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TALKING POINTS

Giant Amazon distribution center planned for Charlton

Michel Spingler/Associated Press

E-COMMERCE

Giant Amazon distribution center planned for Charlton

The state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council on Thursday approved a local tax break that will pave the way for a massive 2.9-million-square foot, multi-story Amazon distribution center to be built on a 100-acre site off Route 20 in Charlton. Amazon is expected to employ the equivalent of 1,000-plus full-time positions there. The town is offering $1.8 million in property tax relief over 10 years to help bring the $300 million project to fruition. Construction is expected to begin in March, with a goal of finishing the building in mid-2023. Amazon and developers Bluewater Property Group and Bay Colony pursued the project after town meeting voters in May amended zoning bylaws to allow for taller buildings in the area. The state economic council also endorsed a $1.1 million property tax break for another warehouse project: a 60,000-square-foot facility that Walgreens plans to open in Mansfield that will employ about 200 people. — JON CHESTO

AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES

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Motional to expand in the Seaport

Autonomous car company Motional unveiled plans on Thursday to add more than 100 jobs to its 250-person Boston workforce as the company roughly doubles the size of its operations facility on Black Falcon Avenue in the Seaport. Motional declined to say how many square feet it is adding to its site. The company said the extra space will be instrumental in its testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads across Boston next year, and the deployment of “robotaxis” in multiple cities starting in 2023. Motional, a Boston-based venture owned by Hyundai and auto supplier Aptiv, got its start as an MIT spinoff, first known as nuTonomy, in 2013. — JON CHESTO

INTERNATIONAL

Evergrande defaults on loan

For weeks, global markets have been watching the struggles of China Evergrande, a teetering real estate giant weighed down by $300 billion or more in obligations that just barely seemed able to make itsrequired payments to global investors. On Thursday, three days after a deadline passed leaving bondholders with nothing but silence from the company, a major credit ratings firm declared that Evergrande was in default. But instead of resolving questions about the fate of the Chinese behemoth, the announcement only deepened them. The firm, Fitch Ratings, said in its statement that it had placed the Chinese property developer in its “restricted default” category. The designation means Evergrande had formally defaulted but had not yet entered into any kind of bankruptcy filing, liquidation, or other process that wouldstop its operations. In the United States and many other places, bondholders could push an unwilling company into some form of reorganization, usually in court, and divvy up the pieces. But Evergrande is faltering in China, where the Communist Party keeps a firm hand on corporate meltdowns to keep them from spreading out of control. — NEW YORK TIMES

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OPIOID CRISIS FALLOUT

Metropolitan Museum of Art removing Sackler name

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is removing the name of the Sackler family, which made billions selling opioids and contributed to a staggering public health crisis in the United States, from some of its most iconic exhibition spaces. The New York museum said their names would be pulled from galleries, including the wing that houses the Temple of Dendur, according to a statement on Thursday. The decision was made in agreement with the families of Mortimer Sackler and Raymond Sackler. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TRANSPORTATION

Amtrak anticipates service cuts because of vaccine mandate

Amtrak expects it won’t have enough employees to operate all its trains next month when it plans to enforce COVID-19 vaccine requirements. As Amtrak prepares to comply with the federal vaccine mandate, it will likely need to temporarily reduce frequency, particularly on its long-distance services, Stephen J. Gardner, president of Amtrak, said in written testimony for a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing. About 94 percent of the rail company’s workers have been fully vaccinated as of this week. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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MORTGAGES

Rates little changed

The average interest rate on a long-term mortgage in the United States held firm again this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year, fixed rate home loan ticked down this week to 3.10 percent from 3.11 percent last week. A year ago, the rate stood at 2.71 percent. The average rate on a 15-year mortgage also dipped slightly, to 2.38 percent from 2.39 percent last week. One year ago, that rate was 2.26 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

Company CEOs urge crackdown on counterfeit goods online

The chief executive officers of companies including Target and Best Buy called on Congress to approve legislation aimed at forcing online marketplaces to beef up measures designed to fight the sale of stolen or counterfeit goods. Passage of the so-called Inform Consumers Act would help retailers and law enforcement crack down on a “significant uptick” in organized theft, the Retail Industry Leaders Association said in a letter Thursday to Congressional leaders. The CEOs of Home Depot, Levi Strauss, and more than a dozen other companies also signed their names in support. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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EQUITY

Move to hire and promote 1 million Black workers needs to intensify

A corporate pledge to hire and promote one million Black workers into middle-class jobs within a decade needs to increase fivefold over the next year to get on pace to reach that goal. The OneTen initiative, created in 2020 by former International Business Machines Corp. chief executive officer Ginni Rometty and former Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, is working with member companies to get 1 million Black workers into jobs that don’t require four-year college degrees and pay family-sustaining wages. A year in, the 60 companies in the group, including Walmart and General Motors, reported hiring 17,000 new Black employees and promoting 4,000 more into better jobs, the group announced Thursday. The coalition needs to be creating, on average, 100,000 jobs a year to reach its goal. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

E-COMMERCE

Italy fines Amazon $1.3b for anti-competitiveness

Italy’s antitrust authority on Thursday fined Amazon 1.13 billion euros ($1.3 billion), accusing the company of exploiting its dominant position against independent sellers on its website in violation of European Union competition rules. The fine is one of the largest leveraged in Europe against the online retail giant, which expanded in particular in Italy during a coronavirus lockdown that prevented residents from going to stores to buy items considered nonessential. Europe has pioneered efforts to rein in big tech companies, most famously by slapping Google with multibillion-dollar fines in three antitrust cases. — ASSOCIATED PRESS