Talking Points


Two friends who worked at different pharmaceutical companies convicted of insider trading


Friends who worked at pharmaceutical firms convicted
of insider trading

Two friends who worked at different pharmaceutical companies in Boston have been convicted of insider trading related charges. Prosecutors say 54-year-old Songjiang Wang, of Westford, and 54-year-old Schultz ‘‘Jason’’ Chan, of Newton, were convicted Tuesday on multiple securities fraud charges. The US attorney for Massachusetts said the two were friends and used their positions to exchange information about successful drug trials at their businesses. They then used those tips to purchase stock before the information was made public. Authorities did not name the companies involved in court documents or in news releases. Both men were charged last year. They face up to 20 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for October. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Nurses go on strike at University of Vermont Medical Center

The head of the Vermont hospital whose nurses are on strike says hundreds of contingency nurses are working at the hospital. University of Vermont Medical Center President Eileen Whalen said Thursday officials have received no reports of problems with patients, visitors, or staff accessing the hospital. She says appointments for the vast majority of patients will not be affected. The two-day strike by the 1,800 nurses at Vermont’s largest medical center began at 7 a.m. Thursday. The strike is to last through 7 a.m. Saturday. The union is seeking a 22 percent pay increase over three years. The Medical Center offered a 14 percent pay increase over three years. The union maintained that higher wages are necessary to recruit and retain nurses and support staff and ‘‘address a crisis of understaffing.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Founder of Papa John’s resigns as chairman after using racial slur

Papa John’s founder John Schnatter, who resigned as CEO last year after complaining about NFL protests, is now out as chairman after reportedly using a racial slur. His image remains on the pizza chain’s logo, though, illustrating the difficulty for companies closely tied to an individual’s image. The chain announced that Schnatter was leaving the company’s board late Wednesday, hours after he apologized for using a slur during a conference call in May. Schnatter, who has appeared in TV ads for the chain, still owns about 30 percent of the company’s shares. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Vermont settles case against Jay Peak developers


Vermont has settled a lawsuit against two ski resort developers accused of defrauding its immigrant investor program. Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced Thursday former Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros of Miami, will pay the state $2 million satisfied by transferring five properties to Vermont. Former Jay Peak president William Stenger will pay the city of Newport $100,000, earmarked for economic development. The agreement is subject to court approval. If approved the state will drop its lawsuit against both men. Quiros and Stenger were accused of misusing $200 million raised from foreign investors through the EB-5 visa program, which helps foreigners obtain permanent residency by investing in job-creating developments. They’ve reached settlements with the Securities and Exchange Commission. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Build-A-Bear promotion proves too popular

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Build-A-Bear Workshop’s ‘‘Pay Your Age’’ promotion proved too popular. The chain known for its customizable teddy bears and other stuffed toys couldn’t handle the crowds Thursday, and had to turn shoppers away. The company wrote in a Facebook post that it closed lines at its stores in Canada and the United States due to overwhelming crowds and safety concerns. The offer, which let customers with youngsters in tow buy a bear and pay their current age with a cap at $29, was also available at its United Kingdom stores. Customers took to social media to complain afterward. Later Thursday, the company said it distributed vouchers to customers in line that can be redeemed for a purchase through Aug. 31, the chain said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Michelin buys Canadian company

French tire-maker Michelin is bolstering its specialty business with a $1.45 billion deal to buy Camso, a Canadian producer of rubber tracks for farm equipment and snowmobiles. The two companies’ off-road operations will be combined and run from Camso’s headquarters in Magog, Quebec, Michelin said in a statement Thursday. The deal is Michelin’s second acquisition this year worth more than $1 billion and aimed at diversifying the Clermont Ferrand, France-based company away from car and truck tires. The French manufacturer’s agreement in March to buy UK-based conveyor-belt maker Fenner for about $1.6 billion will strengthen its presence in mining equipment. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


First electric double-decker bus headed to US

The first electric, double-decker bus to be ordered by a public transit agency in the United States is headed for the Los Angeles area. The vehicle, powered by battery technology from Proterra Inc. and manufactured by the UK-based bus builder Alexander Dennis, will join a Southern California transit agency’s fleet next year, according to a statement Thursday.


English bookies breathe sigh of relief over loss

Not everyone in England is despairing at their team’s World Cup exit. For the country’s bookmakers, defeat to Croatia in Wednesday’s semifinal averted a potential multi-million pound payout. Before the tournament, companies such as Paddy Power Betfair Plc and William Hill Plc were offering odds of 16-1 on England lifting the trophy on July 15. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates edge higher


Long-term mortgage rates edged higher this week, marking their first increase since early June. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages ticked up to 4.53 percent from 4.52 percent a week earlier. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans rose to 4.02 percent this week from 3.99 percent last week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Uber drivers can now use Venmo to pay

The battle to become the country’s preeminent cashless mobile payment platform is heating up. Starting Thursday, Uber Technologies Inc. riders in the United States saw a “Pay with Venmo” option when selecting a payment method for their trips. The feature will appear right next to Apple Pay, Apple Inc.’s competing mobile payment service. The ride-hailing giant is the largest retailer to accept Venmo payments to date. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


R.I. firm that makes award ribbons consolidating
in Missouri

A company that makes award ribbons has announced that it is closing its Rhode Island manufacturing plant and consolidating production at a Missouri facility. Portsmouth-based Hodges Badge Co. Inc. announced the decision Wednesday, which will put about 45 people out of work. Corporate staff will remain in Rhode Island. The Portsmouth plant will close in November and production moved to Washington, Mo., which already handles more than 70 percent of its manufacturing business. The 98-year-old company moved from Boston to Rhode Island in 1974 and expanded to Missouri in the late 1980s. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Apple unveils update for MacBook Pro

Apple on Thursday announced a long-awaited update for the MacBook Pro, giving the laptops a much-needed performance bump but not any meaningful change in design. Most notably, Apple has not fully changed the design of the laptops’ keyboards, which have drawn serious complaints from consumers who find them unreliable. The new models — one 13-inch model and one 15-inch model, both with Apple’s Touch Bar — have new chips that Apple said should dramatically increase performance. — WASHINGTON POST