USA: Wal-Mart has agreed to pay $11m (£6.8m) to settle a class-action lawsuit brought on behalf of 97,000 current and former workers in Iowa over allegations they were forced to skip breaks or work off the clock. The lawsuit, filed in 2001, claimed the company failed to compensate workers for off-the-clock work and overtime, altered employee time records and prevented employees from taking lunch breaks. Wal-Mart announced in December it would pay as much as $640m (£399m) to settle 63 lawsuits across the country over wage and hour violations.

AUSTRALIA: Coles is campaigning to have opening hours extended in western Australia where existing laws mean supermarkets have to close at 6pm. Four years ago the idea of extended trading hours was voted down in a referendum but Coles says an independent survey commissioned by them shows public feeling has changed. Stuart Machin, Coles' operations director, said the demand was clear.

"Over 70% of women, many of them working mums, support longer shopping hours to help them to better manage their work-life balance." Independents are opposing any change, arguing their businesses would be damaged.

US: NGOs, retailers and manufacturers have joined forces to tackle obesity with a $20m (£12.5m) fund. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation aims to reduce obesity in children aged six to 11 by promoting healthy eating messages. United Supermarkets, Kellogg's, PepsiCo and General Mills are among the 40 companies in the scheme.

"We believe companies like ours can make a difference, and we want to be part of the solution," said Ken Powell, General Mills chairman and chief executive.

THE NETHERLANDS: Ahold has announced that it has reached agreement in principle with Sperwer to purchase 40 Super de Boer stores. Sperwer put forward a bid on 5 October of 4.50 (£4.10) per share. It also offered an alternative of acquiring all Super de Boer's assets and liabilities.