Tag Archives: Health / Medicine

Apple, Netflix pull out of South by Southwest pageant amid

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The brand of U.S. expertise firm Apple is seen at a department workplace in Basel, Switzerland March 2, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

(Reuters) – Apple Inc and Netflix Inc stated they had been pulling out of the South by Southwest music and tech pageant to be held later this month, amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. dying toll from coronavirus infections rose to 11 on Wednesday and California Governor Gavin Newsom declared a statewide emergency amid the nation’s largest outbreak.

Fb Inc had stated earlier this week it could not take part within the pageant.

Representatives of the occasion didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Organizers of the South by Southwest music and tech pageant, set to be held in Austin, Texas, had stated final month the occasion would proceed as deliberate regardless of “a handful” of cancellations associated to the virus.

The outbreak has disrupted different tech conferences and gatherings, together with the Cellular World Congress in Barcelona and Google’s annual developer occasion, Google I/O. Corporations have additionally modified their work and journey plans.

IBM stated on Wednesday its developer convention ‘IBM Suppose 2020’ could be an internet occasion and happen from Could 5-7.

The corporate stated it has issued new journey restrictions by means of the top of March.

Reporting by Rama Venkat and Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru and Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Modifying by Maju Samuel and Vinay Dwivedi

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Samsung Electronics confirms coronavirus case at phone

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SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) said on Saturday that one coronavirus case had been confirmed at its mobile device factory complex in the southeastern city of Gumi, causing a shutdown of its entire facility there until Monday morning.

Samsung Electronics, the world’s top smartphone maker, said the floor where the infected employee worked would be shut down until the morning of Feb. 25.

“The company has placed colleagues who came in contact with the infected employee in self-quarantine and taken steps to have them tested for possible infection,” Samsung said in a news release.

Samsung’s factory in Gumi accounts for a small portion of its total smartphone production, and it makes high-end phones, mostly for the domestic market. Samsung produces most of its smartphones in Vietnam and India.

Gumi is close to the city of Daegu, home to a church at the center of South Korea’s largest coronavirus outbreak.

South Korea said on Saturday that the number of people infected with the coronavirus in the country had more than doubled to 433.

Samsung said production at its chip and display factories in other parts of South Korea would not be affected.

Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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U.S. SEC probes Altria’s investment in Juul: source

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FILE PHOTO: Juul brand vape cartridges are pictured for sale at a shop in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage/File Photo

(Reuters) – U.S. regulators have opened a probe regarding Marlboro maker Altria Group Inc’s (MO.N) investment in e-cigarette maker Juul Labs Inc, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the Marlboro maker adequately disclosed the risks to its shareholders when it spent $12.8 billion in 2018 for a 35% stake in the start-up, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday.

The SEC has issued subpoenas to Juul and the e-cigarette maker has responded, according to the person familiar with the matter.

Juul has turned over documents including correspondence with Altria and financial projections Juul shared with Altria before the deal, the person said.

Altria has recorded $8.6 billion in impairment charges since investing in Juul in December 2018, bringing the value of its investment to $4.2 billion by end of 2019.

Juul and Altria did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment.

Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam and Abhishek Manikandan in Bengaluru, and Chris Kirkham in Los Angeles; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Daniel Wallis

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Apple unlikely to meet revenue guidance due to coronavirus impact

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(Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) said on Monday it would not meet its revenue guidance for the March quarter because of the coronavirus outbreak slowing iPhone production and weakening demand in China.

FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc. logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

Apple’s manufacturing facilities in China have begun to reopen, but they are ramping up more slowly than expected, the technology company said in a statement to its investors.

Global supplies of Apple’s iPhones will be limited as the sites work toward operating at full capacity, the company said.

“These iPhone supply shortages will temporarily affect revenues worldwide,” the company said.

In January, Apple forecast $63 billion to $67 billion in revenue for the second quarter ending in March, ahead of estimates of $62.4 billion.

