Category: Finance

The Supreme Court will decide: Can Big Chocolate be blamed for child slavery?

The rocky and tense transition of presidential power isn’t the only Washington drama with global implications these days. On Tuesday, another years-in-the-making conflict will play out at the Supreme Court, when the nine justices finally consider whether Nestlé and Cargill are responsible for the use of child slavery on cocoa farms in West Africa.

The case could potentially deliver a huge blow to the companies’ public images, in the face of mounting concerns over how chocolate is produced.

No one disputes how bad conditions are on those farms, and the Supreme Court briefs filed by the cocoa workers’ lawyers make for chilling reading—a tale about horrific abuse of children, for the benefit of global commerce. But the question before the Supreme Court is: Are chocolate companies to blame for that?

The case against Nestlé—the world’s biggest food producer—and Cargill, one of the biggest privately traded U.S. companies by revenue, has … Read More

For AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine, less may be more more—and that’s puzzling researchers

The dose of AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccine that showed the highest level of effectiveness was tested in a younger population than a bigger dose that showed less efficacy, according to the head of the U.S. Operation Warp Speed program.

The vaccine being developed with Oxford University was 90% effective when a half-dose was given before a full-dose booster, the partners said on Monday. However, that regime was administered to participants in a group whose age was capped at 55, Warp Speed’s Moncef Slaoui said Tuesday in a phone call with reporters.

Researchers have been puzzling about the AstraZeneca report since it was released, wondering why a smaller dose of the vaccine might have appeared to be more effective than a larger one. Most of the people in the trial received a placebo or the regimen of two full doses, which was 62% effective. That group included people who were older … Read More

Boeing shares pop as European regulators prepare for the ungrounding of the 737 Max

Boeing’s share price rose more than 4% in pre-market trading after European aviation regulators signaled an imminent return to the skies for the currently-grounded 737 Max.

On Tuesday morning the EU Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) published its draft approval for an end to the aircraft’s forced hiatus, which has lasted nearly two years—the 737 Max was grounded worldwide in 2019 following a pair of crashes that killed hundreds of people.

The move is now subject to a 28-day consultation period, meaning the plane could be formally ungrounded in mid-January. However, EASA first wants changes made to the aircraft that are mostly in line with those demanded last week by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA also cleared the Boeing aircraft for service, leaving China’s aviation authority as the big hold-out on that front.

“Objective and independent”

“EASA made clear from the outset that we would conduct our own … Read More

Stocks and futures jump on AstraZeneca’s vaccine breakthrough. Here are the big winners

This is the web version of the Bull Sheet, Fortune’s no-BS daily newsletter on the markets. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.

Good morning. It’s a Monday, which means a fresh batch of COVID vaccine news jolting the markets. This time it comes from team Britain—AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Their latest trials show impressive results, or so the markets believe. Stocks in Asia and Europe are up, and U.S. futures are in the green.

The vaccine can’t come soon enough. The U.S. COVID numbers are frightening (but that’s hardly stopping travelers from getting onto planes to see grandma).

Let’s check in on the action.

Markets update

Asia

  • The major Asia indexes are mixed in afternoon trading with Japan’s Nikkei down 0.4% and the Shanghai Composite up 1.1%.
  • The Trump Administration has drawn up a list of 89 companies, mostly in aerospace, that would
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Corporate whistleblowers can now collect more reward money

New rules mean corporate whistleblowers can get even more money as a reward from the Securities and Exchange Commission, potentially millions more—and get it faster.

While the very biggest rewards could be reduced under the new rules, they can still be staggering. In October, just weeks after adopting the new rules, the SEC awarded an anonymous whistleblower $114 million—by far the biggest award in the whistleblower program’s eight-year existence. Telling the government about corporate malfeasance can still make you rich, and some people think that’s a problem.

The Dodd-Frank law established the program, which can pay whistleblowers 10% to 30% of the amounts the SEC collects from actions it takes based on “original information” supplied by an individual. SEC fines can be huge, and so can the awards. In June, the SEC paid its then-biggest award ever, $50 million, to an individual who reported the overcharging of clients for … Read More

Stimulus check: Saturday November 21 is the final deadline to submit your information to the IRS for stimulus checks, payments

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