Dhaka, Sep 18 (AP/UNB) - The Coca-Cola Company said Monday it is "closely watching" the expanding use of a cannabis element in drinks, another sign cannabis and cannabis-infused products are getting more acceptance in mainstream culture and a harder look from long-established pillars of American business.
The statement came after reports the beverage giant was in talks with a Canadian cannabis company to create a health drink infused with cannabidiol, a naturally occurring non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant. Shares of the company, Aurora Cannabis Inc., closed up nearly 17 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange after the report.
Spokespeople for the companies declined to comment on the report but acknowledged their interest in that segment of the cannabis market.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, does not produce the high commonly associated with marijuana. It is believed by many to have anti-inflammation and pain-relieving properties, and numerous CBD-infused products have emerged recently.
Aurora spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said her company "has expressed specific interest in the infused-beverage space and we intend to enter that market."
A Coke spokesman said the beverage giant has made no such decision.
"Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world. The space is evolving quickly," Coke spokesman Kent Landers said.
Coke's interest is another indication of the growing acceptance of cannabis by established companies and of the importance of Canada to the development of those businesses. Marijuana becomes legal across Canada on Oct. 17. Cannabis companies from the U.S. — where marijuana remains illegal at the federal level — have flocked to Canada to raise funds and establish businesses there.
American companies interested in making a play in the cannabis space can try things out in Canada without risking doing something illegal at home.
Constellation Brands, a giant spirits company that counts Corona beer among its labels, bought a multibillion-dollar minority stake in Canopy Growth, a Canadian medical marijuana producer.
Coca Cola's statement shows the company has learned from its past missteps picking up on new drink trends, said Ali Dibadj, a senior analyst at AllianceBernstein with an expertise in U.S. beverage and snack food companies.
"The company has been caught flat-footed in the past in not keeping up with trends in beverages. They missed the energy drink phenomenon, they missed — and then had to buy into — the functional waters like Vitamin Water and coffee," Dibadj said. "I think what they're saying is what they should be saying on this very new and emerging beverage."
But testing the waters of cannabis-themed drinks could backfire, he said. Many Americans aren't intimately familiar with the cannabis plant and might not understand that CBD has no psychoactive properties.
Hemp and marijuana are both cannabis plants, and both contain CBD, which can be extracted as an oil that can be added to everything from dog food to hand lotion to drinks.
"I think you have to be very, very careful with this as a large brand. There are different viewpoints on a product category, and you don't want to offend too much," Dibadj said. "You don't want to be too far ahead on any curve."
Cairo, Sept 16 (AP/UNB) — Egypt says archaeologists have discovered a statue of a lion's body and a human head in the southern city of Aswan.
The Antiquities Ministry says Sunday the sphinx made of sandstone was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo during work to protect the site from groundwater.
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities says the statue probably dates back to the Ptolemaic time.
The Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt for some 300 years — from around 320 B.C. to about 30 B.C.
Egypt hopes such discoveries will spur tourism, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.
Dhaka, Sept 16 (UNB) - The government has bought the historic Rose Garden mansion in Old Dhaka , the birthplace of Awami League, considering its archaeological values.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received the registered deed of the historic house from the present owners at her official residence Ganobhaban on Sunday.
The government procured the palace built on 22 acres of land in Old Dhaka under the ‘Public Procurement Law’ at a cost of Tk 331.70 crore.
Sheikh Hasina handed over a cheque to the owners against the price of the historic house from where Awami League started its journey in 1949.
Besides, she handed over another registered deed for a one-storey building along with 20 kathas of land at Gulshan in the city to the owners of the Rose Garden as they purchased it from the government.
The Cabinet Committee on Public Purchase at a meeting on August 8 last with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair approved a proposal to purchase the Rose Garden mansion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the historic Rose Garden mansion will be turned into a museum depicting the history of Old Dhaka.
She said the palace has a historic value. “Awami League started its journey on June 23, 1949. Under the leadership of this party, Bangladesh achieved its independence in 1971,” she said.
Besides, such a historic establishment should not be ruined, Sheikh Hasina added.
She said the city museum will be shifted to the Rose Garden from the Nagar Bhaban.
The Prime Minister asked the authorities concerned to renovate the building keeping the original structure unchanged.
