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Economy Briefs: Rhode Island’s big bet on Schilling raises concerns

- - Sunday, May 20, 2012

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island's gamble on former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling's video game company is prompting questions from lawmakers about the wisdom of giving an untested company so much help.

The company 38 Studios moved to Rhode Island from Massachusetts in 2010 after the state offered a $75 million loan guarantee that officials said would mean new jobs and tax revenue.

Questions about the company's financial health mounted after it was more than two weeks late on a scheduled $1.1 million payment to the state's economic development agency. The payment was made Friday.

Mr. Schilling has asked for more assistance from the state, but Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he opposes additional taxpayer investments. Some lawmakers say the state's Economic Development Corp. needs more oversight.

Analysts say the video game industry is inherently risky.

MISSOURI

Children urge Crayola to adopt marker recycling

KANSAS CITY — A group of California grade school students wants Crayola to start a recycling program for their spent plastic markers.

About 40 students at Sun Valley elementary school in San Rafael, Calif., have been pushing an online petition to nudge Crayola into developing a "take-back" program for used-up markers. Crayola is a subsidiary of Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards.

The petition had about 60,000 signatures as of this past weekend.

Crayola spokeswoman Stacy Gabrielle said the company has no plans to offer a marker recycling program because it doesn't have the facilities. But she said Crayola has other green initiatives, including using solar energy to make about a third of the 3 billion crayons it produces each year. She also said its marker caps can be recycled at certain facilities.

SOUTH AFRICA

Nation to destroy millions of defective banknotes

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's central bank has to destroy more than 3.6 million defective 100 rand banknotes worth a total of nearly 34 million euros ($43 million), the Sunday Times reported.

The bills, printed in Sweden, bear the same series numbers as a series printed locally, the report said, quoting the central bank's spokesman, who would not confirm that the bills would be destroyed.

Moreover some of the notes printed in Sweden were neither the right color nor size — coming up short by about a millimeter — which poses problems for automated counting machines.

South Africa is redesigning all of its bank notes this year to bear a portrait of first post-apartheid President Nelson Mandela.

The backs of the new bills will retain pictures of South Africa's big game, a major tourist draw. The 100 rand note has a buffalo on the back.

GERMANY

Anti-capitalists reoccupy area around central bank

FRANKFURT — Anti-capitalist activists pitched tents outside the European Central Bank in Frankfurt on Sunday, four days after police cleared out an earlier encampment.

An activist from the Occupy Frankfurt collective told Agence France-Presse that the city had given protesters permission to camp until Wednesday.

"But discussions with the city for an extension will take place from tomorrow," said Thomas, who like many demonstrators declined to give his last name.

"After all that's happened in the last few days, I can't imagine the city refusing," he added.

Police on Wednesday cleared out a camp that had been occupied for seven months in front of the ECB, ahead of huge anti-capitalism protests that took place over the weekend.

Some of the demonstrators hurled paint at police who were moving them, but the clearing of the Occupy Frankfurt camp was mainly peaceful.

More than 20,000 people rallied in Frankfurt on Saturday.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports