JetBlue hikes forecast, buoyed by bookings


Woman who tossed food at Chipotle worker sentenced to stint at fast food restaurant

A woman in Ohio who threw a burrito bowl at a Chipotle worker and was convicted of assault has been sentenced to an unusual punishment that includes working in fast food for two months. Back in September, during a dinner rush and while a restaurant in Parma was short-staffed, Emily Russell, then the store manager, said she made and then remade an order for Rosemary Hayne. Hayne was not satisfied with the final product. In a video shared widely online, she can be seen yelling at Russell before hurling the burrito bowl at her face. Eventually, someone called the police, Russell said. Judge Timothy Gilligan of Parma Municipal Court sentenced Hayne to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended, court records show. The judge offered her a chance to reduce her sentence, with a catch — 60 of those days would be suspended if she worked 20 hours a week for 60 days at a fast-food restaurant, said Joseph O’Malley, Hayne’s lawyer. Hayne, 39, agreed to take the judge up on his offer, he said. She must complete her time as a fast food worker by the time she reports to jail in March. — NEW YORK TIMES

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Epic releases Lego Fortnite

Epic Games on Thursday released Lego Fortnite, the first in a series of new titles from the closely held video game giant as part of an effort to expand beyond its cartoonish shooting game franchise. The new game lets players craft their own tools, weapons, and shelters as they try to survive in a sometimes hostile environment. It’s part of a larger strategy by Epic to create more virtual worlds where gamers can socialize and play, while incorporating outfits and other elements purchased in the original Fortnite game. Epic is also releasing Rocket Racing, a car racing game, on Friday, and Fortnite Festival, a music title where players can start a band or perform as a solo artist. It debuts on Dec. 9 in an online promotion with the singer the Weeknd. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

A Checkers drive-thru lane that uses voice-recognition to take orders in Norcross, Ga., on June 30, 2021. Lynsey Weatherspoon/NYT


Drive-thrus still need human help

Checkers and Carl’s Jr. are among US fast food chains hailing AI-powered drive-thrus as labor-zapping wizards that speed up service. But a popular provider of these systems recently revealed a crucial part of how it gets so many orders right: humans. Presto Automation Inc. pitched a restaurant industry desperate to combat rising wages on a talking chatbot that could take orders with almost no human intervention. The firm touted OpenAI’s Sam Altman as an early investor. And it has used the firm’s technology to improve its system as it aims to triple deployments to 1,200 locations next year. But disclosures in recent filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission and changes to marketing suggest that the technology is less autonomous than it first appeared. The company, which went public last year, now says “off-site agents” working in locales such as the Philippines help during more than 70 percent of customer interactions to make sure its AI system doesn’t mess up. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Moody’s warned workers to stay home in light of China downgrade

Moody’s Investors Service advised its staff in China to work from home ahead of its announcement this week cutting the outlook for sovereign bonds to negative in the world’s second-largest economy, the Financial Times reported. Department heads advised nonadministrative staff in Beijing and Shanghai not go into the office, the paper reported, citing two Moody’s employees. One of the employees said the move was likely motivated by fear of government inspections following the rating company’s outlook cut, according to the FT. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Strong thunderstorms caused billions in insurance claims

The United States only saw one hurricane landfall this year, but it wasn’t spared a battering from extreme weather. A dramatic rise in severe thunderstorms globally, but particularly along Tornado Alley in the United States, cost insurers a record $60 billion and drove total global insured losses over $100 billion for the fourth year running, according to an analysis by the Swiss Re Institute, the research arm of reinsurance giant Swiss Re AG. Damage from severe thunderstorms — characterized by sudden downpours, fierce winds, and hailstones — has been inching up by about 7 percent annually for 30 years, according to the analysis. Still, the storms that plagued the United States this year were particularly ferocious. There were 18 events that caused more than $1 billion in damage, adding up to record pain. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

The Amazon logo on a smartphone.Gabby Jones/Bloomberg


Amazon no longer accepting Venmo payments

Amazon is ending the use of Venmo payment service for purchases with the online retail giant, a little more than a year after adding the option. Venmo can no longer be added as a payment method in Amazon wallets, and customers who already have it enabled can’t use it after Jan. 10, according to a notice from Venmo. It cited “recent changes,” without further explanation. Amazon customers still will be able to use Venmo debit and credit cards. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Rates continue their downward slide

Home loan financing costs eased again this week, as the average long-term US mortgage rate slid to its lowest level in four months. The average rate on a 30-year mortgage dropped to 7.03 percent from 7.22 percent last week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday. A year ago, the rate averaged 6.33 percent. The last time the average rate was lower was in early August, when it was at 6.96 percent. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


FCC approves merger of Dish and EchoStar

Dish Network shares surged Thursday after the US Federal Communications Commission approved its merger with EchoStar Corp. As part of the merger, Dish and its subsidiaries will move under the control of EchoStar. Charlie Ergen, who cofounded and chairs both companies, announced plans to merge the two satellite networks in August. Dish has struggled to transition from a legacy pay-TV business into a wireless communication company, saddling itself with $24.6 billion in short- and long-term debt in the process and effectively cutting itself off from the credit market. A merger with EchoStar, the satellite network it once owned and spun off in 2008, would give Ergen’s empire more funding to expand its 5G buildout and mobile and broadband offerings, including fixed home wireless and Boost Infinite, its low-cost mobile service. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

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Yuri Wrona