November 16, 2017 / 12:22 PM / 10 months ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Zimbabwean President Mugabe insists he stays on as the country’s ruler, Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri is expected to fly to France and a portrait of Christ breaks the world record for the highest artwork sale at auction.

Armoured vehicle is seen outside the parliament in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 16, 2017. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

World

President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler, an intelligence source said, and is resisting mediation by a Catholic priest to allow the 93-year-old former guerrilla a graceful exit after a military coup. 

Reuters TV: The who and why of Zimbabwe’s military takeover 

Lebanon’s Saad al-Hariri is expected to leave Saudi Arabia for France within 48 hours, before flying home to Beirut to officially submit his resignation as Lebanese prime minister, a source close to Hariri told Reuters.  

China said a “dual suspension” proposal to handle North Korea was still the best option, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had rejected a “freeze for freeze” agreement.  

A Chinese official admonished Hong Kong for failing to introduce a national security law, ramping up pressure on the former British colony to enact the contentious Article 23 that critics say will further choke its freedoms.  

The World Anti-Doping Agency said that Russia remains “non-compliant” with its Code, dealing a major blow to its hopes of being cleared to compete at February’s Winter Olympics.  

Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of Christ, “Salvator Mundi”, sold for a record-smashing $450.3 million at Christie‘s, more than double the old price for any work of art at auction.  

Business

A shareholder proposal calling for Twenty-First Century Fox to scrap its dual-class share structure was rejected, although the measure received significant support among voters outside the controlling Murdoch family.  

Billionaire entrepreneur and potential presidential candidate Mark Cuban said that a cut in the U.S. corporate tax rate would have little to no effect on his investment decisions. “Competition drives what I do in my businesses a whole lot more than tax rates,” Cuban told a Reuters Newsmaker forum entitled “The Trump Budget Debate”.

second lawsuit was filed this week against the organizers of cybercurrency technology project Tezos, an initiative that raised $232 million to issue a cryptocurrency that does not exist and fund development of a transaction system that has no clear end date.  

Volkswagen Group said it plans to spend 10 billion euros ($11.8 billion) by 2025 to develop and manufacture all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as it seeks to comply with upcoming stringent rules in China.  

Paulson & Co left its stake in gold investments unchanged in the third quarter, as concerns about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program helped lift bullion prices to a 13-month high, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing showed.

At least 15 countries have joined an international alliance to phase out coal from power generation before 2030, delegates at U.N. climate talks in Bonn said. 

Breakingviews: Cerberus puts German twist on distressed investing  

A dead whale is seen on the shore of the Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

A dead whale is seen on the shore of the Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil November 15, 2017. REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

 

Deals

Mattel has rebuffed Hasbro’s latest takeover approach, people familiar with the matter said, casting uncertainty over the potential combination of the world’s two largest toy companies. Read the exclusive.  

The U.S. Justice Department has approached 18 state attorneys general to try to win their support for an antitrust lawsuit to block pay TV and wireless powerhouse AT&T’s $85.4 billion deal to buy media and entertainment company Time Warner, a person briefed on the matter said.  

Australian gas producer Santos said it rejected a A$9.5 billion ($7.2 billion) takeover approach in August, sending its shares up 13 percent on speculation another offer was likely to emerge.  

U.S.

The Republican-controlled U.S. Congress was approaching a major test of its ability to overhaul the federal tax code, as lawmakers prepared for their first full-scale vote on sweeping tax legislation.  

Two more women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against embattled Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, one accusing him of groping her and the other of forcing a kiss on her when she was about 18.  

Senator Susan Collins is back in the spotlight as a crucial swing vote in the U.S. Senate as she raises questions about how combining a Republican tax-cut plan with a partial repeal of Obamacare will affect middle-class Americans.  

The death toll in a shooting spree in rural Northern California rose to five after police discovered the body of the gunman’s wife hidden in the couple’s house, an assistant sheriff said.  

A federal judge ruled that St. Louis police cannot shut down non-violent demonstrations and employ chemical agents to punish protesters, dealing a victory to a civil liberties group that challenged the police response to protests.  

Charles Manson, the cult leader who sent followers known as the “Manson Family” out to commit gruesome murders, shattering the peace-and-love ethos of the 1960s hippie era in California, has been hospitalized, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

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