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Amazon is Shutting Down its Food-Delivery Business

The service, called Amazon Restaurants, offered delivery in more than 20 cities in the U.S

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Job seekers line up to apply during "Amazon Jobs Day," a job fair being held at 10 fulfillment centers across the United States aimed at filling more than 50,000 jobs, at the Amazon.com Fulfillment Center in Fall River, Massachusetts, Aug. 2, 2017. VOA

Amazon said Tuesday that it is closing its U.S. restaurant delivery service, a 4-year-old business that failed to take off amid fierce competition from Uber Eats, DoorDash and others.

The service, called Amazon Restaurants, offered delivery in more than 20 cities in the U.S. It expanded into the United Kingdom, but it shut down the service in that country late last year. The closure of the U.S. business, which was first reported by technology news site GeekWire, will happen on June 24.

Still, Amazon.com Inc. has shown interest in delivering meals to diners’ doorsteps. Last month, it bought a stake in British food delivery company Deliveroo, whose kangaroo logo is a common sight on bicycles and scooters in Britain.

Amazon Restaurants was a tiny player in the U.S., taking about 2% of the market, according to Jeremy Scott, a food and restaurant analyst at Mizuho.

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Amazon said Tuesday that it is closing its U.S. restaurant delivery service. Pixabay

He said it didn’t promote the delivery service enough and didn’t have deals with big fast food chains. Uber Eats, for example, delivers Big Macs from McDonalds; DoorDash has a partnership with Wendy’s; and Grubhub delivers Taco Bell chalupas and buckets of KFC’s fried chicken.

With it out of the business, analysts said others could pick up its business. Shares of Grubhub Inc. soared 7% Tuesday.

But Scott thinks it isn’t abandoning the business altogether.

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“The shuttering of the platform doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t eventually invest in the space,” he said. (VOA)

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US Officials Identify ‘Strong Culprit’ in Vaping Illnesses

Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a compound known as vitamin E acetate is a "very strong culprit"

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US, Vaping, Illnesses
FILE - A man blows a puff of smoke as he vapes with an electronic cigarette, Oct. 18, 2019. VOA

U.S. health officials say they have found the likely cause of a mysterious illness in people who smoke e-cigarettes, describing the findings as a “breakthrough.” US.

Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that a compound known as vitamin E acetate is a “very strong culprit” in the search for the cause of the mysterious lung disease.

Schuchat, who is the CDC’s principal deputy director, said the compound was found in fluid samples taken from the lungs of 29 patients across the country who were diagnosed with the vaping illness.

“We are in a better place in terms of having one very strong culprit,” she said.

US, Vaping, Illnesses
File – In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, a man exhales while smoking an e-cigarette in Portland, Maine. VOA

Schuchat cautioned that more work needs to be done to confirm that vitamin E acetate causes lung damage when inhaled, and said there could still be other toxic substances in e-cigarettes that lead to lung disease.

More than 2,000 Americans who smoke e-cigarettes have gotten sick since March, and at least 40 of them have died.

Health officials say that vitamin E is safe as a vitamin pill or to use on the skin, but that inhaling it can be harmful.

The compound is sometimes used as a thickener in vaping fluid, especially in black market vape cartridges and those containing THC — the component of marijuana that gets people high.

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E-cigarettes have been available in the United States for more than a decade. They work, in general, by using a battery to heat a liquid nicotine solution and turn it into an inhalable vapor.

While e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive, they have been considered safer than traditional cigarettes because they do not contain tar or many of the other substances in traditional cigarettes that make them deadly.

Advocates of e-cigarettes say they are a powerful tool to help adult smokers quit smoking traditional cigarettes.

However, critics say that e-cigarettes are making a new generation addicted to nicotine. They also point out that the long-term health consequences of vaping are not known, and say that e-cigarettes could contain other potentially harmful substances, including chemicals used for flavoring and traces of metals. (VOA)