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Marijuana surpasses potatoes and blueberries as Maine’s most valuable crop

Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press


Marijuana surpasses potatoes and blueberries as Maine’s most valuable crop

Maine is known for its wild blueberries and potatoes but marijuana has surpassed them to become the state’s most valuable crop. Medical marijuana sales totaled $221.8 million from January through October, more than double what had been sold by the same time last year, the Portland Press Herald reported, based on state sales tax figures. That compares to $184.1 million for potatoes, $123.6 million for milk, and $26 million for blueberries in 2019. Maine recorded more than $100 million in sales last year, the first time Maine was able to tabulate all legal medical marijuana sales. Year-to-date sales in 2020 show the market has doubled yet again, growing 152 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



American expanding pre-flight virus testing to domestic flights

American Airlines is expanding pre-flight coronavirus testing in an effort to boost demand for domestic travel. At-home tests would enable passengers with negative results to avoid or shorten COVID-19 quarantines and other restrictions at US destinations with travel requirements, American said in a statement Tuesday. Starting Dec. 9, customers will have access to tests provided by LetsGetChecked for flights departing on or after Dec. 12. American is expanding its test offerings for domestic passengers after earlier implementing similar programs on some international flights. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Boeing reports more canceled orders for 737 Max

Boeing reported more cancellations for its 737 Max jet, which this week is scheduled to carry paying passengers for the first time since the planes were grounded 21 months ago after two deadly crashes. Boeing said orders for 88 of the planes were canceled in November, pushing the total to 536 for the year. The company reported 27 orders for the plane, although 25 were a new order by Virgin Australia that replaced an earlier, larger order for 48 Max jets. The November figures don’t include Irish carrier Ryanair’s announcement last week that it will order 75 more Max jets. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Tesla to raise up to $5 billion in stock offering

Tesla is looking to raise up to $5 billion in capital through a stock offering as the electrical vehicle and solar panel maker seeks to take advantage of strong demand for its products. This is the second such move for the company in three months. In September Tesla said that it planned to sell up to $5 billion worth of common shares just one day after its 5-for-1 stock split took effect. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Investments in European tech companies soars

European tech companies defied the pandemic this year to draw record levels of investment overall, though early-stage founders still struggled to clinch funding. Europe’s tech sector is on track for about $41 billion in venture capital investment this year, up around $500 million from 2019, according to VC firm Atomico’s annual State of European Tech Report published Tuesday. The slight increase was driven by greater numbers of $100 million to $250 million funding rounds, it said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Productivity rose in third quarter

US productivity increased at a solid 4.6 percent pace in the July-September quarter, slightly below the initial estimate, while labor costs fell at a slower pace. The third quarter increase in productivity was below the first estimate a month ago of a 4.9 percent increase, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Productivity had surged at a 10.6 percent rate in the second quarter. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Christie’s launches online marketplace for the uber-rich

Mass market retailers aren’t the only ones betting on a banner online holiday sales season. Christie’s auction house has launched its worldwide “Luxury Week” with beefed-up offerings to meet this year’s record demand. Last year, Christie’s hosted just four online-only luxury sales in the same November/December stretch. Those sales carried a high estimate of about $9.5 million. This year there will be 12, with a total high estimate of just under $40 million, a 322 percent increase. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Producer apologizes for line in movie that offended Chinese viewers

The co-producer of “Monster Hunter” apologized after facing severe criticism for a line in the movie that some Chinese viewers and social media users viewed as being racist and led to the fantasy action film being pulled from some cinemas in the country a day after its release. Constantin Film, which co-produced the Paul W.S. Anderson-directed feature, said it edited out a line after listening to the concerns of Chinese audiences. The company, based in Germany, said it was an “inadvertent misunderstanding.” Sony Corp. is distributing the film in the United States while Tencent Pictures, a unit of Tencent Holdings Ltd., is an investor in the production. The scene in the film, based on a popular video game, shows a soldier played by Chinese-American rapper and actor Jin Au-Yeung riding across a desert in a vehicle. “Look at my knees,” he said. “What kind of knees are these? Chi-nese.” That angered some viewers, who highlighted its similarity to a playground taunt against people of Asian descent for supposedly being dirty. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Company that targets stressed-out workers doubles in value

Calm, maker of a meditation, sleep, and relaxation app, doubled its valuation to $2 billion after raising capital from existing backers including Lightspeed Venture Partners, TPG, and Insight Partners. “With companies now taking mental well-being at work seriously, there’s so much opportunity, and we raised capital to be able to put the foot down on the gas even more,” co-founder and co-chief executive Alex Tew said in an interview with Bloomberg. Tew said there’s been an ’'acute’' response from corporations seeking to alleviate anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Express cardholders in the United States and certain other countries, along with more than 12 million members covered by health care provider Kaiser Permanente, currently have access to Calm at no additional cost. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Howard Stern renews contract with Sirius XM

Radio shock jock Howard Stern extended his contract with Sirius XM for five more years, cementing the satellite-radio giant’s relationship with one of its biggest stars. The parties didn’t disclose terms of the new agreement in a statement Tuesday. Bloomberg News reported in October that Stern was close to renewing for about $120 million a year, up from $80 million to $100 million. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Apple unveils first over-the-ear headphones

Apple launched its first over-ear headphones, entering a competitive market with rivals such as Bose and Sony and expanding its push into accessories to supplement revenue generated by its signature iPhone. The pricey $550 headphones include wireless pairing and noise cancellation, like many on the market. They went on sale Tuesday and start arriving Dec. 15, Apple said Tuesday. The company touted superior audio quality and 20-hour battery life in its announcement. — BLOOMBERG NEWS