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Reuters / News - Politics

Wednesday Morning Briefing

U.S. President Trump is set to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Bitcoin breaks above $12,000 to a record high and Disney leads the race to acquire much
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U.S. President Trump is set to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Bitcoin breaks above $12,000 to a record high and Disney leads the race to acquire much of Twenty-First Century Fox’s media empire.

Israeli flags are seen near the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Jerusalem

President Donald Trump will announce that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move its embassy there, breaking with longtime U.S. policy and potentially stirring unrest. 

Despite warnings from Western and Arab allies, Trump in a 1 p.m. (1800 GMT) White House speech will direct the State Department to begin looking for a site for an embassy in Jerusalem as part of what is expected to be a years-long process of relocating diplomatic operations from Tel Aviv.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not comment on the plans during his first public remarks since the White House confirmed the new policy. 

Pope Francis called for the city’s “status quo” to be respected, saying new tension in the Middle East would further inflame world conflicts. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing that the status of Jerusalem was a complicated and sensitive issue and China was concerned the U.S. decision “could sharpen regional conflict”. 

Business

Bitcoin extended its eye-popping rally, breaking above $12,000 to a record high despite questions about the cryptocurrency’s real value and worries about a dangerous bubble. 

A rare public spat in the technology industry escalated when Google said it would block its video streaming application YouTube from two Amazon devices and criticized the online retailer for not selling Google hardware. 

Coty and other luxury brand owners scored an important victory in their bid to prevent retailers selling their products on online platforms such as Amazon and eBay after Europe’s top court said they have the right to do so to preserve their image. 

The holiday travel period will be busier than last year for U.S. airlines, according to an industry trade group, as affordable fares and an improving economy make air travel more accessible. 

Deals

Ford is expected to sign as early a deal with Alibaba which may allow the U.S. automaker to test selling cars to consumers in China through Alibaba’s online retail arm Tmall, as well as via a new “auto vending machine” store concept, according to a Ford source familiar with the matter. 

Walt Disney is in the lead to acquire much of Twenty-First Century Fox’s media empire, though rival suitor Comcast remains in contention, people familiar with the matter said. 

Canada is scrapping a plan to buy 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets amid a deepening dispute with the U.S. aerospace company, three sources familiar with the matter said.

A fire crew passes a burning home during a wind-driven wildfire in Ventura, California, U.S., December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

United States

A U.S. federal investigator probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election asked Deutsche Bank for data on accounts held by Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said, but Trump’s lawyer denied any such subpoena had been issued. 

Republicans in U.S. House of Representatives began staking out their positions on final tax legislation, days ahead of talks with the Senate to shape the tax package lawmakers hope to send to Trump by year end. 

Name-calling is not unusual in U.S. politics. But “child abuser” is not usually one of the names. In the final stretch of a bruising U.S. Senate race in Alabama, Democrat Doug Jones has cranked up his attacks on Republican Roy Moore over allegations of sexual misconduct and made those charges central to his argument that Moore is an unsuitable choice. 

The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided in the closely watched case of a Christian baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, with pivotal Justice Anthony Kennedy voicing concerns about endorsing discrimination against gay people but also about anti-religious bias. 

Reuters has identified 104 deaths involving Tasers behind bars.  Of the inmates who died, just two were armed. Read the investigation. 

World

A U.S. B-1B bomber joined large-scale U.S.-South Korean military exercises that North Korea has denounced as pushing the peninsula to the brink of nuclear war, as tension mounts between the North and the United States. 

Britain has foiled an Islamist suicide plot to kill Prime Minister Theresa May with a bomb in Downing Street, Sky news reported, citing unidentified sources. 

Breakingviews: Brexit deal hinges on enlightened obfuscation 

The official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party has lavished unusually high levels of praise on President Xi Jinping’s signature leadership, as China’s strongest leader in decades consolidates his personal power.

Talks on ending the six-year war in Syria resumed with no sign of President Bashar al-Assad’s delegation returning to the negotiations in Geneva after they walked out last week. 

Reuters TV: Russia is banned from the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 

Commentary

Iraq is trying to prosecute everyone who worked for Islamic State. But many in IS-controlled areas say they were forced to join the group to keep their jobs. "Such broad prosecutions would be a grave mistake if Iraq is ever to establish some modicum of national reconciliation, writes Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Iraq can, and should, find alternatives to prosecution for the thousands of IS suspects who carried out no serious crimes or acts of violence." 

Russia is reveling in its newfound reputation for driving events in Western politics. But as Europe and the United States obsess about Moscow's efforts to interfere in their elections, they risk playing further into the Kremlin's hands, writes Peter Apps. While political leaders need to "alert to Russian meddling," they also need to address their voters' concerns rather than simply blaming Moscow for their countries' ills. 

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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