- - Monday, May 7, 2012

PLEASANTON, Calif. — The nation’s second-largest grocery chain says it will adopt purchasing policies that favor more humane treatment of pigs.

Safeway Inc. announced Monday that it’s planning to stop buying from suppliers that use pig gestation crates. Most pork currently comes from sows confined during their four-month pregnancies in narrow crates.

Animal welfare activists, including the Humane Society of the United States, have pushed for using open pens.

Other corporations such as McDonald’s and Burger King also plan to buy pork from pigs not kept in crates.

FRANCE

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad cancels Airbus A350 orders

PARIS — Airbus says fast-growing Abu Dhabi-based airline Etihad Airways has canceled another seven orders for its A350-1000 wide-body long-range jet.

Spokeswoman Aude Lebas said the April cancellation follows a similar decision in December not to go through with orders for six of the same jets. Etihad still has orders for 12 of the aircraft, a rival of Boeing’s 777, according to Airbus’ website.

NEVADA

Self-driving cars set for Silver State test

CARSON CITY — Nevada drivers could soon be sharing the road with vehicles that don’t need them.

Department of Motor Vehicles officials say they’ve issued Google Inc. the nation’s first license to test self-driving cars on public streets.

Nevada officials said Monday that demonstrations on the Las Vegas Strip and in Carson City helped show that the tech company was ready to move the autonomous autos into the next stage of development.

Self-driving vehicle technology works like auto-pilot to guide a car - in this case a modified Prius - with little or no intervention from a human operator.

BANKING

Mortgage-investors rebuffed in Washington Mutual case

WILMINGTON, Del. — The judge in Washington Mutual’s bankruptcy case ruled Monday that a group of investors who are plaintiffs in a federal mortgage-backed securities lawsuit against WaMu cannot file a claim in the company’s bankruptcy case until distributions are made to a group of low-ranking creditors.

The plaintiffs, whose lawsuit is scheduled for a September trial in Seattle, have asserted a claim of $435 million in the bankruptcy case and argue that they should be treated as general unsecured creditors.

Washington Mutual maintains that the plaintiffs’ claims must be subordinate to those of other creditor classes.

NEBRASKA

‘Pink slime’ controversy to cost 650 jobs, firm says

LINCOLN — Beef Products Inc. will close processing plants in three states this month because of the controversy surrounding its meat product that critics have dubbed “pink slime,” a company official said Monday.

About 650 jobs will be lost when the plants close on May 25 in Amarillo, Texas; Garden City, Kan.; and Waterloo, Iowa, company spokesman Rich Jochum said. A plant in South Sioux City, Neb., will remain open but run at reduced capacity.

The South Dakota-based company blamed the closures on what it said were unfounded attacks over its lean, finely textured beef. During its processing, bits of beef are heated and treated with a small amount of ammonia to kill bacteria. The filler has been used for years and meets federal food-safety standards.

MASSACHUSETTS

Talbots given sweetened $211 million buyout offer

HINGHAM — Clothing retailer Talbots Inc. said Monday that it has received a sweetened buyout offer from private equity firm Sycamore Partners that values the company at about $211 million.

Sycamore, which is already Talbot’s largest shareholder with a 9.4 percent stake, is offering $3.05 per share for the company. That’s a 9 percent premium from the stock’s closing price Friday.

The retailer based in Hingham had rejected a $3 per share takeover offer from Sycamore in December, saying it undervalued the company. Talbots said Monday its board is evaluating the latest proposal and other strategic alternatives.

The women’s clothing company has struggled for some time, posting annual losses in four of the past five years.

From wire dispatches and staff reports