December 4, 2018 / 1:10 PM / 3 months ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

Mourners line up to honor former President George H. W. Bush, U.S. investment firms rake in returns on clean coal tax credits and Macron makes U-turn on fuel-tax increases in face of ‘yellow vest’ protests. Catch up on the latest headlines.

United States

The historic and ornate U.S. Capitol Rotunda was hosting mourners paying respects to the 41st U.S. president, George H.W. Bush, who died last week at the age of 94 and will be buried on Thursday in his home state of Texas. The public was given 36 hours to file past the elder Bush’s flag-draped coffin. Early on Wednesday, it will be transported to the Washington National Cathedral for a memorial service.

Central American migrants stuck on the threshold of the United States in Mexico breached the border fence, risking almost certain detention by U.S. authorities but hoping the illegal entry will allow them to apply for asylum. Frustrated and exhausted after weeks of uncertainty, many of the migrants have become desperate since getting stuck in squalid camps in the Mexican border city of Tijuana.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office will make a sentencing recommendation for former national security adviser Michael Flynn, in a court filing that is expected to shed light on the extent of Flynn’s cooperation in the Russia probe.

Special Report

If the U.S. extends ‘clean coal’ subsidies, an eclectic list of refined coal investors that includes pork producers as well as Wall Street behemoths like Goldman Sachs stands to gain $10 billion in tax incentives over the next decade.

World

A protester wearing a yellow vest, the symbol of a French drivers' protest against higher diesel fuel prices, sits under a flag near burning debris at the approach to the A2 Paris-Brussels Motorway, in Fontaine-Notre-Dame, France, December 4, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

France’s prime minister suspended planned increases to fuel taxes for six months in response to weeks of sometimes violent protests, the first major U-turn by President Emmanuel Macron’s administration after 18 months in office.

The European Union’s top legal adviser said Britain had the right to withdraw its Brexit notice, opening a new front in a battle over Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the EU, which could be rejected in parliament next week. On top of the risk that Britain will leave the EU in March without a transition deal, its government faces an extra headache next year: the biggest debt-refinancing bill in recent history. The City of London’s policy chief said mismanagement of Brexit has made Britain the new “hot heads” of Europe.

Myanmar’s Minister for Religion said Rohingya Muslim refugees living in neighboring Bangladesh are being “brainwashed” into “marching” on the Buddhist-majority nation, amid a diplomatic feud over the fate of the persecuted minority. Two Reuters journalists have been imprisoned in Myanmar for 324 days. Read the latest updates.

Commentary: For G20 leaders, greater problems yet to come

The broadly positive headlines from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires are only half the picture, writes Reuters global affairs columnist Peter Apps. "After a year that has seen almost every key international relationship deteriorate, the Argentina meeting could have gone much worse. But almost every leader there has returned to major domestic headwinds. When the next G20 meeting rolls around in Japan in June, successful multilateral diplomacy may yet be harder still."

Fintech

Armed with low-cost operating models, three South African digital banks are betting on aggressive pricing and data analytics to attract tech-savvy, price-conscious consumers when they launch next year in a rare challenge to the old guard.

Banks Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Standard Chartered have partnered to develop a blockchain-based platform for small syndicated loans, both companies said in a statement. This platform is the first to go live in Latin America for so-called club loans, a kind of syndicated loan with a smaller group of lenders. Catch up on the Future of Money.

Charged: The future of cars

Key U.S. senators are making a last-ditch effort to win approval of a bill to speed the use of self-driving cars without human controls, but face an uphill battle on Capitol Hill.

Volkswagen’s premium auto brand Audi said it would invest 14 billion euros ($15.9 billion) through 2023 in electric mobility, digitalization and autonomous driving.

Uber confirmed it hired a senior U.S. auto safety official involved in the federal government’s handling of self-driving cars for its autonomous vehicle efforts. Follow Reuters roadmap to the changing auto economy.

Reuters TV

Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan are scrambling to pass last-minute legislation to limit the powers of incoming Democratic officials and advance other priorities after losing their complete control of state governments in last month’s elections.

Wisconsin lawmakers move to curb Democrats' power
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