The company said it would provide more information during its next earnings call in April.

Apple also said that store restrictions due to coronavirus precautions had affected its sales in China, with most retail stores either closed or operating at reduced hours.

“We are gradually reopening our retail stores and will continue to do so as steadily and safely as we can,” the company said.

The disruptions follow a strong December quarter for iPhone sales, which were up for the first time in a year.

Analysts have estimated that the virus may slash demand for smartphones by half in the first quarter in China, the world’s biggest market for smartphones.

“While we have discussed a negative iPhone impact from the coronavirus over the past few weeks, the magnitude of this impact to miss its revenue guidance midway through February is clearly worse than feared,” Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives wrote in a note.

Apple’s stock is expected to face a knee-jerk reaction on Tuesday, when Wall Street reopens after the Presidents Day holiday, Ives said.

Wedbush said it remained optimistic that Apple would be able to recover from the coronavirus setback.

“While trying to gauge the impact of the iPhone miss and potential bounce back in the June quarter will be front and center for the Street, we remain bullish on Apple for the longer term,” Ives said.

The outbreak is expected to intensify pressure on China’s economy, with multiple companies struggling to restart production after an extended Chinese New Year holiday.

Fiat Chrysler, <FCHA.MI, Hyundai Motor Co (005380.KS) and General Motors Co (GM.N) have all said their auto production lines were, or could be, hit by Chinese factories that are slow to restart because of the virus.

Reporting by Neha Malara in Bengaluru and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler and Peter Cooney

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Shanghai government to help Tesla resume production amid coronavirus epidemic

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FILE PICTURE: Tesla China-made Model 3 vehicles are seen during a delivery event at its factory in Shanghai, China Jan. 7, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – U.S. electric carmaker Tesla’s (TSLA.O) factory in China’s financial hub of Shanghai will resume production on Feb. 10 with assistance to help it cope with a spreading epidemic of coronavirus, a Shanghai government official said on Saturday.

Many factories across China shut in late January for the Lunar New Year holiday that was originally due to end on Jan. 30 but which was extended in a bid to contain the spread of the new flu-like virus that has killed more than 700 people.

Tesla warned on Jan. 30 that it would see a 1-1.5 week delay in the ramp-up of Shanghai-built Model 3 cars as a result of the epidemic, which has severely disrupted communications and supply chains across China.

Tesla Vice President Tao Lin said this week that production would restart on Feb. 10.

“In view of the practical difficulties key manufacturing firms including Tesla have faced in resuming production, we will coordinate to make all efforts to help companies resume production as soon as possible,” Shanghai municipal government spokesman Xu Wei said.

The $2 billion Shanghai factory is Tesla’s first outside the United States and was built with support from local authorities. It started production in October and began deliveries last month.

The Shanghai government also said on Saturday it would ask banks to extend loans with preferential rates to small companies and exempt firms in hard-hit sectors like hospitality from value-added tax, among other measures to prop up businesses during the epidemic.

Such assistance would also apply to foreign companies, it added.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Samuel Shen; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Stephen Coates

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AirAsia CEO Fernandes and chairman step aside as Airbus bribery allegations probed

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – AirAsia Group (AIRA.KL) CEO Tony Fernandes and Chairman Kamarudin Meranun will step aside for at least two months while the airline and authorities investigate allegations Airbus paid a bribe of $50 million to win plane orders from the company.

FILE PHOTO: Founder of AirAsia X Tony Fernandes (R) listens to its chairman Kamarudin Meranun during the signing ceremony for the new Airbus A330-200s in Kuala Lumpur February 28, 2011. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad/File Photo

A committee comprising the non-executive members of AirAsia’s board will review the allegations and take any necessary action, Asia’s biggest budget airline said on Monday.

Fernandes, one of the aviation industry’s best known executives, and Kamarudin will remain advisers, however, “in view of the current difficult economic circumstances facing the airline industry”, the company added.

