December 4, 2017 nº 1,927 - Vol. 14

"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther."

Woody Allen

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  • Top News

Trump victory as Senate backs tax overhaul

US senators have passed a sweeping tax cuts bill, paving the way for Donald Trump's first big legislative victory. The package would mark the biggest tax overhaul since the 1980s. It was passed by 51 votes to 49, after a series of amendments in a marathon session. Democrats complained it only benefited the wealthy and big business. The plan sees a sharp cut in corporation tax, but a Senate committee finding has warned it would add $1tn to the budget deficit. Trump wants the measures enacted by the end of the year and he congratulated Republicans for taking the US "one step closer to delivering massive tax cuts for working families". The Senate will now have to merge its legislation with that passed last month by the House of Representatives, before it can be signed into law by the president. The bill is projected to add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over 10 years. The Joint Committee on Taxation reported Thursday that the economic stimulus from the bill would only make up $400 billion of that. (Click here)

What has to happen for the Senate tax bill to become law

The passage of the $1.4 trillion legislation by the Senate early Saturday moved Republicans one step closer to getting the bill done before the end of the year. The tax bill must now be reconciled with one passed by the House before it can go to Trump for his signature. The norma way this occurs is each House will name members to the conference committee, which will then meet and negotiate aspects of the final bill. There are some big differences between the one the Senate passed on Saturday and what the House passed in mid-November. For one thing, the Affordable Care Act mandate that requires everyone to buy health insurance - the House version ignores it. The Senate one cancels the mandate out.

US regulator approves Bitcoin trading

Bitcoin has taken another step toward the financial mainstream, after a US regulator said it would let two traditional exchanges begin trading in Bitcoin-related financial contracts. CME Group and CBOE Global Markets exchanges will offer investors Bitcoin futures from later this month. The move sent the crypto-currency's price up, continuing its volatile week. Bitcoin hit a record above $11,400 on Wednesday, but then lost 20% of its value in the following 24 hours. What's behind the Bitcoin gold rush? The announcement from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that it will allow the futures to be traded was seen as a watershed moment for the currency. It means that investors will be able to buy and sell "future" contracts in Bitcoins - an agreement to buy the crypto-currency, for example, in three months time at a certain price. CME Group said trading would be available on its CME Globex electronic trading platform from 18 December. (Click here)

  • Crumbs

1 - Britain without a judge on the International Court of Justice for first time. (Click here)

2 - Facebook and Google targeted in Australian media probe. (Click here)


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  • MiMIC Journal

Trump's first major trade fight with China could be over solar panels

United States officials will soon decide whether to broaden tariffs on solar panels in a way that could spur Beijing to retaliate against American-made goods.

Rights group warns of China's new 'Police Cloud'

Chinese police are developing a computer-based policing program that can study large amounts of citizens' personal information. The program examines the information to discover patterns in human behavior. Human Rights Watch says the police plan to use this information to closely watch rights activists, political opponents and ethnic minority groups. The rights group called on the Chinese Communist Party to stop this "abusive" system, called the Police Cloud.


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  • Brief News

Trump lashes out at FBI over Russia probe

In a Twitter tirade, the president issues a fresh denial that he tried to obstruct an FBI investigation. His attack came amid a flurry of developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into alleged Russian interference in the US election. Trump denies that his team colluded with Russia to get him elected.

CVS to buy Aetna for $69 billion in a deal that may reshape the health industry

The deal would combine CVS's pharmacy and clinic business with a giant insurance company. The combination could lead to lower prices — or fewer choices — for consumers. (Click here)

US 'in race to address N Korea threat'

National security adviser HR McMaster says North Korea is the "greatest immediate threat to the US".

Wells Fargo faces new enforcement actions

Potential new enforcement actions against Wells Fargo are likely after federal regulators found new evidence of impropriety in the banks’ auto insurance and mortgage operations.

Far-right meeting sparks Germany protests

Several people have been hurt in clashes between police and anti-fascist demonstrators in the city of Hannover. Protesters were trying to blockade the far-right Alternative for Germany's first conference since it entered parliament after September's elections. Once the delayed conference began, delegates elected Alexander Gauland as co-leader along with Jörg Meuthen. Both hardliners, their election suggests the party is continuing its march further to the right.

War criminal 'took cyanide' in Hague court

Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak died after taking potassium cyanide in The Hague's courtroom, Dutch prosecutors say, citing the results of a preliminary post mortem examination. "This has resulted in a failure of the heart, which is indicated as the suspected cause of death," they said. Praljak drank from a vial after his 20-year term for war crimes in Bosnia in the 1990s had been upheld on Wednesday. Dutch authorities are investigating how he smuggled poison into the court.

Turkey seizes assets of trader in US trial

Turkish prosecutors have ordered the seizure of assets of a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who is testifying in a US trial of a banker accused of violating US sanctions against Iran. Witness Reza Zarrab earlier told a New York court that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had approved his and the defendant's sanctions-breaking deals. Erdogan has denied that Turkey breached US sanctions on Iran. The case has strained relations between Ankara and Washington.

Major fishing nations agree Arctic moratorium

The world's major fishing nations have agreed a moratorium on commercial fishing in the Arctic Ocean, before it has even become established. Much of the Arctic was once permanently frozen but global warming means its waters are becoming more accessible. The deal is expected to last for 16 years while research is carried out into the existing marine ecosystem. The moratorium was agreed by Canada, Russia, China, the US, the EU, Japan, Iceland, Denmark and South Korea. It covers an area of about 2.8m sq km (1m sq miles) - roughly the size of the Mediterranean Sea. No commercial fisheries exist in Arctic waters yet.

Trump administration delays decision on race, ethnicity data for census

The White House was expected to announce Friday its decision on Obama-era proposals to change how the government collects race and ethnicity information. The delay could impact the 2020 census.

The 92-year-old woman who is still shaking up Wall Street

Most people measure patience in hours, weeks or months. Tamar Frankel measures it in decades. Frankel, a law professor at Boston University, is the intellectual godmother of the fiduciary rule, a regulation from the US Department of Labor requiring anyone being paid to provide investment advice on a retirement account to act in the best interest of the client. At the age of 92, Frankel still commutes to work five days a week, teaches two courses—and is unfazed that the Labor Department announced on Nov. 27 that it would delay implementing key parts of the fiduciary rule until July 2019. After all, Frankel has been advocating that brokers should put their clients first for more than 40 years. What’s another 18 months?

  • Weekly Magazine Review

The New American Way of War

Trump Wants ABC Sued Over Botched Russia Story

Business Week
The Bloomberg 50

The Economist
Yemen's misery: The war the world ignores

Der Spiegel
Verlierer an die Macht (die Palaeo-Koalition)

La nuova Yalta


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