Business review from the Economist

Zuckerberg adopts nationalist tone

Mark Zuckerberg was grilled in Congress about Libra, a global digital currency that Facebook hopes to launch next year but which faces mounting regulatory hurdles, causing some of its biggest backers to walk away. Zuckerberg argued that Libra will advance financial innovation, and extend America's "democratic values." But with Democrats calling for the break up of big tech companies, Facebook has spent the most of any firm this year on lobbying Capitol Hill, just ahead of Amazon.

SoftBank proposed a rescue deal for WeWork, an office-rental startup that delayed its IPO amid investor concerns about its true worth. The offer from the Japanese tech conglomerate increases its stake and values WeWork at around $8 billion, far below an estimate of $47 billion earlier this year. Adam Neumann, WeWork's boss, who has been blamed for the reversal of fortunes, could gain as much as $1.7 billion from the deal.

Four U.S. state attorneys general outlined a $48 billion proposal to settle thousands of claims against five companies involved in the opioid crisis and urged fellow litigants to accept the deal. As part of the agreement two drugmakers and three drug distributors would pay $22 billion in cash and $26 billion in kind for treating opioid addiction over the next decade.

Biogen's share price soared by 25% when it reversed course and said it would now seek regulatory approval for a new treatment for Alzheimer's disease that it had stopped testing. The biotech company said the results from a wider analysis of tests showed that patients "experienced significant benefits."

China's economy expanded by 6% in the third quarter compared with the same three months in 2018, the slowest rate of growth in 30 years.

A lawsuit brought by New York state's attorney general claiming that ExxonMobil engaged in dodgy climate-change accounting opened in court.

Saudi Aramco was said to have delayed the launch of its long-awaited IPO because of unfavorable market conditions and lower expectations among investors of its stock market value. Its third quarter earnings may shed more light.

An annual survey of global wealth from Credit Suisse found that the bottom half of adults account for less than 1% of total wealth, while the top 1% own 45%. However, that figure has dipped a bit from 2000. The report suggests that global wealth inequality may have peaked in 2016.

Tesla delighted investors with a positive quarterly earnings report. It is on track to launch its Model Y sport-utility vehicle next year, it has tested production at its new factory in Shanghai, and it actually turned a net profit, of $143 million. The electric-car maker racked up $1.1 billion in losses in the first six months of the year.

Boeing's profits tumbled in the third quarter, and revenue was down by a fifth, as it continued to grapple with the worldwide grounding of its 737 Max jetliner after two crashes.

Global Politics from the Economist

Trudeau wins, but party suffers setback

Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, won a second term in office but his Liberal Party lost its majority. The Conservative Party won the popular vote and wiped out the Liberals in the oil-producing western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. To enact his program, Trudeau will depend on support from smaller parties, especially the left-leaning New Democrats.

Protests against a fare increase on the metro in Santiago, Chile's capital, became violent, prompting the government to impose its first curfew since the end of a military dictatorship in 1990. The unrest spread to other cities. At least 18 people died in rioting.

Boris Johnson secured a new Brexit withdrawal deal with the European Union, but was compelled to request a further extension past Oct. 31.

Russia and Turkey struck a deal over northern Syria. Turkey has invaded the region in an effort to push out the Kurds after the United States, which had backed them, withdrew. Russian and Syrian forces will now ensure that the Kurds pull back about 19 miles from the border. Russian and Turkish forces will then patrol the Syrian side.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Guinea as President Alpha Condé considered scrapping the constitution.

Russia hosted dozens of African leaders at a summit in Sochi, as part of an effort by President Vladimir Putin to exert more influence on the continent.