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TALKING POINTS

Eleven of the top 100 Mass. companies lack a woman on their boards

CORPORATE

Eleven of the top 100 Mass. companies lack a woman on their boards

The makeup of Massachusetts boardrooms is slowly shifting, with more women in the room than ever before. But the shift still isn’t happening quickly enough. That’s the bottom line from the latest annual “Census” released Wednesday by The Boston Club, a professional network for women executives that tracks director and C-suite appointments at the state’s 100 largest publicly traded firms. Women now account for 21 percent of the directors on these companies’ boards. That figure represents an increase of 9 percent, or 15 director seats, from 2017. However, 11 of the top 100 companies still have no women on their boards, and eight have no women either in their boardrooms or among their top executive ranks. — JON CHESTO

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SOCIAL MEDIA

Zuckerberg refuses to appear before international parliamentary committee

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has rejected a request to appear before an international parliamentary committee delving into the questions around fake news. The rebuff came after Damian Collins, the head of the UK parliament’s media committee, joined forces with his Canadian counterpart in hopes of pressuring Zuckerberg to testify, as he did before the US Congress. Facebook rejected the invitation to appear before the so-called ‘‘international grand committee’’ session Nov. 27, arguing it wasn’t possible for Zuckerberg to appear before all parliaments. Collins says pressure is building, with counterparts in Australia, Argentina, and Ireland having joined the grand committee in the time since Zuckerberg was invited. He says ‘‘five parliaments are now calling on you to do the right thing by the 170 million users in the countries they represent.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS

E-COMMERCE

Amazon unveils its first toy catalog

Amazon.com is gambling on glossiness and nostalgia to draw in shoppers with its first toy catalog, in yet another brick-and-mortar strategy to snag its share of the holiday toy sales. The company released its ‘‘Holiday of Play’’ catalog on Wednesday. It features 70 pages of delighted, cozily-clad kids surrounded by toys, and will soon be mailed to millions of customers this month. It showcases the breadth of holiday toy inventory, from classics like action figures, board games and Barbies to high-end items like Bose audio gear and PlayStations. When former juggernaut Toys R Us shuttered its last stores earlier this year, it kicked off a scramble among brick-and-mortar giants such as Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s, along with online powerhouses such as Amazon, as all clamored for a piece of the nation’s $3.3 billion toy market. — WASHINGTON POST

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TECHNOLOGY

Samsung unveils a folding phone

Samsung Electronics on Wednesday offered a peek at a future phone that unfolds like a book to reveal a 7.3-inch screen inside. It’s part pocket-size flip phone, part tablet. We think of a smartphone screen as a rigid piece of glass that’s limited by the size of the device itself. But Samsung’s so-called Infinity Flex Display folds, unfolds, and refolds to pack up into a smaller form. This origami screen is bound for a big phone launch, but Samsung didn’t offer a name, price, or even a timeline other than 2019. The Korean electronics giant showed the new display technology at its annual San Francisco developer conference in the hopes of wooing app makers to create experiences that take advantage of it. — WASHINGTON POST

TELEVISION

Number of Americans paying for television falls

The number of Americans paying for TV fell in the third quarter, reversing a slight improvement earlier this year and deepening woes for the industry. Subscribers to a traditional cable or satellite package declined by more than 1 million between July and September, the worst decline on record, according to research firm Moffett Nathanson. The only bright spot for the pay-TV industry was the continued growth in online packages like DirecTV Now and YouTube TV — although growth in those packages slowed after price increases. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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ELECTION

Voters approve billions in bond issues

Voters across the US Tuesday backed at least $20.6 billion of bond sales to support school construction and infrastructure upgrades including road and bridge repairs, led by multi-billion-dollar measures in California. Results are still pending on hundreds of state and local measures. The election brought about $76.3 billion of bond referendums from California to Maine, the most in an election since 2006, according to data from market research company Ipreo by IHS Markit. It signals an increasing willingness by states and local governments to borrow for needed public works while they reap the financial gains from the nearly decadelong economic expansion. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

ELECTION

Voters in San Francisco approve tax on large businesses to help homeless

San Francisco voters approved a tax increase on large businesses to boost services for the homeless, an initiative that was opposed by the mayor and had divided leaders of the city’s booming technology industry. The ballot initiative, Proposition C, calls for an additional tax of at least 0.175 percent on businesses’ gross receipts above $50 million. It’s expected to generate about $300 million a year for homeless aid, roughly doubling the city’s current funding. About 60 percent of voters were in favor of the initiative with all precincts reporting, according to the San Francisco Department of Elections. Homelessness is a deepening crisis in San Francisco, where soaring real estate costs and tech-fueled wealth are exacerbating economic inequality. The most recent official count pegged the homeless population at about 7,500. Mayor London Breed, elected in June, has committed to addressing the problem but opposed Prop C, arguing that the city needs to be more efficient about spending money already dedicated to helping people with nowhere to live. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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CLIMATE

Regulators to decide if Maine shrimp fishery should remain closed

Fishing regulators are collecting the final comments from the public before deciding whether New England’s shrimp fishery should remain closed for another year. Scientists and environmentalists have portrayed the shrimp fishery as a victim of climate change, as the warming temperature of the Gulf of Maine has made the shrimp’s habitat inhospitable. The fishery was shut down in 2013. It’s expected to make a decision next week about whether to allow a fishing season in 2019. A recent scientific analysis of the shrimp population says its population off New England remains depleted. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FAST FOOD

Wendy’s struggles as fewer low-income people eat there

Low-income Americans aren’t frequenting fast-food chains as much, and that’s hurting Wendy’s Co. Wendy’s shares tumbled on Wednesday after the chain reported late Tuesday a drop in North American same-store sales last quarter, missing estimates. Despite steep discounts at its restaurants — and across the industry — customer traffic and sales have weakened as low-income customers eat out less and spend less when doing so. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TRAVEL

Renting a car gets gets high grades

When it comes to the travel trio of airports, airlines, and rental cars, the latter is the clear consumer favorite these days, according to a customer survey by J.D. Power. Satisfaction with renting a car rose to an industry average of 830 points on the market-research firm’s 1,000-point rating system, a slight increase from 2017, the company said in a statement Wednesday. That was the highest mark ever reached in the survey’s 23-year history, J.D. Power said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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