December 15, 2017 / 11:57 AM / 2 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

The FCC rescinds U.S. net neutrality rules, more senators are wavering as the Republican tax vote nears and a shake up at Airbus ends weeks of succession speculation.

Net neutrality rules

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape. The new rules give internet service providers sweeping powers to change how consumers access the internet but must have new transparency requirements that will require them to disclose any changes to consumers. 

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and at least two other state law enforcement chiefs said they would lead a multi-state legal challenge to the vote.  

Democrats are hoping to paint the repeal as evidence Republicans are uninterested in young people and consumer concerns at large, a move they hope will send millennials to the polls in greater numbers and bolster their chances in next year’s elections

United States

President Donald Trump’s drive to win passage of a sweeping Republican tax bill in the U.S. Congress hit potential obstacles as two more Republican senators insisted on changes, joining a list of lawmakers whose support is uncertain.  

How bad will the Republican tax plan be for New York City? Listen to the Breakingviews podcast.  

A firefighter was killed while battling a mammoth California wildfire as crews sought to protect coastal cities and towns in the path of flames that have destroyed more than 700 homes. 

Reuters TV: As Islamic State fades abroad, DIY attacks are on the rise in the United States  

Business

World shares fell and the dollar slipped against major and heavyweight emerging market currencies, as nagging uncertainty about a U.S. tax cuts package dovetailed with broad-based end-of-year caution.  

Airbus confirmed the departure of planemaking chief Fabrice Bregier as part of a series of board moves to clear the air over succession plans following weeks of speculation surrounding Europe’s largest aerospace firm. 

China’s central bank nudged up money market rates as authorities sought to defuse financial risks without imperilling the economy, a balancing act that they have managed successfully so far this year as activity remained broadly steady.  

Silicon Valley investor Shervin Pishevar, known for his early bet on Uber, said that he would sever ties with his venture capital company, Sherpa Capital, after being accused of sexual misconduct.  

Oil prices moved up, lifted by the Forties pipeline outage in the North Sea and ongoing OPEC-led production cuts, although rising output from the United States kept a lid on markets. 

Monkeys hug amid snow at Huaguo mountain in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer

Disney

Walt Disney has struck a deal to buy film, television and international businesses from Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox for $52.4 billion in stock, giving the world’s largest entertainment company an arsenal of shows and movies to combat growing digital rivals Netflix and Amazon. 

Walt Disney is poised to add foul-mouthed superhero Deadpool and gory TV series “American Horror Story” to its portfolio, a novel move for the king of family-friendly entertainment into the adult-oriented programming consumers are devouring on streaming video. 

Rupert Murdoch is banking on Americans’ love of live sports and breaking news for a new, slimmed down version of his Fox TV business.  

World

The arrest of two Reuters journalists in Yangon this week was a signal that press freedom is shrinking in Myanmar and the international community must do all it can to get them released, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

A Russian court sentenced ex-economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev to eight years in prison after finding him guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Igor Sechin, the CEO of oil giant Rosneft.  

The United States presented for the first time pieces of what it said were Iranian weapons supplied to the Iran-aligned Houthi militia in Yemen, describing it as conclusive evidence that Tehran was violating U.N. resolutions.  

Cyber

Computers at Transneft have been used for the unauthorized manufacture, or “mining”, of the cryptocurrency Monero, a vice-president of the Russian pipeline operator said.  

Hackers likely working for a nation-state recently invaded the safety system of a critical infrastructure facility in a watershed attack that halted plant operations, according to cyber investigators and the firm whose software was targeted. FireEye disclosed the incident, saying it targeted Triconex industrial safety technology from Schneider Electric. 

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