FTC URGES LOOK AT THE MARKETING FOR PG-13 MOVIES: The Federal Trade Commission is urging the Motion Picture Association of America to reconsider guidelines that allow some PG-13 movies to be marketed to young children, following a complaint by an advocacy group that the blockbuster film "Transformers" was inappropriately advertised to children as young as 2. It also is urging toy manufacturers, fast food chains and retailers to review how they sell movie-based toys to young children. In a complaint last summer, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said the "Transformers" movie was advertised during the shows "Fairly Odd Parents" and "Jimmy Neutron," both rated by the television industry as TV-Y, or for all children, including those as young as 2. The movie, based on Hasbro Inc.'s line of "robots in disguise" toys, is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action violence, brief sexual humor and language. While the FTC suggests industry groups review their policies, it did not force them to take any action, a decision the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood called "disheartening."
FUNDAMENTALIST TRUST COMES WITH CHALLENGES: Call it Bruce Wisan's black hole. The $114 million United Effort Plan property trust landed in his lap for management in 2005 with no books, no bank account, no cash and no cooperation from most of those deemed its beneficiaries. To the residents of the trust lands -- essentially the towns of Hildale, Utah, Colorado City, Ariz., and an enclave near Bountiful, British Columbia -- Wisan was an unwelcome intruder leading a hostile takeover. The trust is the charitable arm of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an insular sect whose members engage in the illegal practice of polygamy in arranged marriages and limit interaction with mainstream society. In the 1940s, the trust established the religion as a communal society that would benefit all who contributed to its assets. But by 2005, a court ruled that church leaders, including church prophet Warren Jeffs, had mismanaged its assets and should be removed. Assistant Utah Attorney General Tim Bodily hand-picked Wisan for the job. "We needed somebody that was willing to step in there in really a hostile environment," said Bodily, who had worked with Wisan previously. "We knew we really weren't going to get any cooperation." In fact, from the start the FLDS has engaged in "active dis-cooperation," Wisan said.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CHANGES SCHEDULE: Southwest Airlines will add 15 flights to six cities from Denver International Airport, in a bid to shift its routes to growing markets. The Dallas-based discount carrier said Wednesday the changes boost its Denver flight schedule by 27 percent. Systemwide, Southwest will add 49 flights and eliminate 40 as of May 10. The Denver additions include five daily roundtrip flights to Los Angeles, three each to San Jose and St. Louis, two to Philadelphia and one each to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and San Antonio. Southwest currently operates 56 daily nonstop flights out of Denver.
WALGREEN EXPANDS DHL SHIPPING SERVICE: Drugstore chain Walgreen Co. said Wednesday it would offer shipping services at nearly all its U.S. stores as part of a new agreement with delivery company DHL. Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreen said it already has kiosks to label, weigh and ship packages at stores in Florida and Illinois. It expects to install DHL centers in about 6,500 stores by the end of the year, with about 1,600 Walgreens offering DHL services around the clock. The move will give DHL, a subsidiary of German mail and shipping company Deutsche Post AG, a hefty boost -- doubling the number of retail outlets in which its services are provided. "The service addresses an important need for our time-crunched customer base," said George Riedle, Walgreen's executive vice president of marketing. Walgreen shares fell 48 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $33.759 Wednesday. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
BEE NEWS SERVICES
50: Percentage of companies serving Europe and Great Britain that said their bookings to these areas have dropped, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Tour Operators Association
60: Percentage of respondents who say they expect the weak dollar to be reflected in 2008 prices, which generally would increase 5 percent to 15 percent
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