While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Oct 20

US Justice Department hits Google with biggest antitrust lawsuit in two decades

The United States Justice Department and 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the law in using its market power to fend off rivals, and called for action.

The lawsuit marks the biggest antitrust case in a generation, comparable to the lawsuit against Microsoft Corp filed in 1998 and the 1974 case against AT&T which led to the breakup of the Bell System.

The lawsuit claims that Google acted unlawfully to maintain its position in search and search advertising on the Internet.

It states that “absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anti-competitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation.


Johnson imposes tighter Covid-19 restrictions on Manchester

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday he would impose tougher lockdown restrictions on the Greater Manchester region in northern England despite failing to reach a deal on funding support with local leaders.

Britain – the worst-hit European nation during the Covid-19 pandemic with nearly 44,000 related deaths – is now seeing a second wave of the virus, recording 21,331 new cases and 241 deaths on Tuesday.

Johnson is resisting pressure for a second national lockdown, fearful of the disastrous economic effects, and instead pursuing a localised strategy of imposing three tiers of increasingly stringent restrictions in virus hotspots in England.


Sinovac vaccine to be included in Brazil’s immunisation programme

The Brazilian government will include China’s Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19 in its national immunisation programme, state governors said on Tuesday after a meeting with the country’s health minister, in addition to one developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

This means the experimental Chinese vaccine called CoronaVac, which Brazil’s largest state of Sao Paulo had hoped to provide to its residents, may also be used to vaccinate Brazilians elsewhere.

The move is a major success for Sinovac in a nation of 230 million people.


US Senate to vote Monday on Barrett’s nomination to Supreme Court

The US Senate will vote on Monday (Oct 26), eight days ahead of the presidential election, to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, the Senate Majority Leader said Tuesday.

“We’ll be voting to confirm justice-to-be Barrett next Monday,” Republican Senator Mitch McConnell said at a press conference.

“I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women who believe in the quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law,” McConnell said.


South Korea’s pop culture machine boosts Netflix’s international growth

A zombie drama, a TV series about a supernatural nurse and one about an antisocial children’s book author helped turn South Korea into one of Netflix’s biggest source of growth in the international markets, a source familiar with the matter said.

Netflix said nearly half of its new paid customers outside of America came from the Asia Pacific region, primarily Japan and South Korea.

The source cited data that could be disclosed later this week when a Netflix representative is expected to appear for South Korea’s annual parliamentary audit during which the company’s investment is likely to come up.


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