News In Brief

US cigarettemakers will be sued for damages that could reach $40 billion, public-health officials in the Canadian province of Ontario announced. They said the suit, which will be filed in an unspecified US court, will be modeled on cases recently settled for $206 billion in which 46 states alleged an illegal conspiracy to promote smoking among the young. Under Canada's publicly funded health-care system, Ontario spends about $1 billion a year to treat smoking-related illnesses. The suit is thought to be a first for a Canadian province against US tobacco companies, although British Columbia has similar litigation pending against Canadian cigarettemakers.

Universal Studios Escape in Orlando, Fla., staved off an attempt by live performers to form what would have been the growing theme park's first employee union. A representative of Actors Equity Association blamed what he called a "disinformation campaign" by Universal for the 129-to-97 vote against the union. The outcome was surprising because 75 percent of the theme park's 270 actors, singers, dancers, and stunt people signed cards earlier this year requesting Actors Equity representation

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