DE BEERS GETS GREEN LIGHT: The European Union Commission has given De Beers the go-ahead to pursue its Supplier of Choice distribution strategy, aimed at spurring consumer demand for diamonds and fortifying the relationship between De Beers and its sightholders. The Brussels-based Commission said in a statement Tuesday it had decided not to oppose the SoC system, but that it would keep a "close watch" on the diamond market in order to ensure that the SoC does not lead to a restriction in the supply of rough diamonds to traders.

As reported, in 2001 the EC issued a statement of objection criticizing the SoC initiative on the basis that it was anticompetitive. De Beers controls 60 to 65 percent of the world’s diamond production. The SoC strategy will allow De Beers to favor sightholders who are specifically marketing-oriented and who have solid relationships with jewelry manufacturers, retailers and brands. SoC rules govern ethical standards as well.

UNITE WINS COURT BATTLE: A federal appeals court in California ruled in favor of the apparel union UNITE Thursday in a long-brewing battle at a San Bernardino coat factory where workers wanted to leave the union. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld a 2001 District Court decision in favor of UNITE, which, said the workers at Sorrento Coats Inc., had not demonstrated that the union breached its duty of fair representation required to break from the union. The 42 workers alleged that union officials had pressured contractors to remove work from the factory in retaliation for their attempt to decertify the union.

DVF OPENS FLORIDA STORE: Diane Von Furstenberg’s second freestanding boutique will open today in the Village of Merrick Park shopping center in Coral Gables, Fla. The 850-square-foot shop will offer the entire range of Von Furstenberg’s designs including dresses, sportswear, denim and swimwear. The designer opened her first retail shop in New York in 2001.

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