Senior company executive Tharumalingam Kanagalingam will be the acting CEO, with the changes effective immediately.

In a joint statement, Fernandes and Kamarudin denied any allegations of wrongdoing or misconduct as directors of AirAsia.

“We would not harm the very companies that we spent our entire lives building up to their present global status,” they said.

Shares of AirAsia and unit AirAsia X (AIRX.KL) fell on Monday after the allegations by Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) came to light on Friday. AirAsia stock fell as much as 11% to 1.27 ringgit, their lowest since May 2016, while AirAsia X dropped 12% to an all-time low of 11.5 Malaysian sen.

Malaysia’s anti-graft agency is also investigating the allegations. AirAsia has said it never made any purchase decisions that were premised on Airbus (AIR.PA) sponsorship, and that it would fully cooperate with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Malaysia’s Securities Commission said on Sunday it would also examine whether AirAsia broke securities laws.

The allegations were revealed as part of a record $4 billion settlement Airbus agreed with France, Britain and the United States. Prosecutors said the company had bribed public officials and hidden payments as part of a pattern of worldwide corruption.

“This agreement and the contents were arrived at without any reference to us; neither were any explanations sought from us,” Fernandes and Kamarudin said in their statement.

“This is in clear violation of fundamental legal principles of fairness.”

Airbus said at the weekend it would not comment on the Malaysian investigations.

The SFO’s allegations concern a 2012 sponsorship agreement between the now-defunct Caterham Formula 1 racing team, founded by Fernandes, and Airbus’s then-parent, EADS.

The SFO said on Friday that between October 2013 and January 2015, EADS paid $50 million to sponsor a sports team which was jointly owned by two people described as AirAsia Executive 1 and Executive 2. It said Airbus employees offered an additional $55 million, though no payment was made.

Fernandes bought Caterham together with Kamarudin in 2011.

FILE PHOTO: Lotus (later Caterham) Formula One team principal Tony Fernandes poses with Air Asia flight attendants before the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix at Sepang circuit outside Kuala Lumpur April 10, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Chong/File Photo

The SFO said Executives 1 and 2 were “key decision makers in AirAsia and AirAsia X, and were rewarded in respect of the order of 180 aircraft from Airbus”.

Analysts said the accusation against AirAsia comes at a particularly bad time as airlines grapple with a slowdown in business because of the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 300 people in China and disrupted air travel.

TA Securities downgraded AirAsia Group stock to “sell” from “buy”.

Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Mark Potter

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Apple to close all China mainland stores due to virus outbreak

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FILE PHOTO – A screen displaying an advertisement for iPhone 11 Pro is seen outside an Apple store in Beijing, China October 31, 2019. REUTERS/Florence Lo

(Reuters) – Apple Inc on Saturday said it would shut all of its official stores and corporate offices in mainland China until Feb 9. as fears over the coronavirus outbreak mounted and the death toll more than doubled to over 250 from a week ago.

“Out of an abundance of caution and based on the latest advice from leading health experts, we’re closing all our corporate offices, stores, and contact centers in mainland China through February 9,” Apple said in a statement. The company said looked forward to re-opening stores “as soon as possible”.

Earlier this week, Apple closed three stores in China due to concerns about the spread of the virus.

It’s joining a handful of overseas retailers, including Starbucks Corp and McDonald’s Corp to temporarily shut storefronts as a precautionary measure.

Many other companies, meanwhile, have called for employees in China to work from home and cease non-essential business travel in the first week of February.

Normally, businesses in China would be preparing to return to normal operations following the end of the week-long Lunar New Year Holiday.

Apple remains heavily reliant on China both for smartphone sales as well as for its supply chain and manufacturing. Many factories in Hubei province, including plants run by AB InBev and General Motors Co, have temporarily suspended production due to the virus.

