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Wednesday Morning Briefing
November 29, 2017 / 11:27 AM / 13 days ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

North Korea says the U.S. mainland is in its range as it completes another missile test, Republicans shove Trump’s tax bill forward in the Senate and  Britain edges closer to a deal on its EU ‘Brexit bill’.

South Korea's Hyunmoo II missile is fired during an exercise at an undefined location in the east coast of South Korea, November 29, 2017. The Defence Ministry/Yonhap via REUTERS

North Korea

North Korea said it successfully tested a powerful new intercontinental ballistic missile that put the entire U.S. mainland within range of its nuclear weapons.  

“Fire it bravely for the Party and the motherland!” leader Kim Jong Un wrote on the missile order, according to a photograph shown on North Korean state television.  

In a broadcast on state TV, North Korea said the newly developed Hwasong-15 has “much greater advantages in its tactical and technological specifications and technical characteristics” than its Hwasong-14 ICBM, tested twice in July.  

Interactive: Nuclear North Korea 

U.S. politics

Senate Republicans rammed forward President Donald Trump’s tax-cut bill in an abrupt, partisan committee vote that set up a full vote by the Senate as soon as Thursday, although some details of the measure remained unsettled.  

Democratic leaders in Congress skipped a meeting with Trump on that was to have focused on the budget, raising the risk of a government shutdown next month with both sides far apart on the terms of an agreement. 

A District Court judge sided with Trump in a legal battle over who should be in charge of the U.S. consumer finance watchdog, allowing White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to serve as acting head.  

Business

Signs of progress with U.S. tax cuts and Europe’s Brexit negotiations brought fresh highs for world stocks, while bitcoin topped $10,000 in a frenzy for cryptocurrencies.  

Bitcoin soared to an all-time high on major exchanges and digital currency indexes, including the widely followed Luxembourg-based trading platform BitStamp. It has increased more than 10-fold in value so far this year, posting the largest gain of all asset classes, amid increased institutional demand for crypto-currencies as financial and mainstream use has expanded. 

After Tesla’s Model S sedans and Model X SUVs roll off the company’s Fremont, California assembly line, the electric vehicles usually make another stop - for repairs, nine current and former employees have told Reuters. At Tesla “so much goes into rework after the car is done ... that’s where their money is being spent,” a former Tesla supervisor said. 

Daimler has rebuffed an offer from China’s Geely to take a stake of up to 5 percent via a discounted share placement due to long-held reluctance to see existing shareholdings diluted, people with knowledge of the discussions said. Read the exclusive.

Breakingviews: Slim chance of Kochs taking over Meredith media  

Newborn white Bengal tiger cubs are shown to the media at San Jorge zoo in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Newborn white Bengal tiger cubs are shown to the media at San Jorge zoo in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

Slideshow: Pictures of the year 2017 

Tech

The Supreme Court takes up a major test of privacy rights in the digital age as it weighs whether police must obtain warrants to get data on the past locations of criminal suspects using cellphone data from wireless providers.  

SWIFT, the global messaging system used to move trillions of dollars each day, warned banks that the threat of digital heists is on the rise as hackers use increasingly sophisticated tools and techniques to launch new attacks.  

Soaring shares of Apple, Alphabet and Tencent this year have made technology a top global performer, with few signs that investors are worried that rising valuations might be increasing the risk of a downturn. 

A consortium led by SoftBank launched its tender offer for shares of Uber and the Japanese company said that some notable early Uber investors planned to sell stock.  

Uber’s quarterly losses widened, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, as the ride-hailing company wades through legal troubles and faces regulatory scrutiny across the globe.  

World

Reuters TV: Britain ‘close to deal’ on Brexit bill  

Senior Saudi Arabian prince Miteb bin Abdullah, once seen as a leading contender to the throne, has been freed after agreeing to pay over $1 billion to settle corruption allegations against him, a Saudi official said.  

Australia’s upper house Senate passed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, perhaps as soon as next week, after lawmakers dismissed a conservative push to allow religious objectors to refuse service to same-sex couples.  

When a caravan of armored personnel carriers was spotted traveling on the main roads northwest of Harare on Nov. 14, journalists raced to see if it was the start of a coup against Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s long-serving president. Read the latest Backstory. 

Commentary

Trump should not agree to proposals to send arms to Ukraine, writes Daniel DePetris. "Opening up America’s stockpile to Ukraine is not in Washington’s national security interest. In fact, it is bound to make a conflict that is mostly frozen into a more deadly one and it complicates any reasonable chance of a diplomatic resolution," says DePetris, a fellow at Defense Priorities. 

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