Business review from the Economist

European stock exchange deal falls apart

The proposed merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Börse seemed headed for collapse. The final nail in the coffin was said to be the LSE's rejection of an ultimatum from European antitrust regulators for it to sell its stake in a bond-trading platform in Italy. The LSE reportedly rejected the demand without consulting its intended German partner. The British and German exchanges announced their intention to merge a year ago, before Britain voted to leave the E.U.

Prosecutors in South Korea charged Lee Jae-yong, the de facto head of Samsung, and four other executives with bribery and corruption following a lengthy investigation. Lee is accused of directing $38 million in bribes to an associate of the country's president in order to smooth the merger of two Samsung affiliates. He denies wrongdoing.

OneWeb, a start-up that plans to launch a constellation of small satellites that will provide internet connection to remote places, is to merge with Intelsat, one of the biggest operators of commercial satellites. The deal is backed by SoftBank, a technology group, which has invested in OneWeb.

Warren Buffett revealed that Berkshire Hathaway, his investment company, had more than doubled the number of shares it owns in Apple, giving it a stake worth around $18 billion. Apple is now one of Berkshire's biggest equity holdings.

India's economy grew by 7 percent in the last quarter of 2016 compared with the same period of 2015. That was a more robust figure than economists had expected, given the government's surprise decision in November to withdraw 86 percent of the bank notes in circulation in an effort to curb corruption and counterfeiting.

A slump in oil prices and revenue caused Nigeria's economy to shrink in 2016 for the first time in 25 years. GDP contracted by 1.5 percent as oil production tumbled. A shortage of dollars, used by many businesses to pay for imports, also contributed to the slowdown. The IMF forecasts that the economy will grow by 0.8 percent this year and 2.3 percent in 2018.

Noble Group reported a small profit of $8.7 million for last year. Noble was once Asia's biggest commodities-trading firm, until it was hit by a double whammy of plunging commodity prices and questions about its accounts.

Travis Kalanick issued a mea culpa. The chief executive of Uber admitted that "I need leadership help" after video footage emerged of him launching a verbal tirade at an Uber driver who had criticized the ride-hailing app's business model. It is another dent in Uber's image; it also faces allegations of sexual harassment from a former employee.

Snapchat priced its IPO at $17 a share, above the price range it set out in its prospectus. Demand was strong for the most eagerly awaited stock issuance by a tech firm in years.

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, said he intends to fly people around the moon by the end of next year. Two wealthy space tourists have apparently volunteered. But the Falcon Heavy rocket needed to launch the moon capsule has not yet come into operation.

Global politics from the Economist

Fillon to press on in France vote

François Fillon, the Republican candidate in France's presidential election, declared that he will continue his campaign despite being subject to an official criminal investigation over payments he made to his wife and children. Fillon said he had been unfairly singled out by magistrates and implied that the investigation was politically motivated. Francois Hollande, France's president, criticized Fillon for questioning the impartiality of the justice system.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, proposed that the European Union pull back from some activities that could be better handled locally by members, such as social policy. He also called for tighter E.U. integration on key policies such as migration, defense and trade.

The Iraqi government's assault on the remaining presence of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in west Mosul continued, with the government taking control of the city's airport and one of the bridges over the Tigris river. It also cut the last road out of west Mosul, preventing fresh supplies from reaching ISIL.

China's most senior diplomat, Yang Jiechi, met President Donald Trump in the White House. They discussed a possible meeting between Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. No date has been set, but both countries agreed that they should meet regularly.

Bangladesh softened a law intended to reduce child marriage, allowing girls younger than 18 to marry in certain circumstances, as huge numbers already do.