In a recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was working out mitigation plans to deal with possible production loss from its suppliers in Wuhan. The city where the virus outbreak originated is home to several Apple suppliers.

Reporting by Akshay Balan in Bengaluru and Josh Horwitz in Shanghai; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Lincoln Feast.

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FTC workers recommends approval of Roche deal for Spark: report

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FILE PHOTO: Roche tablets are seen positioned in entrance of a displayed Roche emblem on this photograph illustration January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Commerce Fee workers reviewing Roche’s (RBO.PA) plan to purchase U.S.-based gene remedy specialist Spark Therapeutics (ONCE.O) for $4.three billion beneficial that the deal be authorised with out requiring any asset gross sales, the Capitol Discussion board reported on Thursday.

Basel-based Roche, the most important maker of most cancers medicine, mentioned in February that it could purchase the U.S. firm, buying a portfolio that features a blindness remedy that has U.S. and European approval and different initiatives for neurodegenerative problems like Huntington’s illness. One among its initiatives is a gene remedy remedy for hemophilia.

The FTC workers had targeted on hemophilia remedies since Roche markets Hemlibra, the report mentioned.

Following the workers’s suggestion, officers on the high of the FTC’s Bureau of Competitors should weigh in. The following step could be a vote by the FTC chairman and 4 commissioners.

The deal should additionally win approval from the UK’s Competitors and Markets Authority, which mentioned this week that it had a deadline of mid-December for a Section 1 resolution. A Section 2 probe could be extra in-depth and detailed.

Roche, Spark and the FTC all declined remark.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Further reporting by John Miller; Modifying by Dan Grebler

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OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma information for chapter safety

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma LP filed for chapter safety Sunday evening, succumbing to stress from greater than 2,600 lawsuits alleging the corporate helped gasoline the lethal U.S. opioid epidemic.

Purdue’s board met Sunday night to approve the long-expected chapter submitting, which the corporate is pursuing to restructure below phrases of a proposal to settle the widespread litigation.

Purdue, which filed for Chapter 11 safety in a federal chapter courtroom in White Plains, New York, reached a tentative deal to resolve lawsuits with 24 states and 5 U.S. territories, in addition to lead legal professionals for greater than 2,000 cities, counties and different plaintiffs, the corporate mentioned.

Two dozen states stay opposed or uncommitted to the proposed settlement, setting the stage for contentious authorized battles over who bears accountability for a public well being disaster that has claimed the lives of almost 400,000 individuals between 1999 and 2017, in accordance with the most recent U.S. knowledge.

Hundreds of cities and counties, together with almost each state, have sued Purdue and, in some circumstances, its controlling Sackler household. The lawsuits, in search of billions of {dollars} in damages, declare the corporate and household aggressively marketed prescription painkillers whereas deceptive docs and sufferers about their dependancy and overdose dangers.

Purdue and the Sacklers have denied the allegations.

Opposing states, together with Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut, need the Sacklers to ensure extra of their very own cash will go towards a settlement, and have questioned Purdue’s calculations valuing the general deal at greater than $10 billion.

The Sacklers, who would cede management of Purdue within the proposed settlement, have supplied $three billion in money and an extra $1.5 billion or extra by way of the eventual sale of one other firm they personal, known as Mundipharma, in accordance with the corporate and folks aware of the phrases. The Sacklers have declined to revise their supply.

“That is the fork within the highway. There are solely two methods to go from right here,” mentioned Purdue Chairman Steve Miller in an interview with Reuters.

Miller mentioned Purdue plans to argue to opposing states that preventing the proposed settlement will doubtless end in protracted litigation, growing authorized charges and depleting worth that might be steered to U.S. communities reeling from opioid abuse. He described chapter proceedings because the “finest hope for finalizing and implementing a worldwide decision to this litigation.”

