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• Amazon is embroiled in a new controversy in Seattle, where it is protesting a proposal before the city council that would impose a so-called head tax on companies with more than $20 million a year, requiring them to pay $500 per job annually to the city.

The tax would cost Amazon about $20 million the first year, and the figure would rise over time.

To protest the proposed tax, Amazon - which is in the middle of a search for a second headquarters city in North America to which it would bring 50,000 jobs - has stopped construction on one site in the city, and has said it will not take on additional space in the city if the tax is approved.

Some 600 companies in Seattle would be hit by the head tax, which has been opposed by organized labor on the grounds that it would send jobs elsewhere. Among the companies opposing the proposal are Starbucks, Alaska Airlines and Expedia.

• The Washington Post reports that Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz has said that from now on, all of his stores’ restrooms will be open to everyone, whether or not the person has made a purchase.

The announcement comes after employees at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two African-American men who were waiting in the store for a friend before ordering, and asked to use the restroom.

“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key,” Schultz said, “because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than.”

• The BBC reports that “at least 73 supermarkets will have to be sold in order for Sainsbury's proposed merger with Asda to be given the go-ahead, according to new research.

The deal, if permitted by British antitrust regulators, would create the largest supermarket chain in the UK when measured by market share.
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