Business & Tech

TALKING POINTS

New Partners CEO joins Mass. Competitive Partnership

ASSOCIATIONS

Partners CEO joins Mass. Competitive Partnership

New Partners HealthCare CEO Anne Klibanski has joined the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, a group of chief executives at some of the state’s largest employers. The MACP held its first meeting with Klibanski on Wednesday. The appointment was not unexpected: Previous Partners CEO David Torchiana also held a seat on the business group’s board. She joins 15 other CEOs who represent sectors ranging from life sciences to financial services, and high-tech to energy. Putnam Investments CEO Bob Reynolds chairs the group, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals CEO Jeff Leiden is the vice chairman. — JON CHESTO

RIDE HAILING

Mass. Lyft drivers file class-action suit claiming they are not independent contractors

Lyft drivers in Massachusetts filed a new class-action lawsuit against the ride-hailing company this week claiming they are being misclassified as independent contractors. The action follows a federal appeals court ruling that could keep the drivers from being bound by arbitration agreements. The lawsuit was filed by Boston attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan, who opened a new driver misclassification case against Uber in Massachusetts last week on the same grounds. Liss-Riordan also filed a new lawsuit against Uber in California, and has one pending there against Lyft. Judges in the appeals court case found that a carveout in the Federal Arbitration Act exempting transportation workers from arbitration agreements may also apply to drivers transporting passengers. This decision opens the door to lawsuits by Uber and Lyft drivers who were blocked from joining previous cases because they had signed arbitration agreements. Earlier this year, Uber reached a $20 million settlement with drivers in Massachusetts and California who had opted out of the company’s arbitration clause. — KATIE JOHNSTON

AVIATION

Struggling
Air India puts its crews on cheaper, low-fat diet

Cash-starved Air India is putting its crew on a diet, changing their inflight menu to special low-fat meals. Dhananjay Kumar, the state-run airline’s spokesman, said Wednesday that the objective is to provide healthy and cost-effective meals to crews on domestic and international flights. Kumar declined to comment on media reports that the cost per meal, mostly vegetarian, will fall to one-third of the current 500-800 rupees (up to $11) per meal. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

VAPING

India latest country to ban electronic cigarettes

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India became the latest country to ban electronic cigarettes only days after Juul Labs Inc.’s products vanished from online Chinese marketplaces, signaling that Asian nations may be no refuge for the industry from an escalating crackdown in the United States. The Narendra Modi-led government announced an executive order Wednesday banning the sale and production of all e-cigarettes, echoing growing concerns worldwide over health risks associated with the smokeless nicotine devices popular with teenagers. India’s decision follows similar prohibitions in about 27 other countries including Australia, Singapore, and Brazil, and comes on the heels of halted online sales of Juul’s products in China, the world’s largest tobacco market. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

CONSTRUCTION

Home building rose more than 12 percent
in August

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The pace of home construction jumped 12.3 percent last month to a 12-year high on a surge in apartment building. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that housing starts came in at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.36 million, the most since June 2007 and up from a revised 1.22 million, as builders overcame a shortage of skilled workers and available land. Economists had expected a more modest gain and in another promising sign, permits, a sign of future building, rose 7.7 percent to 1.42 million, the highest since May 2007. Construction of single-family homes rose 4.4 percent to 919,000. Building of apartments and condominiums surged 30.9 percent — the biggest monthly gain since December 2016 — to 424,000. Residential construction rose 30.5 percent in the Northeast, 15.4 percent in the Midwest, and 14.9 percent in the South, but it was unchanged in the West. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

FINANCE

Institutional investors want companies to address deforestation

Institutional investors with more than $16 trillion in assets under management, including Europe’s biggest asset manager, Amundi SA, called on companies to implement anti-deforestation policies for their supply chains and report extensively on how they tackle the issue. The 230 investors, which also include BNP Paribas SA and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, signed a common statement in reaction to the fires that are raging in the Amazon. The initiative, coordinated by non-profit groups PRI and Ceres, is part of growing international pressure on Brazil to deal with the increase in blazes in the Amazon rain forest. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TOYS

‘Pets’ who demand hands-on care could be hot sellers this holiday season

Millennials raised on Tamagotchis are now present-wrapping parents themselves, and the US toy industry is taking note. Whether it’s dolls that bloom like flowers when watered or matted rescue pups that shiver until they’re groomed, toy makers are betting that ‘‘pets’’ demanding hands-on care will be in high demand this holiday season. Highlights of Toy Insider’s Hot 20 list, an industry publication’s best guess at which items will be the most coveted this season, include Rizmo by Japan’s Tomy Co., a creature from outer space billed as the first-ever ‘‘evolving’’ toy that can learn songs as it grows into an adult. The Scruff-a-Luvs My Real Rescue from Australia’s Moose Toys comes out of its packaging as a ball of fur that doesn’t transform from shelter-rescue pet to puppy or kitten until it’s been given some extra attention. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

OFFICE SPACE

Delayed WeWork IPO is affecting real estate deals
in London

Deals for two major London buildings leased mostly to WeWork are on the ropes. Saudi-based Sidra Capital has pulled out of a 90 million-pound ($112 million) deal to buy 70 Wilson St. near London’s financial district as the flexible-office giant’s planned initial public offering got an increasingly rocky reception from investors, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations. Separately, talks have stalled on the sale of WeWork Waterloo, which the company describes as the largest co-working facility in the world, according to other people with knowledge of the negotiations. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AVIATION

British Airways pilots call off planned strike

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British Airways pilots scrapped a planned one-day walkout scheduled for later this month to pursue “meaningful new discussions” as the union sought to end a deadlock over wages. The British Airline Pilots’ Association said it was calling off the Sept. 27 action “before the dispute escalates further and irreparable damage is done to the brand,” and demanded the carrier negotiate seriously to end the dispute. Last week, British Airways began offering full refunds or rebooking on alternate days or airlines for passengers scheduled to fly on the strike day. British Airways was forced to scrap almost all of its scheduled flights during the previous two-day walkout starting Sept. 9, amounting to more than 3,200 departures and arrivals. — BLOOMBERG NEWS