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Asian Demand Boosts Georgia Tobacco

Georgia’s tobacco acreage is expected to hold steady this year, thanks to a new buyer in the state and high demand in Asia. Tobacco acreage has been dropping for two decades. Experts expected fewer acres of the crop to be planted this year, but now estimates from the U.S. Agriculture Department project Georgia farmers will plant about 11,000 acres of tobacco, the same amount as last year.

E-Verify Explained

Starting in January, Georgia’s new immigration law requires companies with 500 workers or more to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure their employees can work here legally. Over the next year, smaller employers will be phased in in two waves. The online system checks eligibility with the Social Security Administration and the Bureau of Citizen and Immigration Services.

Feds Approve Ga. Liquor Maker

Georgia's home-grown liquor industry is getting a new player. Officials at Milledgeville-based Georgia Distilling Company say, they now have federal and local permits and soon expect their state permit to begin operation. A company official says, the state permit follows the federal and local ones, so he's planning on opening in two months.

Tourists Spent $21B In 2010

State officials say domestic and international visitors to Georgia spent $21 billion in 2010. Officials with the U.S. Travel Association say that represents a jump of more than 8 percent in travel spending over the year before.

Regulators Mull Checks On Vogtle Costs

State utility regulators heard arguments Wednesday over a plan intended to protect consumers from potential cost over-runs of the nuclear expansion of Plant Vogtle. More than a dozen people went before the Public Service Commission to voice their concerns over the project itself.

'Dram Shop' Ruling Confirms Law

A Georgia Supreme Court ruling this week likely won’t have much impact on the state’s convenience stores. The court said a convenience store can be sued if it sells alcohol to an intoxicated customer who then injures or kills others. But the Georgia Association of Convenience Stores has always warned its members not to sell to an underage or intoxicated customer, according to its president, Jim Tudor.

Coca-Cola Unveils 'Living' Billboard

Coca-Cola unveiled a “living” billboard this week in the Philippines. It’s a collaboration between Coca-Cola and the World Wildlife Federation. According to Forbes, it’s covered in thousands of Chinese tea plants. Each plant can take in 13 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

New Codes Catch Metal Thieves

Theft of wiring and scrap metal is an expensive problem showing no signs of subsiding for businesses and homeowners. But there’s a new technology helping to make cases easier to prosecute. The difficulty prosecuting cases has always been proving exactly where wiring comes from. But Georgia Power’s Carol Boatwright says the utility’s been buying new copper wiring that has unique codes etched on it. It's like a fingerprint.

Shrimp Harvest Down So Far

Fisherman caught 69,000 pounds of shrimp from January to May, 13 percent of the 10-year average of 537,000 pounds for that same period. Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources blamed the cold winter for pushing shrimp farther out to sea. Officials said they hope the shrimp population rebounds in the fall as it has in similarly cold years.

Beer Store Liable in DUI Death

The Georgia Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling and found a convenience store can be held liable for a fatal highway accident that took place after a driver purchased a 12-pack of beer.