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UPDATE 1-Hershey nears $1.6 bln deal to buy Amplify Snacks- CNBC

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Hershey Co, the maker of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey's Kisses, is nearing a deal to buy SkinnyPop parent Amplify Snack Brands for $1.6 billion, CNBC reported on Monday.

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Nikkei rises on financials and exporters; builders off lows

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks scored their biggest rise in over a month on Monday with financials and exporters in hot demand, while construction shares bounced after sliding on news that prosecutors had raided the headquarters of at least two builders for alleged antitrust violations.

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BRIEF-Ackermans & Van Haaren Reaches Agreement For The Sale Of BDM-ASCO To The Navigators Group

* REG-AGREEMENT ON THE SALE OF BDM-ASCO TO THE NAVIGATORS GROUP, INC.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise on US tax cut hopes; China in focus

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Asian shares edged up on Monday, with sentiment boosted by expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass a long-awaited tax bill this week, while Chinese stocks were soggy on concerns about liquidity and tighter regulations in the world's second largest economy.

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BRIEF-Navigators To Acquire Belgian Specialty Insurer

* NAVIGATORS GROUP INC SAYS AS AGGREGATE CONSIDERATION FOR ACQUISITION OF ASCO AND BDM, NAVIGATORS WILL PAY EUR 35 MILLION IN CASH AT CLOSING OF TRANSACTION

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Hershey nears $1.6 bln deal to buy Amplify Snacks- CNBC

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Hershey Co, the maker of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey's Kisses, is nearing a deal to buy SkinnyPop parent Amplify Snack Brands for $1.6 billion, CNBC reported on Monday.

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UPDATE 7-Power restored to Atlanta airport after daylong outage paralyzes travel

Dec 18 (Reuters) - One of the heaviest travel weeks of the year began with the cancellation of more than 1,000 flights on Sunday at the world's busiest airport in Atlanta, where a power outage that lasted nearly 11 hours left passengers stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

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BRIEF-Hershey Nears $1.6 Billion Deal To Acquire Skinnypop Parent Amplify- CNBC

* HERSHEY NEARS $1.6 BILLION DEAL TO ACQUIRE SKINNYPOP PARENT AMPLIFY- CNBC, CITING SOURCES

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Syngenta says Basel court cancels all publicly-held shares in company

ZURICH, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Syngenta said a court in Basel has cancelled all publicly-held registered shares in the Swiss agro-chemicals company following its $43 billion takeover by ChemChina.

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UPDATE 1-China's Tencent, JD.com invest $863 mln in online retailer Vipshop

* Tencent will have right to appoint one director to Vipshop board (Adds context, analyst comment)

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PRESS DIGEST -Wall Street Journal - Dec 18

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

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Toyota to make over 10 battery EV models globally in early 2020s

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp will make more than 10 battery electric car models globally in the early 2020s, with sales starting in China, the company said on Monday.

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UPDATE 6-Power restored to Atlanta airport after outage led to partial shutdown

Dec 17 (Reuters) - One of the heaviest travel weeks of the year began with the cancellation of hundreds of flights on Sunday at the world's busiest airport in Atlanta, where a power outage left passengers stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

sportsNews reuters.com

James takes another shot at Trump during Washington visit

(Reuters) - LeBron James used a visit to Washington on Sunday to express his continued displeasure at Donald Trump, without once mentioning the United States president by name.

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UPDATE 3-Bitcoin hits bigger stage as exchange giant CME launches futures

NEW YORK/SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Bitcoin futures received a lukewarm reception at its launch on the CME Group Inc on Sunday, although market experts believe a recent rally in the cryptocurrency has further to go.

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UPDATE 5-Power outage leads to partial shutdown of Atlanta airport

Dec 17 (Reuters) - One of the heaviest travel weeks of the year began with the cancellation of hundreds of flights on Sunday at the world's busiest airport in Atlanta, where a power outage left passengers stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise amid US tax cut hopes; China in focus

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Asian shares edged up on Monday, with sentiment boosted by expectations U.S. lawmakers will pass a long-awaited tax bill, while Chinese stocks were soggy after the country's central bank raised interest rates.

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Indian ruling party in tough election fight in Modi's home state, vote count shows

NEW DELHI, Dec 18 (Reuters) - India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was in a close fight with the main opposition in an election in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state on Monday, trends from the early vote count showed.

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FOREX-Dollar steady after U.S. tax bill moves closer to ratification

* Kiwi retains momentum from last week's surge (Adds details and quotes, updates prices)

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BRIEF-Delta Air Lines Cancels Some Flights Due To Atlanta Airport Outage

* DELTA AIR LINES INC SAYS HAS CANCELLED SOME MONDAY FLIGHTS DUE TO ATLANTA AIRPORT OUTAGE- TWEET Further company coverage:

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Nikkei rises on financials and exporters; builders stumble

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japanese stocks rose on Monday with financial and exporter stocks leading gains, offsetting weakness in construction stocks after news prosecutors raided the headquarters of at least two construction firms for alleged antitrust violations.

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China's Tencent, JD.com invest $863 mln in online retailer Vipshop

BEIJING, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Chinese social media firm Tencent Holdings Ltd and e-commerce platform JD.com Inc on Monday said they will jointly invest $863 million in Chinese discount online retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd .

