FAA Approves Boeing Plan to Fix 787's Batteries; Google Pays $7 Million to Settle Privacy Case; FDA Head Says Menu Labeling 'Thorny' Issue ; More
Tribune-Review and Wire Reports, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
FAA approves Boeing plan to fix 787's batteries
A Boeing plan to redesign the 787 Dreamliner's fire-plagued lithium-ion batteries won approval on Tuesday from the Federal Aviation Administration, moving the cutting-edge planes a step closer to flying passengers again. The plan includes changes to the internal battery components to minimize the possibility of short- circuiting, which can lead to overheating and cause a fire. Among the changes are better insulation of the battery's eight cells and the addition of a containment and venting system, the FAA said in a statement. The FAA statement didn't provide an estimate for when the grounded planes might return to service. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., who was briefed by the agency, said that if all goes well, the FAA could give final approval by mid- to late April for the 787 to resume flight. Boeing would still have to retrofit the 50 planes already delivered to eight airlines in seven countries, Larsen said in an interview. That could mean the plane wouldn't return to the skies until late April or early May, he said.
Drugmakers, Interpol ramp up fight against counterfeit medicine
More than two dozen of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies have agreed to provide funding and other support to Interpol's battle against counterfeit prescription drugs, the international police agency said Tuesday. Interpol's newly established Pharmaceutical Crime Program aims to help health agencies, police and customs bureaus in countries around the world stem the supply of bogus brand-name and generic medicines, as well as identify and dismantle the organized crime rings distributing them. Those rings, which operate across borders, are raking in billions of dollars every year, costing legitimate drugmakers a small fortune in lost sales. Meanwhile patients who unknowingly take counterfeit drugs often are poisoned or get sicker because they're not receiving what doctors prescribed. Experts estimate hundreds of thousands of people around the world die because of counterfeit medicines each year.
Google pays $7 million fine to settle Wi-Fi privacy case
Google will pay a $7 million fine to settle a multistate investigation into a snoopy software program that enabled the Internet search leader to intercept emails, passwords and other sensitive information sent several years ago over unprotected wireless networks in neighborhoods around the world. The agreement announced Tuesday covers 38 states and the District of Columbia, part of the area where households and local merchants unwittingly had some of their communications on Wi-Fi networks snatched by Google Inc. from early 2008 until the spring of 2010. Google stopped the data collection in May 2010, shortly before the company revealed cars taking street-level photos for its online mapping service also had been grabbing information transmitted over Wi-Fi networks set up in homes and businesses that didn't require passwords to gain access.
FDA head says menu labeling of calorie counts a 'thorny' issue
Diners will have to wait a little longer to find calorie counts on most restaurant chain menus, in supermarkets and on vending machines. Writing a new menu labeling law "has gotten extremely thorny," says the head of the Food and Drug Administration, as the agency tries to figure out who should be covered by it. The 2010 health care law charged the FDA with requiring chain restaurants and other establishments that serve food to put calorie counts on menus and in vending machines. The agency issued a proposed rule in 2011, but the final rules have since been delayed as some of those non- restaurant establishments have lobbied hard to be exempt.
FTC updates online marketing guide for mobile
As more consumers connect to the Internet through their phones and tablet computers, the government wants to make sure online advertisers know how consumer protection laws apply to mobile ads. …