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SEATTLE-Protesters are expected to mobilize outside of Starbucks coffee shops in 300 U.S. cities and four other countries this week.

The global education campaign is designed to criticize the locally-based company’s use of genetically engineered ingredients in their foods, beverages and bottled Frappuccino drinks, their choice of coffee suppliers as well as Starbucks’ refusal to promote Fair Trade shade-grown coffee as the coffee of the day.

Starbucks, the largest gourmet coffee shop chain in the world, has previously indicated that it is considering giving in to at least some of the demands of the Organic Consumers Association, but still has not yet made a firm commitment.

“For six months now, Starbucks has been stonewalling. PR statements and halfway measures are not enough, says Ronnie Cummins, National Director of the Organic Consumers Association. “Starbucks must either give in to the demands of consumers around the world for a non-genetically engineered product line, Fair Trade coffee, and social justice, or else they run the risk of further damage to their reputation and bottom line.”

In other Starbucks news, the company’s Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $60 million of the Company’s common stock. Shares will be repurchased in the open market at times and prices considered appropriate by the Company. The timing of any purchases andthe exact number of shares to be purchased will be dependent on market conditions.

“This repurchase program reflects the confidence our Board of Directors and management have in U.S. financial markets and the future of Starbucks, and it demonstrates our commitment to pursuing opportunities for creating shareholder value,” Michael Casey, chief financial officer, said in announcing the repurchase program. “The company’s strong balance sheet will allow us tocomplete this stock repurchase program as well as fund our significant and exciting future growth plans.”

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