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NutraSweet says it will no longer make the artificial sweetener aspartame as a result of foreign competition.

The privately held company said Wednesday it expects to shut down a major portion of a plant that employs about 210 workers, including contractors, by year-end as a result. That will leave it with only about 10 to 20 employees to focus on its two other smaller sweeteners, the company said.

"Low-cost imports now dominate the aspartame market, making it impossible for us to sustain a profitable business while maintaining our unmatched standard of quality," NutraSweet CEO William DeFer said in a statement.

Aspartame is more commonly known as the ingredient used in Equal, the blue packets of sweetener often found on tables at restaurants.

Strike ends at Amazon

Three days of strikes by union members at five of Amazon's warehouses in Germany ended Wednesday without the company's agreeing to wage talks or reporting any serious disruption to scheduled deliveries.

"As long as Amazon categorically refuses to take part in wage talks, workers will keep up the pressure," said Stefanie Nutzenberger, a spokeswoman for Ver.di, the service and retail workers union behind the strike. "New strikes can be called at any time."

The strike hit four of Amazon's shipping centers and expanded to include another of the company's nine locations in Germany.

BlackBerry's new phone released

BlackBerry launched a new smartphone Wednesday as the embattled Canadian com-pany hopes for a comeback.

Chief executive John Chen unveiled a large-screen, square-sized phone called the Passport to a Toronto audience. London and Dubai also hosted launch events. No event was held in the U.S. where analysts say there is little demand or carrier interest.

BlackBerry has increasingly lost relevance as a smartphone company in the years since the 2007 launch of Apple's touch-screen iPhone and the 2008 introduction of Google-pow-ered Android phones.

Shares of BlackBerry rose 12 cents to $10.69 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq.

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