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Poland placed 41st out of 142 on the World Economic Forum’s 2011-2012 Global Competitiveness Index, while Estonia, the region’s top-scoring nation, came in 33rd.

Mr. Boni cited Estonia as a model for the kind of e-government Poland hoped to introduce in the coming years to boost its efficiency.

Estonia, a Baltic state of 1.3 million people which earned the nickname “E-Stonia” for being one of the world’s most wired nations, became the first country to use online voting in parliamentary elections in 2007.

Mr. Boni added that Poland wants to hone its residents’ computer skills and give them more reason to go online, as Poles of all ages now access the Internet much more frequently at home rather than at work, school or elsewhere.

And 15 percent of Polish households, or 2.4 million, stay offline not due to financial constraints, but because they simply see no need to go on the Internet.

FTC

Officials: Skechers deceived consumers with shoe ads

The government wants you to know that simply sporting a pair of Skechers’ fitness shoes is not going to get you Kim Kardashian’s curves or Brooke Burke’s toned tush.

Skechers USA Inc. will pay $40 million to settle charges by the Federal Trade Commission that the footwear company made unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes would help people lose weight and strengthen their butt, leg and stomach muscles. Celebrities endorsed the shoes in ads.

The settlement, announced Wednesday, also involves the company’s Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes. Skechers made deceptive claims about those shoes, too, says the agency.

Consumers who bought the shoes will be eligible for refunds.

The commission settled similar charges with Reebok last year over its EasyTone walking shoes and RunTone running shoes. That $25 million agreement also provided customer refunds.

Skechers billed its Shape-ups as a fitness tool designed to promote weight loss and tone muscles with the shoe’s curved “rocker” or rolling bottom, saying it provides natural instability and causes the consumer to “use more energy with every step.” Shape-ups cost about $100.

Ads for the Resistance Runner shoes claimed people who wear them could increase “muscle activation” by up to 85 percent for posture-related muscles and 71 percent for one of the muscles in the buttocks, the FTC said.

MARYLAND

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