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TALKING POINTS

CVS to hire 15,000, mostly pharmacy technicians

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

LABOR

CVS to hire 15,000, mostly pharmacy technicians

CVS Health plans to hire 15,000 people in the fall and winter, boosting its ranks as the flu season coincides with the ongoing public health crisis of COVID-19. The nation’s largest pharmacy chain said in a news release Monday that most of the positions are for full-time and part-time pharmacy technicians, and that it aims to place new staff at CVS Pharmacy locations as soon as possible. Many states are suffering through a new surge of infections, and the global tally of confirmed cases has exceeded 40 million for the first time. CVS’s initiative highlights the continued struggle of federal, state, and local officials to contain the spread of the disease in the United States. The hiring follows another major recruitment effort from earlier in the year, when CVS announced it would increase its head count by 50,000 people in response to the initial US outbreak of the coronavirus. In addition to pharmacists, who handle prescriptions, medications, and administer coronavirus tests at drive-through locations, CVS is hiring nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and staff for its member benefits operations and distribution centers. The company said many of the roles are temporary but may become permanent. — WASHINGTON POST

E-COMMERCE

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Fake reviews spike on Amazon during pandemic

Fake reviews on Amazon.com during the pandemic have reached levels typically seen during the holiday shopping season. About 42 percent of 720 million Amazon reviews assessed by the monitoring service Fakespot from March through September were unreliable, up from about 36 percent for the same period last year. The rise in fake reviews corresponded with the stampede online of millions of virus-avoiding shoppers. Bogus reviews have plagued Amazon and other online marketplaces for years, despite the companies' efforts to purge them. The perpetrators, sometimes paid, either hype the virtues of a product or sabotage it to tank sales. Various automated services have emerged to help shoppers assess whether the reviews they’re reading are real. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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AUTOMOTIVE

Hyundai and Kia set aside billions to settle suit over engine defects

South Korea’s two biggest automakers are taking a 3.36 trillion won ($2.9 billion) earnings hit because of costs related to a 2019 settlement of a US class-action lawsuit linked to alleged engine defects. Hyundai is setting aside 2.1 trillion won and affiliate Kia 1.26 trillion won in third-quarter earnings to be reported next week, the companies said in separate regulatory filings Monday. The suit was brought by US drivers over an alleged defect that could cause certain engines to catch fire. As part of the settlement, the two automakers pledged to provide lifetime warranty on the engines in the United States and South Korea. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TRAVEL

Canada to continue banning non-essential US travel for at least another month

Canada prolonged its ban on non-essential US travel for another month in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, with both countries in the grips of a second wave. Restrictions along the world’s longest undefended border — which began in March — will remain in place until Nov. 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced Monday. An exception for trade means most commerce between the two nations continues. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

HOME CONSTRUCTION

Builder confidence soars in a rare bright spot during the pandemic

US homebuilder confidence advanced in October to a fresh all-time high as record-low interest rates continued to fuel sales and the demand outlook. A gauge of builder sentiment climbed to 85, the highest in records back to 1985, from 83 a month earlier, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Market Index released Monday. The booming housing market has been a bright spot for the economy since the coronavirus lockdowns eased. Declining mortgage rates are making it easier for buyers interested in purchasing larger homes or relocating to suburbs as houses are increasingly viewed as remote workplaces in light of the pandemic. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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AVIATION

Airline travel reached a milestone on Sunday, but still way down

The virus-ravaged airline industry reached a milestone Sunday, carrying more than 1 million passengers for the first time in seven months. US airport security checkpoints processed 1,031,505 people, or 39.6 percent of the equivalent day in 2019, according to a tally by the Transportation Security Administration. Several of the busiest days since mid-March have occurred in the past two weeks and passenger loads have been gradually increasing, but that provides scant relief for an industry still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. If Sunday’s level were maintained for an entire year, it would roughly roll the industry back to levels last seen 36 years ago, according to the trade group for large carriers, Airlines for America. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CHOCOLATE

Chocolate companies continue to rely on child labor, report finds

The world’s chocolate companies depend on cocoa produced with the aid of more than 1 million West African child laborers, according to a new report sponsored by the Labor Department. The findings represent a remarkable failure by leading chocolate companies to fulfill a long-standing promise to eradicate the practice from their supply chains. Under pressure from Congress in 2001, some of the world’s largest chocolatiers — including Nestlé, Hershey, and Mars — pledged to eradicate ''the worst forms of child labor'' from their sources in West Africa, the world’s most important supply. Since then, however, the firms have missed deadlines to eliminate child labor in 2005, 2008, and 2010. Each time, they have promised to do better, but the new report indicates that the incidence of child labor in West African cocoa production has risen. — WASHINGTON POST

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TELEVISION

Channing Dungey to lead Warner Bros. Television Group

Channing Dungey, one of the top Black executives in Hollywood, will become chairman of Warner Bros. Television Group, putting her in charge of the prolific studio behind hits such as “The Big Bang Theory.” Dungey, who is coming off a two-year stint at Netflix Inc., will start at Warner Bros. early next year, according to a statement Monday. The executive is succeeding Peter Roth, the long-running head of the studio who announced plans on Friday to step down. Dungey will report to Ann Sarnoff, chief executive of the studios and networks group at AT&T Inc.'s WarnerMedia Studios. Before joining Netflix, Dungey, 51, held a number of roles at Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and became the first Black person to lead entertainment programming on network television. She also helped develop hit shows for the network, including series from producer Shonda Rhimes, who went to Netflix as well. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Irish regulators probe Instagram over handling of young people’s data

Irish privacy regulators have opened two investigations into Instagram over the social media site’s handling of young people’s personal data. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission said it launched the investigations in September after receiving complaints about the company. Facebook, which owns Instagram and has its European headquarters in Ireland, said it’s in “close contact” with the commission and is ''cooperating with their inquiries." The investigations were first reported late Sunday by Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which said they came after a US data scientist aired concerns that Instagram made public the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of people under 18. The minimum age to use Instagram is 13. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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