In an announcement, members of the Sackler household controlling Purdue mentioned they hoped these opposing the present settlement supply would ultimately change their minds.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP, are seen on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey

“It’s our hope the chapter reorganization course of that’s now underway will finish our possession of Purdue and guarantee its property are devoted for the general public profit,” the household mentioned.

The result of Purdue’s tried chapter reorganization and settlement negotiations will assist decide how a lot cash U.S. communities obtain from the corporate and the Sacklers to deal with hurt from opioids. A reorganization and settlement would in the end should be permitted by a U.S. chapter choose.

States suing the Sacklers, together with a number of over the previous week, allege the household improperly reaped billions of {dollars} from opioid gross sales regardless of information of their dangerous results. The Sacklers, a few of whom beforehand served on the Purdue’s board and are well-known rich philanthropists, have denied the allegations.

Purdue’s proposed settlement envisions it changing into a belief that might contribute to U.S. communities, at little or no value, tens of thousands and thousands of doses of medicine the corporate developed to fight opioid overdoses and dependancy, the corporate mentioned.

Purdue values the medication at $4.45 billion over a decade, the individuals aware of the matter mentioned. Underneath the proposal’s phrases, the restructured Purdue could be completely sure by so-called injunctive aid, which incorporates restrictions on the promotion and sale of opioids.

States opposing the settlement supply have vowed to battle makes an attempt by Purdue and the Sacklers to make use of chapter proceedings to comprise the litigation.

On Friday, New York Lawyer Basic Letitia James mentioned she uncovered roughly $1 billion in wire transfers “between the Sacklers, entities they management and completely different monetary establishments, together with those who have funneled funds into Swiss financial institution accounts.”

The knowledge, in information an unnamed monetary establishment produced in response to a subpoena from James’s workplace, detailed monetary transfers involving former Purdue board member Mortimer D.A. Sackler, in accordance with courtroom paperwork her workplace filed.

He allegedly used shell firms “to shift Purdue cash by way of accounts world wide after which conceal it in no less than two separate multimillion-dollar actual property investments again right here in New York, sanitized (till now) of any readily-detectable connections to the Sackler household,” a lawyer in James’ workplace mentioned in one of many courtroom filings.

“There’s nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers, which had been completely authorized and acceptable in each respect,” a spokesman for Mortimer D.A. Sackler mentioned in an announcement.

“This can be a cynical try by a hostile AG’s workplace to generate defamatory headlines to attempt to torpedo a mutually useful settlement that’s supported by so many different states and would end in billions of {dollars} going to communities and people throughout the nation that need assistance,” the assertion added.

FILE PHOTO: Bottles of prescription painkiller OxyContin tablets, made by Purdue Pharma LP sit on a counter at an area pharmacy in Provo, Utah, U.S., April 25, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photograph

Purdue, in the meantime, plans to ask a chapter choose to halt lively litigation so it could negotiate a closing settlement, the individuals mentioned. However the firm is making ready for states to argue their lawsuits can’t be halted by a Chapter 11 submitting as a result of their authorized actions had been delivered to implement public well being and security legal guidelines – exempting them from the standard chapter guidelines that might cease their complaints.

One other thorny authorized query entails the Sacklers and below what circumstances Purdue may use chapter legislation in an try and additionally halt lawsuits in opposition to them.

These authorized skirmishes may take a while to develop, as Purdue initially should search courtroom approval to proceed paying workers and tackle routine working bills.

Reporting by Mike Spector; modifying by Edward Tobin and Stephen Coates

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Bayer mediator dismisses report of $eight billion Roundup settlement

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NEW YORK/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Bayer AG has not supplied to pay billions of {dollars} to settle claims in the USA associated to the Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg mentioned, dismissing a report back to that impact which drove its shares as a lot as 11% increased.

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto Co’s Roundup is proven on the market in Encinitas, California, U.S., June 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Picture

“Bayer has not proposed paying $eight billion to settle all of the U.S. Roundup most cancers claims. Such an announcement is pure fiction,” Feinberg mentioned in an e mail on Friday. “Compensation has not even been mentioned within the world mediation discussions.”

