Deputy head of top news, Americas
Claudia's Feed
May 6, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Where was your new medicine tested?

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That’s what today’s special report by Ben Hirschler, “Big Pharma’s global guinea pigs,” is all about. If you live in the United States or Western Europe, you might be surprised to learn that most of the patients who took it in clinical trials probably lived in another part of the world altogether.

For the $850 billion-a-year pharmaceuticals industry, the globalisation of clinical trials into Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe has cut costs and opened new markets. Today, all new big drugs — whether for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis or depression — are tested in one emerging economy or other, and in many cases trials are scattered across dozens of countries.

May 5, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The spies next door to OBL

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Our special report “Why the U.S. mistrusts Pakistan’s powerful spy agency” examines in the history of the ISI, and what led President Obama to make the decision to keep his supposed allies in the dark about this week’s raid on bin Laden’s safe house.

The killing of bin Laden exposes just how dysfunctional the relationship has become. The fact that bin Laden seems to have lived for years in a town an hour’s drive from Islamabad has U.S. congressmen demanding to know why Washington is paying $1 billion a year in aid to Pakistan. Many of the hardest questions are directed at the ISI. Did it know bin Laden was there? Was it helping him? Is it rotten to the core or is it just a few sympathizers?

Apr 12, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

The big chill in U.S.-China M+A

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Today’s special report looks at U.S.-China M&A activity – or rather the lack of it. Drawing on previously unpublished State Department cables, the report examines how the failed Unocal bid and other high profile aborted transactions made it difficult for companies in China and the United States to do deals with one another.

Last year, U.S. companies in China struck dozens of small deals but they were collectively worth just $3.2 billion, while Chinese companies spent only $3 billion on U.S. acquisitions, Thomson Reuters data shows. That is a remarkably trivial amount given the two nation’s deepening economic relations: China is one of America’s top creditors and the U.S. is by far China’s largest export market. 

Apr 7, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Myspace and Facebook: the numbers tell it all

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Yinka Adegoke delves into what happened at Myspace in his special report today: “How News Corp got lost in Myspace.”

Weak technology, management in-fighting and a rival called Facebook led to the rapid decline of the once dominant social network.

Apr 1, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

When will the tipping point come for printed books?

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Mark Egan’s special report “Dumping print, NY publisher bets the ranch on apps” focuses on one man who believes the end has come for printed books.

Since 1980, Nicholas Callaway has made the finest of design-driven books, building a publishing house and his fortune on memorable children’s stories and on volumes known for the fidelity of their reproductions of great art. But the quality of paper, ink and binding mean nothing to him now.

Mar 29, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Is a 10 percent chance of disaster too high for a nuclear power station?

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Kevin Krolicki has another alarming special report from Japan today challenging the assertion that the disaster facing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was beyond expections.

The report quotes Tokyo Electric’s own researchers who did a study in 2007 on the risk of tsunamis: 

Mar 28, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Will Brazil be ready for kick off?

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Everybody knows Brazil is booming these days. But they don’t always see the dark side of that progress: some of the world’s worst traffic jams, blackouts, and trucks that sit in lines for several days at harvest time because seaports are so full.

Hoping to fix those problems, Brazil plans more than $1 trillion in infrastructure improvements in the next decade, and the scope is pretty amazing. The government wants a bullet train between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo; a huge new hydroelectric dam in the Amazon; and a railroad criss-crossing Brazil’s northeast, a region that is a bit like the American Deep South in that it has historically lagged behind the rest of the country in investment.

Mar 25, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Fiat move to the United States? Sacrilege

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Today’s special report, “Can an Italian Elvis make Fiat- Chrysler dance?” is stirring up a storm in Italy, where the suggestion that one of the country’s most hallowed institutions might up sticks and move to America is a big deal.

Here’s the critical part of the report:

This year, Marchionne had to rush to meet Berlusconi and Italian cabinet members to reassure them Fiat would “keep its heart” in Italy. In February he’d stirred up a ruckus among Italian politicians by flagging the possibility that Fiat might escape Italy’s died-in-the-wool unions and move the merged company’s headquarters to the United States within two years.

Mar 21, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

All Japan, all the time

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Two more special reports from Japan today: first up, a look at how globalization has made companies around the world vulnerable to a shock like the earthquake. ”Disasters show flaws in just-in-time production.”

The PDF version, here, has a nice graphic showing the location of Japan’s ports, some of which have been hard hit by the disaster.

Mar 17, 2011
via Reuters Investigates

Hedge fund investors flex their muscles

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By Emily Chasan

Bernie Madoff, didn’t technically run a hedge fund, but his effects on the industry are still being felt today. 

Hedge fund investors learned the hard way that they wanted to invest in hedge funds with a more institutional feel, and pushed successfully over the past few years for reforms to hedge fund redemption policies, transparency, use of outside fund administrators and even lower fee structures.