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A Panama Canal worker docks the Chinese container ship Cosco. Photo: Arnulfo Franco/AP

Beijing's construction ambitions in Latin America, a region that American leaders have seen as off-limits to other powers since the 19th century, is stirring alarm in Washington, the AP reports from Panama City.

The big picture: China's focus in Central America includes Panama, where the canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans makes it one of the world's busiest trade arteries, and strategically important both to Washington and Beijing.

The other side: China has launched a charm offensive, wooing Panamanian politicians, professionals and journalists. China is the canal's second-biggest user after the U.S.

Why it matters: The U.S., Japan, Russia and India fret that Beijing's Belt and Road building initiative is yielding economic and strategic influence at their expense.

Go deeper: Competitors worry that China is using Belt and Road for political gain

Go deeper

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11, 2021, in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Updated 60 mins ago - Health

This arthritis drug cost $198 in 2008. Now it's more than $10,000

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In 2008, a box of 30 anti-inflammatory rectal suppositories that treats arthritis, called Indocin, had a price tag of $198. As of Oct. 1, the price of that same box was 52 times higher, totaling $10,350.

Why it matters: As federal lawmakers continue to waver on drug price reforms, Indocin is another example of how nothing prevents drug companies from hiking prices at will and selling them within a broken supply chain.

Fintech's record year

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Massive venture rounds into fintech companies have ballooned this year, pushing up total dollars invested — in just the first three quarters of 2021 — to nearly double the amount in all of 2020, per new PitchBook data.

Why it matters: The maturing of fintech startups means a growing number of companies are able to raise huge later-stage funding rounds as investors look to lock-in their bets.