Bayer shares, which had shed a few of their features earlier than Feinberg’s assertion, retreated additional and closed up 1.7% at 64.63 euros.

Bayer, which acquired Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers as a part of its $63 billion takeover of Monsanto final yr, declined touch upon the preliminary Bloomberg information report and on Feinberg’s response.

Bayer Chief Govt Werner Baumann final week mentioned the corporate would contemplate settling with U.S. plaintiffs solely on affordable phrases, and if it “achieves finality of the general litigation”.

He added on the time the group was “constructively participating” in a court-ordered course of with mediator Feinberg on the circumstances heard in federal courtroom. Many of the pending circumstances, nevertheless, have been filed with U.S. state courts.

Feinberg added that any efforts by Bayer towards a complete settlement have been tied in with the mediation proceedings overseen by him. “These are all a part of the identical mediation course of.”

Bayer shares have misplaced greater than a 3rd of their worth, or roughly 30 billion euros ($34 billion), since final August when a California jury within the first such lawsuit discovered Monsanto ought to have warned of the alleged most cancers dangers from Roundup.

HIGH EXPECTATIONS

The German medicine and pesticides firm has engaged in negotiations with plaintiffs’ legal professionals, two sources accustomed to the matter instructed Reuters.

“The issue is, how do you get the plaintiffs to climb down from their very excessive expectations? Not one of the jury verdicts to this point have been favorable for Bayer,” one of many sources mentioned, including that talks have been centered on fundamental questions corresponding to how one can deal with potential future claims.

Bayer mentioned on Friday that the following U.S. glyphosate lawsuit initially scheduled to be heard in St. Louis, Missouri, this month could be postponed to Jan. 27, 2020, and {that a} following St. Louis case slated for September had additionally been postponed.

The German firm might profit from having circumstances heard within the metropolis the place Monsanto was headquartered and the place Bayer manages its world seeds enterprise. However Missouri can be identified for juries that usually hit firms with large damages.

Bloomberg mentioned the delays had been pursued by Bayer to permit for undisturbed settlement talks.

The preliminary unfavorable courtroom rulings within the first three glyphosate circumstances, heard in California, have at occasions dragged Bayer’s market worth under what it paid for Monsanto, though the shares at the moment are buying and selling above that stage.

The corporate, which says regulators and in depth analysis have discovered glyphosate to be protected, has beforehand mentioned it was banking on U.S. appeals courts to reverse or tone down three preliminary courtroom rulings which have to this point awarded tens of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} to every plaintiff.

Bloomberg cited three sources accustomed to the discussions as saying Bayer’s legal professionals have been in search of an accord to resolve all present and future circumstances. Talks over circumstances which have but to be filed have been notably difficult, the report added.

Whereas Bayer has indicated it may pay $6-$eight billion, plaintiffs’ legal professionals need greater than $10 billion to drop their claims, the report mentioned.

FILE PHOTO: The emblem of Bayer AG is pictured on the facade of the historic headquarters of the German pharmaceutical and chemical maker in Leverkusen, Germany, Could 14, 2019. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Picture

An estimate of a $20 billion hit from the litigation has beforehand been mirrored within the share value, whereas a possible litigation settlement legal responsibility was within the mid single-digit billion greenback vary, Financial institution of America analysts mentioned in observe.

They saved a “impartial” ranking on the inventory, citing uncertainty over Bayer’s fortunes within the appeals course of – with the primary appeals verdict anticipated by the top of the yr – and whether or not a settlement may very well be achieved earlier than that.

The variety of U.S. plaintiffs blaming Roundup and different glyphosate-based weedkillers for most cancers had continued to rise by 5,000 to 18,400, Bayer mentioned final week.

Further reporting by Tina Bellon; Enhancing by David Evans and David Holmes

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