Baker wants price cap for offshore wind bids removed

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Baker wants price cap for offshore wind bids removed

Governor Charlie Baker offered an important break to the offshore wind industry on Wednesday, recommending to lawmakers as part of his state budget approval that they pass language eliminating a state-mandated price cap for the next round of offshore wind contract bids. The Legislature included language in its budget that modified the price cap, which was originally established in a 2016 energy law, to make it easier for offshore wind developers to place their bids. But with the next round due in the middle of August, Baker said the proposed changes to the cap would disrupt the industry rather than help it because developers might not have enough time to prepare their bids. Better, he said, to offer clarity by lifting the cap entirely for this round, and then put one back in place for subsequent rounds. — JON CHESTO



Former head of Audi charged in emissions cheating scandal

German prosecutors have charged the former head of Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury division, with fraud in connection with the sale of cars with software that enabled cheating on emissions tests, adding another chapter to VW’s diesel scandal that has seen its former CEO charged in the United States and two executives go to prison there. Prosecutors in Munich said Wednesday in a news release that they had charged Rupert Stadler and three other individuals. The three unnamed individuals were charged with having developed engines used in Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche models that had software that made the emissions controls work better on the test stand than in real-life driving. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Federal appeals court upholds dismissal of suit from Hamas victims

Facebook Inc. doesn’t have to face a lawsuit by victims of Hamas attacks and their relatives who claimed that the social network unlawfully assisted the terror group, a federal appeals court ruled. In a 66-page ruling issued Wednesday, a divided court upheld a judge’s decision to throw out the case, saying an interactive computer service is not the publisher of third-party information when it uses tools that are designed to match content with consumer interests. “Facebook does not edit (or suggest edits) for the content that its users — including Hamas — publish,” the US Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit said, noting that the company only requires users to provide basic information and therefore acts as a “neutral intermediary.” — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Body of Indian coffee magnate found in river

Fishermen on Wednesday found the body of the founder of India’s biggest coffee chain in a river, two days after he disappeared, police said. V.G. Siddhartha purportedly wrote a letter indicating he was anxious about pressure from banks, investors and the tax authorities. Siddhartha, 60, had left Bangalore on Monday and left his car near a bridge in Dakshina Kannada district in Karnataka state. He told his driver to wait, saying he was going for a walk near the bridge. When he didn’t return for two hours, the driver notified police, police officer Sasikant Senthil said. He leaves behind Coffee Day Enterprises, a coffee shop chain with more than 1,500 stores across India with revenue of $630 million in 2017-18. It also has outlets in Austria, the Czech Republic, and Malaysia, according to the chain’s website. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


156,000 jobs added in July

US companies added a healthy 156,000 jobs in July with larger firms accounting for many of the gains, a private survey found. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that there was solid hiring in the construction, transportation, health care, and leisure and hospitality sectors. But smaller companies are struggling to find talent after years of robust job growth. Businesses that have fewer than 20 employees shed workers for the third straight month. The ADP’s figures don’t include government hiring and frequently diverge from the government’s official report, which is scheduled to be released Friday. Economists expect that report will show the addition of 163,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate holds at 3.7 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Impossible Burger could be coming to grocery store shelves

The Impossible Burger, so far available only at restaurants, could finally be making its way to US grocery store shelves, giving chief rival Beyond Meat Inc. a new competitor inside retail. It also announced on Wednesday plans to produce more of the meat-free patties through a new collaboration. In response to a petition submitted by Impossible Foods, the Silicon Valley-based maker of the eponymous burger, the Food and Drug Administration has amended its rules to call the use of soy leghemoglobin safe as a color additive in imitation beef, clearing a key hurdle in the company’s push to sell raw product in grocery stores. The rule change is effective Sept. 4, though petitioners still have a chance to file objections. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


TV and movie productions could flee Georgia because of strict abortion law

Georgia’s passage of one of the country’s strictest abortion laws has triggered a nationwide competition to lure TV and film production from the state in the event of a boycott. Production in Georgia was responsible for an estimated $9.5 billion in economic impact last year, according to the state, so there’s plenty at stake. Georgia’s tax incentives and spending credits made it such a darling of Hollywood that the state surpassed California as the favorite setting for TV and film production in the United States. Several studios, including Walt Disney Co., lambasted Georgia for the legislation, but few have announced they’re moving out. Some individual productions have, though, including Kristen Wiig’s film for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar,” which switched to Mexico and New Mexico. The Netflix Inc. hit “Stranger Things,” as well as successful movies “Black Panther” and “First Man,” were filmed at least in part in Georgia. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Ryanair signals deep job cuts

Ryanair Holdings PLC is poised for one of the deepest rounds of job cuts in years as the budget airline responds to falling earnings and delays to expansion plans forced by the grounding of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max jetliner. In a video message to staff seen by Bloomberg, chief executive Michael O’Leary said the carrier has an excess of more than 500 pilots and about 400 flight attendants. On top of that, it will need around 600 fewer people in those categories next summer than called for in previous recruitment plans. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Wages and benefits rise at slower pace

The annual wages and benefits for US workers rose in the second quarter at a slightly slower pace than the first, suggesting that the lowest unemployment levels in a half century have not triggered rapid gains in worker compensation. The Labor Department reported Wednesday that pay and benefits for all US workers increased 2.7 percent in the April-June quarter from a year earlier, down from a 2.8 percent rise in the first quarter compared to a year ago. The 12-month peak so far in this expansion for wages and salaries was a 2.9 percent gain for the period ending in December of last year. — ASSOCIATED PRESS