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Monday Morning Briefing
December 4, 2017 / 12:11 PM / in 8 days

Monday Morning Briefing

Trump’s tweets prompt concerns among U.S. lawmakers, CVS Health proposes to buy Aetna and reports of an Irish border deal come as Britain’s May heads to Brussels.

U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he boards Air Force One at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, before his departure back to Washington, U.S., December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

United States

A series of tweets by President Donald Trump about the investigation into contacts between his 2016 campaign and Russia prompted concerns among both Democratic and Republican lawmakers, with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham saying Trump could be wading into “peril” by commenting on the probe.

The United States and South Korea went ahead with large-scale joint aerial drills, a move North Korea had said would push the Korean peninsula to “the brink of nuclear war”, ignoring calls from Russia and China to call them off.

Former NBC television host Billy Bush accused Trump of “indulging in some revisionist history” for reportedly telling allies it was not his voice making lewd remarks as the men waited to film a segment for “Access Hollywood” in 2005

 Business

U.S. drugstore chain operator CVS Health said it had agreed to acquire U.S. health insurer Aetna for $69 billion, seeking to tackle soaring healthcare spending through lower-cost medical services in pharmacies. 

Breakingviews - CVS deal reveals high cost of Amazon defense 

The dollar jumped versus the currencies of other developed and emerging nations while Treasury yields rose and Wall Street was primed for a another record-setting day after the U.S. Senate voted to approve a wide-ranging tax overhaul.

Dialog Semiconductor said top customer Apple could design its own power-management chips rather than rely on the Anglo-German chipmaker but said it saw no impact on its business next year.

Australian casino operator Crown Resorts was slapped with a class action lawsuit for allegedly failing to inform shareholders of a marketing campaign in China that resulted in staff arrests and a slump in the share price.

British budget airline easyJet is set to win unconditional EU antitrust approval to buy parts of failed German peer Air Berlin, people familiar with the matter said.

Ride-hailing app Uber said it was joining a global public transport association to improve mobility in the cities it operates in.

Chipmaker Broadcom will take its first formal step toward a hostile bid to take over Qualcomm, unveiling nominees whom Qualcomm shareholders can vote on to replace the U.S. semiconductor company’s board of directors, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Energy

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gained more powers over the OPEC member’s oil contracts, as a deepening purge looks set to strengthen the leftist leader’s control of the key energy sector amid a debilitating recession.

Global miner Rio Tinto signaled it will stick with its “value over volume” strategy, outlining further moves to boost shareholder returns and appointing a new chairman from within its board. 

Exxon Mobil is considering a foray into Egypt offshore oil and gas, seeking to replicate rivals’ success in the country and boost its reserves, officials and industry sources said.

Reuters TV: Coal crackdown leaves parts of China shivering  

Fintech

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro looked to the world of digital currency to circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions, announcing the launch of the “petro” backed by oil reserves to shore up a collapsed economy.

Britain wants to increase regulation of Bitcoin and other digital currencies by expanding the reach of European Union anti-money-laundering rules that force traders to disclose their identities and report suspicious activity.

Brides-to-be participate in the "Running of the Brides" race, in Bangkok, Thailand, December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

Brides-to-be participate in the "Running of the Brides" race, in Bangkok, Thailand, December 2, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

World

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis arrived in Islamabad to ask Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership to do more to rein in militants accused of using the country as a base to carry out attacks in neighboring Afghanistan.

Saudi-led coalition warplanes struck at Houthi militia positions in Yemen’s capital Sanaa for a second day in support of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a former Houthi ally who has now renounced his alliance with the Iranian-backed group.

Fighters from Yemen’s armed Houthi movement blew up house the house of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the center of the capital Sanaa, residents reported, as his whereabouts remain unknown.

The Philippines ordered a probe into the immunization of more than 730,000 children with a vaccine for dengue that has been suspended following an announcement by French drug company Sanofi that it could worsen the disease in some cases.

Europe

European Council President Donald Tusk canceled a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories planned for this week due to a “critical moment” in Brexit negotiations, an EU official said.

British negotiators were locked in last-minute talks with their European Union and Irish counterparts, trying to put together a Brexit deal that Prime Minister Theresa May might agree over lunch in Brussels.

Lawmakers of Germany’s Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, have nominated rightwinger Markus Soeder as candidate for state premier in a regional election.

Former Catalonian vice-president Oriol Junqueras, former cabinet member Joaquim Forn and two leaders of civic groups ANC and Omnium Cultural, faced with charges of sedition, have been refused bail, Spain’s Supreme Court.

Commentary

Can the U.S.-U.K. special relationship survive Donald Trump's retweets of anti-Muslim videos, asks columnist John Lloyd. "Probably," he says. "In the short term, however, the relationship will tremble." And if any good did come of the the episode, "it is that it has, for at least a day, brought the fractured and fractious British politics together behind Prime Minister May."

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