December 18, 2017 / 12:40 PM / a year ago

Monday Morning Briefing

Trump is set to declare that China and Russia are competitors seeking to challenge U.S. power, bitcoin futures receive a lukewarm reception at it’s launch on the CME exchange and Hershey is to buy SkinnyPop popcorn maker Amplify Snack Brands.

Photographers take pictures as the Soyuz MS-07 spacecraft carrying the crew of Norishige Kanai of Japan, Anton Shkaplerov of Russia and Scott Tingle of the U.S. blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

United States

Financial advisers and accountants are working overtime as many U.S. taxpayers scramble to pay the rest of their 2017 taxes before Jan. 1 when the proposed Republican tax overhaul would sharply cut the amount they can deduct on federal tax bills.

Top U.S. Republicans said they expected Congress to pass a tax code overhaul this week, with a Senate vote as early as Tuesday and President Donald Trump aiming to sign the bill by week’s end.

In the lead-up to the conference agreement for the U.S. Tax Cut & Jobs Act released on Friday, there were too many moving parts for most Americans to know how it would affect them. Until the bill is voted into law, the various provisions are still a moving target, but taxpayers now have a better sense of the real math of what it means to them. Here is an update on what some of the key issues would mean to your wallet.

Trump will declare that China and Russia are competitors seeking to challenge U.S. power and erode its security and prosperity, in a national security strategy he will lay out in a speech.

Breakingviews: Trump’s China diagnosis falls short of a remedy

One of the heaviest travel weeks of the year began with the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights on Sunday at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta, where a power outage that lasted nearly 11 hours left passengers stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

Lighter winds expected in California early next week should help firefighters in their battle against one of the largest and most destructive wildfires in the state’s history, the National Weather Service has said.


Global stock markets hit record highs on expectations that a U.S. tax bill could soon pass, though a more cautious reading of the draft law’s prospects among currency traders put the dollar under pressure.

Bitcoin futures received a lukewarm reception at its launch on the CME Group on Sunday, although market experts believe a recent rally in the cryptocurrency has further to go.

Hershey Co said it would buy SkinnyPop popcorn maker Amplify Snack Brands in a deal valued at $1.6 billion, including debt, to bolster its healthy snacks unit.

Chipmaker Gemalto, which is being taken over by aerospace and defence group Thales will stick to a plan to cut 288 jobs in the struggling chip card business in France, its chief executive said.

Thai Beverage, through a local unit, won the rights to buy a majority stake worth $4.84 billion in Vietnam’s top brewer Sabeco in an auction that marked the country’s biggest ever privatization process.

Workers at Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries protested pending job cuts for a second straight day, blocking roads and shutting down a number of the drugmaker’s plants nationwide.

EU state aid regulators will investigate whether Swedish furniture retailer Ikea’s tax arrangement with Dutch tax authorities helped cut its tax bill, the latest crackdown on unfair tax deals between multinationals and EU countries.

The French government has filed a complaint with the Paris Commerce Court against Amazon for abusing its dominant position with some suppliers, newspaper Le Parsien said.

Reuters TV: Grocery stores use curbside pick-ups to battle Amazon


Toyota said it would market more than 10 all-electric vehicle models globally in the early 2020s, a target which could require the firm to look beyond a partnership with Panasonic to co-develop and supply batteries.

Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler will recall 10,355 Jeep Grand Cherokee sports utility vehicles sold in Russia to verify if their brake-booster shields were installed properly, Russia’s standards agency said.

U.S. EV battery company Solid Power said it had partnered with Germany’s BMW AG to develop the next-generation solid-state battery technology for use in electric vehicles.

A man dressed as Santa Claus takes part in the traditional Christmas season swim in Nice, France, December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


The fight for the leadership of South Africa’s ruling ANC drew to a close, with markets on edge for a result that will set the direction for the scandal-plagued party and the country.

Myanmar’s civilian President Htin Kyaw, a close ally of government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has authorized the police to proceed with a case against two detained Reuters reporters accused of violating the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act, a senior government spokesman said.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a U.S. tip-off about a planned attack in St Petersburg had helped save many lives and that Russia and the United States should try to cooperate in the same way in future.

The last time the anti-immigration Freedom Party entered government in Austria, the street protests were so big the cabinet took a tunnel from the chancellery to the swearing-in ceremony at the president’s office across the road. There were no such inhibitions, almost 18 years on and to a significantly more muted reaction, the country once again became the only one in western Europe with a far-right party in its ruling coalition.

British Prime Minister Theresa May will pitch her plan for a Brexit transition period with unchanged access to European Union markets when she briefs MPs about her latest negotiating trip to Brussels.


In an increasingly secular Europe, far-right parties are stressing Christian roots and symbols, writes John Lloyd. These groups form what sociologist Rogers Brubaker calls "civilizationism," a warrrior ideology that pits a pan-European civilizational identity against another civilizational identity -- Islam. "Brubaker barely mentions Donald Trump, but the sociologist’s civilizational taxonomy describes many of the positions the president has taken up – sometimes to the disapproval of the Republican leadership," says Lloyd. 

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