US Senate approves sweeping new tax cuts +++ Uber faces stricter regulation after court ruling

US Senate approves sweeping new tax cuts +++ Uber faces stricter regulation after court ruling +++ EU sets limit for Brexit transition +++ Eastern Ukraine sees worst fighting in months +++ Poland faces EU disciplinary action over new laws +++ Sebastian Kurz makes first Brussels trip as Chancellor +++The weather

News | 20 December 2017

Elisabeth Kervarrec

US Senate approves sweeping new tax cuts

The United States Senate has approved sweeping tax cuts for corporations, small businesses and individuals, in what analysts describe as the most comprehensive overhaul of the US tax system in decades. Republicans say the bill will boost business investment and economic growth, while providing tax relief for most Americans. Democrats say it will benefit the super-rich and increase the national deficit by at least a trillion dollars over the next decade. Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren says the cuts are a payback for wealthy backers of the Republican Party. “Let’s call this out for what it is, it’s government for sale. And that’s how you end up with a one and a half trillion dollar tax giveaway to corporations at a time of record corporate profits.”

Uber faces stricter regulation after court ruling

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the ride sharing service Uber is a transport company and should be subject to licencing laws in countries where it operates. The US based firm argued that it was a technology service, which simply connected drivers to passengers via its app. Employment lawyer Anna McCaffrey says the ruling means Uber will face stricter regulation. “Things like taxi licencing rules and regulation of taxis in each country mean that Uber has a lot more rules that it has to comply with than if it’s a digital company.”

EU sets limit for Brexit transition

The European Union has proposed limiting the transition period for Great Britain to leave the bloc, saying, in a statement, that temporary arrangements agreed as part of the Brexit deal should not last beyond the end of 2020. The terms of the transition have yet to be negotiated but Brussels is insisting that the UK follow EU rules during that period.

Eastern Ukraine sees worst fighting in months

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe says there has been a sharp escalation in fighting in eastern Ukraine, despite a fragile ceasefire between government forces and pro-Russian separatists. OSCE officials say 5 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and schools, homes and a hospital destroyed in the worst violence in months.

Poland faces EU disciplinary action over new laws

The European Commission will decide later today whether to start disciplinary proceedings against Poland, in response to controversial new laws, which critics say will limit the independence of the judiciary. If EU governments agree to trigger Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, Poland could have its EU voting rights suspended and lose billions of euros in aid.

Sebastian Kurz makes first Brussels trip as Chancellor

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has held what he described as very good talks with European leaders during his first trip to Brussels since being sworn into office. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker praised the pro-European stance of Kurz's new government, saying he would not prejudge the coalition between Kurz's People's Party and the far right Freedom Party.

The weather

Generally overcast conditions have been forecast for this afternoon with some snowfall for areas east of Salzburg. Sunshine will largely be confined to the south. Top temperatures will range from -4 to +4 degrees.

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