GOOGLE+ TO SHUT DOWN FOLLOWING DATA BREACH
Google announced in October that it would be shutting down its social media platform Google+ after discovering a security flaw that exposed the private profile data of some 500,000 users since 2015. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google found the bug in March but elected not to disclose it in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny. Google+ debuted in 2011 as an alternative to Facebook, but never gained much traction with consumers--indeed, in announcing the shutdown, Google said that the service had low usage and engagement, with 90% of user sessions lasting less than five seconds. Google+ will be phased out for consumers over a 10-month period, but will still be available for certain commercial applications. Earlier this year, Google faced additional criticism about its privacy practices when another Wall Street Journal report revealed how easy it was for third-party app developers to scan and share data from users' Gmail messages.
INDONESIAN EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI KILL 2,000
On Sept. 28, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake and subsequent tsunami devastated the Indonesian province of Central Sulawesi. More than 2,000 people were killed in the disasters, primarily in the city of Palu, while as many as 5,000 were still missing two weeks later. The tsunami also triggered mudslides that engulfed neighborhoods and villages and destroyed more than 70,000 homes, forcing thousands of survivors to live in tents and makeshift shelters awaiting aid. Total economic damages are expected to reach up to $1 billion. According to reports, the death toll may have been exacerbated by the fact that a project designed to update the region's tsunami early-warning system had stalled due to bureaucratic delays and inadequate funding. This was the most severe earthquake to strike Indonesia in an active 2018. In early August, a magnitude 6.9 quake struck the island of Lombok, destroying thousands of houses and buildings, including 80% of the structures in certain areas, and killing almost 600 people.
COURT NIXES $4.3 BILLION DRUG COMPANY MERGER
A Delaware court ruled in October that German pharmaceutical company Fresenius could walk away from a $4.3 billion deal to purchase American generic drug manufacturer Akorn. The parties had initially agreed to the merger in April 2017, but Fresenius decided to pull out after Akorn's financial performance took a significant downturn and serious compliance and quality control problems came...