Later, the Prime Minister handed over the house to the Cultural Affairs Ministry at a token price of Tk 1,001. Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor received the deed of the house.
Situated on KM Das Lane in Tikatuli of Old Dhaka, the Rose Garden mansion was built in 1931 by Hrishikesh Das, a rich businessman.
Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan, Housing and Public Works Secretary Shahid Ullah Khandaker and Cultural Affairs Secretary Nasir Uddin Ahmed were, among others, present.
London, Sept 16 (AP/UNB) — Victoria Beckham has brought her fashion brand home to London Fashion Week for the first time to mark a decade in the business.
The former Spice Girl celebrated the brand she built up with a glamorous catwalk show early Sunday in an elegant gallery next door to her store in London's tony Mayfair district.
The collection features some of her signature looks and greatest hits, including masculine tailoring, wide leg and slim flare trousers, and fluid, minimal backless gowns.
After the show Beckham kissed and hugged her husband, retired soccer star David Beckham, and her children, who sat among the guests, and gave them a thumbs up.
Denver, Sep 16 (AP/UNB) — Cyclists and hikers explored a newly opened wildlife refuge at the site of a former nuclear weapons plant in Colorado on Saturday, while a protester in a gas mask brought signs warning about the dangers of plutonium.
With no fanfare, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened the gates of Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge on the perimeter of a government factory that made plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs for nearly four decades.
Spread across a rolling, wind-swept plateau 16 miles (26 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver, the refuge is a rare oasis of tallgrass prairie, with bears, elk, falcons, songbirds and hundreds of other species. The refuge offers sweeping panoramas of the Rocky Mountain foothills and Denver's skyscrapers.
"You get these incredible views," said Jerry Jacka, who spent two hours mountain biking at the refuge Saturday.
Jacka said he was not worried about his safety, despite lawsuits and protests by people who argued the government has not tested the refuge thoroughly enough to make sure people are safe using it.
"I don't believe that they're covering up any sort of information about pollutants and radioactive elements and stuff in the soil," Jacka said.
The government built plutonium triggers at Rocky Flats from 1952 to 1989, a history marred by fires, leaks and spills. The plant was shut down after a criminal investigation into environmental violations.
The U.S. Energy Department, which oversaw the plant, said it found 62 pounds (28 kilograms) of plutonium stuck in exhaust ducts of buildings.
Rockwell International, the contractor then operating the plant, was fined $18.5 million after pleading guilty in 1992 to charges that included mishandling chemical and radioactive material.
The weapons complex covered 2 square miles (5 square kilometers) at the center of the site. It was cleaned up at a cost of $7 billion but remains off-limits to the public. The 8-square-mile (21-square-kilometer) buffer zone surrounding the manufacturing site was turned over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a refuge.
About 10 miles (16 kilometers) of trails are now open at the refuge. Visitors are told to stay on the paths and not wander the grasslands.
State and federal health officials say the site is safe, but some people worry that plutonium particles eluded the cleanup and could be sprinkled over the refuge, where hikers and cyclists could stir them up or track them home. At least seven Denver-area school districts have barred school-sanctioned field trips to refuge.
If inhaled, plutonium can lodge in lung tissue, where it can kill lung cells and cause scarring, which in turn can cause lung disease and cancer, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"You have a situation where you still have plutonium in the soil being disturbed by the wildlife and the weather," said Stephen Parlato, his voice muffled by the gas mask he wore at a refuge trailhead Saturday.
Parlato said the mask had a filter capable of blocking plutonium particles and that he wore it for protection, not for show.
"You even have school districts that have gone on the record to say they do not allow their students to come on trips here. This is an ongoing danger," he said.
Jon Simon, another cyclist who rode the refuge trails Saturday, said he doubted he would develop plutonium-related health problems in his lifetime, but worried that children might be vulnerable.
"I wouldn't want to walk my kid through here every day in the morning for our morning walk or something like that," he said. "But I'm old enough.... That's not what's going to get me."
The opening was in the works for months but was thrown into doubt Friday afternoon when Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who oversees the Fish and Wildlife Service, said he wanted to wait for more information about safety.
An hour later, the Interior Department said a review was complete and the refuge would open.
Department spokeswoman Faith Vander Voort did not respond to an email seeking more information about the review.