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2018 Feels Ripe for Big Unexpected Crisis, Eurasia Group Says

This year could see a geopolitical crisis on the scale of the financial crash a decade ago, Eurasia Group warned in its annual outlook. Describing global political challenges as “daunting,” the New York-based political risk consultancy said that “if we had to pick one year for a big unexpected crisis — the geopolitical equivalent of the 2008 financial meltdown — it feels like 2018." The biggest uncertainty surrounds China’s move to fill a vacuum as U.S. influence continues to decline, stoking tensions between the two powers, it said. That’s likely to…

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North Korea Signals Olympics Truce, Seeks Talks With Seoul

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called for urgent talks with South Korea to make the Winter Olympics next month a success even while repeating claims that he could strike the U.S. with a nuclear bomb if necessary. In an annual New Year’s day speech, Kim said that “we sincerely hope the games will be successful.” He said that both Koreas should seek to resolve problems among themselves rather than seek help from outside of the region. “It’s about time that the North and the South sit down and seriously…

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Kim Jong Un Says Nuclear Button to Hit U.S. Always on My Desk

Kim Jong Un repeated claims that he could hit the U.S. with a nuclear weapon, saying that its deterrent is “irreversible” and would prevent President Donald Trump from starting a war. Kim also said he planned to send a delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea next month, Yonhap News reported, even as he called for mass production of nuclear warheads. South Korean television stations stopped broadcasting the speech before it ended. “It’s reality, not a threat, that the nuclear button is always on my desk,” Kim said in…

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Theresa May’s Infrastructure Czar Quits, Lashing Out at Brexit

Andrew Adonis quit as Theresa May’s infrastructure czar, but not before delivering a blistering verdict on the Brexit policy being pursued by the U.K. prime minister and her Conservative Party. The Labour peer and former transport secretary described Brexit as a “populist and nationalist spasm worthy of Donald Trump” in a unexpectedly quit, depriving her of a key figure in dealing with EU negotiators. And now, days from the end of the year, Adonis is departing with an excoriating verdict on the country’s direction. “Brexit is causing a nervous breakdown across…

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Flake: Someone in GOP Will Challenge Trump in Primary, If Not Me

President Donald Trump is likely to face a challenge from an independent candidate, and possibly a fellow Republican, if he runs for a second term, as voters thirst for a more centrist alternative, said Senator Jeff Flake. “If the president is running for re-election, if he continues on the path that he’s on, that’s gonna leave a huge swath of voters looking for something else,” said the Arizona Republican, who plans to leave the Senate at the end of 2018. Flake, who’s emerged as one of the president’s most vocal…

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Trump Signs $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut in First Major Legislative Win

President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax-overhaul bill to little fanfare on Friday, delivering a major tax cut to U.S. corporations along with a package of temporary cuts for other businesses and most individuals. “I consider this very much a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office before signing the legislation. “Corporations are literally going wild over this. I think even beyond my expectations.” Trump’s signature caps a seven-week sprint that

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Haley Warns UN That Trump Is Watching Jerusalem Votes

Nikki Haley has a warning for her fellow UN ambassadors ahead of a key vote on Jerusalem this week: Read a QuickTake Q&A on the controversy over Jerusalem’s status “I liked the message that Nikki sent yesterday at the United Nations to all of those nations that take our money and then they vote against us in the Security Council, they vote against us potentially at the assembly,” Trump said. “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars and then they vote against us. Well we’re…

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Trump Says Investors Should Sue ABC for Market-Moving Report

President Donald Trump called on investors to sue ABC News after a false report about him caused the stock market to briefly plunge Friday. ABC News investigative reporter Brian Ross told viewers Friday morning that former national security adviser Michael Flynn was prepared to testify that Trump, then still a candidate, had told him to contact Russian officials. The implication that the president himself was connected to his campaign’s dealings with Russia sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average down more than 350 points before it recovered. “People who lost money…

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Senate Passes Major Business, Individual Cuts: Tax Debate Update

The Senate tax bill is in the midst of a marathon vote session that stretched into early Saturday morning with the goal of holding a final vote in the next several hours. Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day: Senate Passes Major Business, Individual Cuts (1:51 a.m.) Senate Republicans narrowly approved the most sweeping rewrite of the U.S. tax code in three decades, slashing the corporate tax rate and providing temporary tax-rate cuts for most Americans. The 51-49 vote — achieved only after closed-door deal-making with dissident senators…

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Mulvaney Says Would Be OK to Drop Mandate Repeal in Tax Plan

The White House wouldn’t oppose removing from the Senate tax plan a controversial provision to repeal the individual health-care mandate of the Affordable Care Act, budget director Mick Mulvaney said, a move that could help secure the vote of key Republicans. The provision could be dropped if it becomes “an impediment,” Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good…

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Trump Scraps Possible Formal Meeting With Putin

President Donald Trump will not meet formally with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam this week due to a scheduling conflict, the White House said Friday, amid U.S. concerns that the meeting wouldn’t create genuine progress on key issues. “Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate that there will be one.” Any Putin-Trump meeting…

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Trump’s $250 Billion China Haul Features Little of Substance

Donald Trump can use to show he’s creating opportunities for U.S. businesses and jobs for his base. The reality, however, is that the roughly 15 agreements unveiled on Thursday are mostly non-binding memorandums of understanding and could take years to materialize — if they do at all. A day earlier, Commerce Secretary Read More: Details on the Deals Trump’s Team Plans to Unveil in China “To me this is an old-style visit when you pile up all the deals so you can to get a big number,” said James McGregor, China…

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One Tax Loophole Untouched So Far: The Trump Golf-Course Break

Republican lawmakers pushing to close dozens of tax loopholes have left open one that’s been good to President the outline for a sweeping tax rewrite on Thursday, a lucrative break for golf-course owners — including the president — remains firmly in place in the House version of the measure. The Obama administration estimated in 2014 that closing the controversial loophole would save more than $600 million over a decade. While Republicans are eliminating many write-offs, the House version of the bill allows golf-course owners to claim deductions for promising never to…

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RenTechs Robert Mercer to Exit as Co-CEO, Sell Breitbart Stake

Donald Trump. Peter Brown, 62, will continue as CEO, according to a letter sent to employees at his hedge fund Thursday. Mercer, 71, will also leave Renaissance’s board and remain at the company as a member of the technical staff, focusing on research. Mercer and Brown took the co-CEO posts in 2010 after the company’s founder Read More: Read Mercer’s Letter to His Staff at Renaissance personal political projects dragged the notoriously secretive firm into the national spotlight. Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, are prominent Republican donors and patrons of Stephen…

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Papa John’s Blames the NFL for Hurting Pizza Sales

Papa John’s International Inc. founder John Schnatter is going after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, saying weak handling of the league’s national-anthem controversy has hammered sales of his pizza. “The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter, who serves as the pizza chain’s chairman and chief executive officer, said on a conference call. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.” The remarks follow a controversy over NFL football players protesting during the national anthem, a movement that started last season. The demonstrations…

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