The world this week


新博平台在线登录The approval granted by America’s Food and Drug Administration to a new drug to combat Alzheimer’s disease was hailed as a breakthrough, even though the FDA conceded that the drug, aducanumab (to be marketed as Aduhelm), is not proven to work. It has shown success in reducing the build-up in the brain of a protein known as beta-amyloid, one of the possible causes of Alzheimer’s. Biogen must now conduct a large-scale clinical trial to determine whether it does also slow memory loss and cognitive decline.

A consortium of private-equity funds, which includes Blackstone, reached an agreement to take a majority stake in Medline, a privately held supplier of medical equipment. At $34bn the deal is one of the biggest ever buy-outs involving private equity.

The American Senate passed a mammoth bill that aims to counter China’s rising expertise in technology. The legislation would, among other things, fund research in artificial intelligence and quantum computing and support the American chip industry. The House of Representatives will soon debate its version of the bill. Separately, Joe Biden ordered a security review of all apps based in countries such as China.

Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority said it was investigating British Airways and Ryanair to see if the airlines broke consumer law by offering vouchers or rebookings instead of refunds to passengers who were unable to fly during lockdowns. The practice is unpopular. In America complaints about airlines refusing to refund were up by 5,500% in 2020.

新博平台在线登录Facebook extended its suspension of Donald Trump for at least two years. As he is also permanently banned from Twitter, the former president will not have access to the social-media channels for America’s mid-term elections. From now on Facebook will hold material from any politician in the world to the same standards it applies to content from regular users, but will grant a “newsworthiness allowance” to some political posts that breach those standards. Its policy change did little to assuage its critics.


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