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Baker to ask for $100 million more for wind infrastructure

The silhouette of a GE-Alstom wind turbine in the waters off Block Island, R.I.Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

Governor Charlie Baker visited Salem on Wednesday to unveil plans to ask the state Legislature for another $100 million for infrastructure at the state’s offshore wind ports of Salem, New Bedford, and Somerset as part of a $1.7 billion supplemental budget request. With this new spending proposal, Baker aims to tap into the state’s roughly $4 billion budget surplus. Baker was joined by members of his administration, as well as Bill White, the head of offshore development at Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid plans to use Salem as a staging area for offshore wind turbine construction in the waters south of New England. Eventually, state leaders hope Salem can play a role in offshore wind construction in the Gulf of Maine, once federal officials open up that body of water for development. The Legislature had already set aside $90 million for port infrastructure in a previous spending bill Baker signed in December. Among other priorities, the new supplemental budget that Baker filed on Wednesday would use surplus funds for various transportation projects ($235 million), Cape Cod water and sewer projects ($200 million), workforce housing development ($200 million), and small-business assistance ($180 million). — JON CHESTO



Mortgage rates take bite out of home construction

US new-home home construction slipped in April amid ongoing supply-side challenges and the steepest climb in mortgage rates in decades. Residential starts decreased 0.2 percent last month to a 1.72 million annualized rate after a downwardly revised 1.73 million pace in March, according to government data released Wednesday. Applications to build, a proxy for future construction, fell to an annualized 1.82 million units. BLOOMBERG NEWS


Regulators searching cellphones of Wall Street traders

The United States is forcing Wall Street banks to embark on a systematic search through more than 100 personal mobile phones carried by top traders and dealmakers in the largest-ever probe into clandestine messaging on platforms such as WhatsApp. The Securities and Exchange Commission has been sending firms lists of key positions — in some cases pointing to around 30 people including heads of certain investment banking teams or trading desks — that are subject to the review, according to people with direct knowledge of the requests. Personnel in those roles are being ordered to hand over phones so devices can be examined by lawyers. The aim is to gauge how pervasively Wall Street professionals use unauthorized messaging platforms to chat with each other or clients as regulators decide which firms to punish, and how hard, for failing to preserve business-related messages sent via unapproved platforms. BLOOMBERG NEWS



Spending $1,644 for an umbrella that doesn’t keep you dry?

Luxury label Gucci and sportswear firm Adidas are grabbing headlines in China for selling an 11,100 yuan ($1,644) umbrella that doesn’t even stop rain. Never mind that the brands say that’s not what it was designed to do. A hashtag on “the collaboration umbrella being sold for 11,100 yuan is not waterproof” attracted more than 140 million views on social media site Weibo. The post focuses on a disclaimer that the parasol doesn’t block rain, but instead should be used as shade from the sun and for fashion purposes. BLOOMBERG NEWS


Mastercard latest company to pay expenses for abortion travel

Mastercard said it would help pay for workers to travel to access abortions if pregnancy terminations aren’t available in their home state. With the move, Mastercard is joining companies including Citigroup, Apple, and Match in promising to cover employees’ travel costs incurred to access abortion. Mastercard has long paid for workers to travel to access other health services, including organ transplants and other specialty surgeries, according to the memo. The new abortion travel policy goes into effect June 1, according to the memo. BLOOMBERG NEWS



Journalists at the Hill ask to unionize

Journalists at the Hill, the Washington-based political news publisher owned by Nexstar Media Group Inc., are petitioning to unionize their newsroom, joining a wave of recent organizing efforts. Most of the 80 employees in a proposed bargaining unit have signed up to join the Communications Workers of America’s NewsGuild, according to the union. They’re asking management to voluntarily recognize the union, which would include writers, editors, video producers, and social media staff of the Hill. They’re also petitioning the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election if the company refuses. BLOOMBERG NEWS


High-powered black women leaving Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is losing its most powerful Black women, according to new data the firm released in a report on its website. The bank had 19 Black women among its executives and senior officials as of November 2021, the bank said, down from 25 a year earlier, while the 24 Black men in that top rank stayed the same. Yet the bank’s overall Black employees in the United States grew to1,649 from 1,425, representing a boost to 7.4 percent from 6.8 percent. In what Goldman calls the “most diverse managing director class to date,” 643 new promotions included 29 Black people — or 5 percent of the class. BLOOMBERG NEWS



Twitter board says it will hold Musk to the deal

Twitter’s board said it plans to enforce its $44 billion agreement to be bought by Elon Musk, saying the transaction is in the best interest of all shareholders. “We intend to close the transaction and enforce the merger agreement,” the board said Tuesday in a statement to Bloomberg News. Directors voted earlier to unanimously recommended that shareholders approve Musk’s $54.20-a-share offer. The proposed takeover includes a $1 billion breakup fee for each party, which Musk will have to pay if the deal falls apart due to financing issues. But Musk can’t just walk away by paying the charge. The merger agreement includes a specific performance provision that allows Twitter to force Musk to consummate the deal, according to the filing. This could mean that, should the deal end up in court, Twitter might secure an order obligating Musk to complete the merger rather than winning monetary compensation for any violations of it. The board’s statement comes as Musk appears to be maneuvering to ditch or renegotiate his offer. BLOOMBERG NEWS


Iconic basket maker to close, in part because pests have destroyed trees it uses

A 168-year-old company in New Hampshire known for its handwoven, hardwood baskets is closing its factory and stopping production, partly because of an insect pest that has been destroying ash trees. The Peterboro Basket Company has been in business since 1854. The company said in a recent announcement that the baskets “are principally made of US-grown Appalachian White Ash, the same wood used in ax handles and baseball bats. “For some years the Emerald Ash Borer beetle has reduced the availability of the wood used to make the baskets,’’ it said. The emerald ash borer has destroyed tens of millions of trees in the United States and Canada. The company said other extreme labor shortages, ongoing supply chain issues, and owners who are “ready to retire,’’ are among the other considerations in deciding to close. The factory plans to produce its last basket this summer or fall. ASSOCIATED PRESS