in a statement.

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(Caribbean 360 News) ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, Saturday August 19, 2017 — Stay over visitor arrivals in Grenada are up five per cent overall for the first half of 2017.

A breakdown of that increase shows that, compared to figures for the same period last year, the Spice Isle saw an increase of 10 per cent in arrivals from the United States, nine per cent from Canada, seven per cent from the Caribbean and a whopping 33 per cent in arrivals from Germany, according to Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) data.

“We are happy with the growth in arrivals for the first half of the year when compared to last year, as it shows our robust and creative efforts in marketing the destination, is paying dividends,” said chief executive officer of the GTA.

While the arrival projections for the next winter cruise season 2017/18 are 27 per cent higher than the actual figures for last season, the Ministry of Tourism and the GTA are continuing to be proactive.

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CASTRIES, St Lucia (CMC) – St Lucia’s banana production may increase by a whooping 300 per cent if current production trends continue for this year, according to figured released here by marketing agents WINFRESH.

“If the current level of production is maintained, the island could see the production of almost 20,000 tonnes for 2017, which would be an over 300 percent increase compared to 2016 figures,” the islands Agriculture Minister Ezechiel Joseph told reporters.

Joseph says the figures released by WINFRESH are “very encouraging” and called on farmers to continue to work diligently as government continues to expand the export market for the fruit.

“If we continue with what I am seeing, we might reach almost 20,000 tonnes for the year 2017 despite the fact that [for] the first quarter of 2017 …we were recovering from Tropical Storm Matthew, so that’s significant.”

Joseph disclosed that the country is hoping to add to its exports starting in January where it will send out 3,000 boxes of bananas to France on a weekly basis.

“They have given a commitment. They are still interested in purchasing our bananas, through of course, our established mechanism, that’s through Winfresh.

“So we are looking at starting sometime in January, where, January to March 2018 … That is another market that we have of course and we need to increase the production.”

Joseph said he is optimistic taking into account the condition of banana fields on the island.

“It’s very encouraging,” he said, though noting that there should be greater banana production and consistency in yields.

“When I went to London I had the opportunity to meet with some of the major supermarkets and they are saying that they want more of the Windward Islands bananas, so there is a market.

“It’s for farmers now to be able to produce the fruit on a sustainable basis to increase the productivity so they can generate the type of returns … form that enterprise because right now, when I look at the figures…and if the figures are correct, it is showing that we have reduced our production per acre,” he noted.

Globalisation and changes in the European market since the early 90’s, left the already fragile banana industry in tatters.

Exports declined from 132,000 tons in 1992 to just 42,000 tones in 1995 and has declined further since, with exports sometimes lower than 5,000 tons.

The number of banana farmers has also fallen from 10,000 to under 800 as the industry is forced to produce the quality fruit the market demands while facing stronger competition and lower prices


(Caribbean 360 News) NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Bank of the Bahamas (BOB) is facing an uphill battle to get out of the red as it continues to rack up millions of dollars in losses due to bad loans.

According to a report on the bank’s financial performance for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2017, the bank recorded net loan loss provisions of about $35.4 million during the final quarter of the fiscal year 2016 and $49.2 million since the start of 2017

“This was up by $20.1 million from the same quarter last year and up by $24.7 million year to date compared to the prior year. As a result of the increased credit loss expenses, the bank recognized a net loss of $32.8 million for the quarter and $43.8 million year to date,” the report stated.

BOB acknowledged that the situation was worrying, stressing that its ultimate return to profitability is largely dependent on the performance of its loan portfolio.

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