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Wednesday's Afternoon Update

$100M settlement for hundreds in Florida tobacco lawsuits

A $100 million settlement has been reached between three major tobacco companies and hundreds of people who sued them in Florida federal court. The tentative agreement announced Wednesday involves R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Co. More at the AP and NBC News.

Oil boom's end threatens pain for much of Latin America

Plummeting oil prices are threatening to pull the rug out from under a decade-long economic boom in Latin America. And the region's leftist governments now find themselves in the position of having to slash budgets amid rising social tensions. More from the AP.

Expansion of casino gambling draws dire warnings, praise

Business Profile
Datil Dew

In 1992, Bates and his wife, Wanda, moved to north Florida to retire and be close to relatives. Then a seafood restaurant owner complained to the Bates that he needed a Datil pepper sauce that would not spoil on the shelf and did not need refrigeration. In response, Bates and his wife started Datil Dew Pepper Products.

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If Florida increases its bet on gambling, the wager will ride on whether new casinos could become economic engines as in Baltimore, or economic vacuums as in Atlantic City. That was the central argument in a debate over gambling during a Florida Forward forum earlier this week. More at the Orlando Sentinel.

Ferry service between Florida and Cuba might be launched this year

Travel to Cuba from the United States may soon expand to sea ferry, if several Florida companies get their way. At least half a dozen Florida companies are seriously considering ferry ventures, with plans to seek licenses from the U.S. Treasury Department. More from Reuters and IJReview.

Florida among states with highest number of work-from-home listings

Florida is among the top 10 states with the most telecommuting jobs, with 5.1 percent of the state's population working from home, according to a new analysis by FlexJobs. While telecommuting is widely perceived to be geographically neutral, 96.5 percent of telecommuting jobs require the worker to live in a specific location. More at the Orlando Business Journal.

Out of the Box
Moths shed light on how to fool enemy sonar

luna moth It’s hard to hide from a bat: The camouflage and mimicry techniques that animals use to avoid becoming a meal aren’t much use against a predator using echolocation. But a new study shows that moths can outsmart sonar with a flick of their long tails. The research could impact the development of military radar.

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