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UPDATE 2-ExxonMobil, BHP end Australia gas sales joint venture

* Prices unlikely to fall much, analyst says (Recasts, adds ExxonMobil, BHP and analyst comments)

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BRIEF-Nanya Technology disposes 856,586 shares of Micron Technology for $36.3 mln

* Says it disposes 856,586 shares of Micron Technology Inc at the price of $36.3 million in total (average price of about $42.434517 per share), for working capital supplement and bank loan repayment

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BRIEF-Tencent, Jd.Com And Vipshop Announce Equity Investment And Business Cooperation

* TENCENT, JD.COM AND VIPSHOP ANNOUNCE EQUITY INVESTMENT AND BUSINESS COOPERATION

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UPDATE 2-Thai Bev only bidder seeking to buy $5 bln stake in Vietnam's Sabeco

* Some bidders discouraged by rich valuations - sources (Recasts with Thai Bev's statement on Sabeco)

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UPDATE 5-Billionaire Pinera recaptures Chile presidency with resounding win

SANTIAGO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Conservative Sebastian Pinera won Chile's presidential election by a wider-than-forecast margin on Sunday, pledging to jump-start economic growth in the world's top copper exporter and opt for more business-friendly policies than his center-left predecessor.

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FOREX-Dollar firm after US tax bill moves closer to ratification

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The dollar held modest gains against the euro and yen on Monday, having received a lift after U.S. tax reform efforts moved another step closer to ratification over the weekend.

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian shares rise amid US tax cut hopes; pound struggles

* Australian shares up 0.1 pct, Japan's Nikkei climbs 0.8 pct

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UPDATE 2-Oracle Corp to buy Australia's Aconex for $1.19 bln

* Aconex subject to break-up fee should deal not proceed (Adds share price reaction, deal timeframe, chairman comment)

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RPT-UPDATE 1-India government ignored warnings over GST roll out-sources

MUMBAI, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The Indian government ignored several warnings from private companies that the complex technology required for a nationwide goods and services tax (GST) to work smoothly was not ready for launch, several people who worked on the project said.

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UPDATE 2-Bitcoin hits bigger stage as exchange giant CME launches futures

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - CME Group Inc, the world's largest derivatives exchange operator, began trading bitcoin futures on Sunday, with the contract opening at what is currently its session high and dropping over 6 percent within the first half hour.

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UPDATE 4-Power outage leads to partial shutdown of Atlanta airport

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday as a power outage left passengers at the world's busiest airport stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

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Rio Tinto to retrofit Pilbara trucks for autonomous handling

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd said it plans to expand its fleet of autonomous trucks operating in Australia's Pilbara iron-ore region, part of a cost-cutting programme across its operations.

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UPDATE 3-Atlanta's Hartsfield airport hobbled by power outage

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday as a power outage left passengers at the world's busiest airport stranded in darkened terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

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UPDATE 1-BHP and ExxonMobil to separately market Gippsland Basin gas - regulator

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Monday that BHP and ExxonMobil's local arm Esso Australia Resources would separately market their respective shares of gas produced from their Gippsland Basin joint venture from 2019.

cnn.com

Trump's administration's seven banned words are an attack on science

On Thursday, according to the Washington Post, policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were told by others in the Trump administration that the use of seven specific words and phrases would be prohibited. On the list are the words "vulnerable," "diversity," "entitlement," "transgender," "fetus," "evidence-based," and "science-based." The decision has not only been deemed as reckless and dangerous, but an offense to the scientific community. 

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UPDATE 4-Chile's Pinera wins presidency as opponent concedes

SANTIAGO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Billionaire conservative Sebastian Pinera won Chile's presidency on Sunday, with his center-left opponent Alejandro Guillier conceding the election as Chile followed other South American nations in a political turn to the right.

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BHP and Esso to separately market Gippsland Basin gas -regulator

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Monday that BHP and Exxon Mobil would separately market their respective shares of gas produced from their Gippsland Basin joint venture from 2019.

cnn.com

House panel to interview publicist who arranged Trump Tower meeting

The House Intelligence Committee has at least two interviews scheduled Monday to kick off a packed week of witnesses in the panel's Russia probe.

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Japanese pension fund to shoulder costs of BOJ's negative rate - Nikkei

TOKYO, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Japan's Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the world's largest pension fund, has decided to shoulder the costs charged on its deposits under the central bank's negative rate policy, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Monday.

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump says not considering firing U.S. special counsel Mueller

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, when asked on Sunday if he was considering firing U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller, told reporters, "No. I'm not."

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Equinix to buy Australia's Metronode data centre group for $791 mln

SYDNEY, Dec 18 (Reuters) - U.S. data centre group Equinix Inc on Monday said it was buying Australian data centre company Metronode from the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan in an all-cash deal worth A$1.035 billion ($791.15 million).

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UPDATE 3-Chile's Pinera takes commanding lead in presidential vote

SANTIAGO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Conservative challenger Sebastian Pinera was on track to win Chile's presidential election on Sunday, after pledging to end his center-left predecessor's progressive agenda and jump-start growth in one of Latin America's most developed economies.

cnn.com

Trump says he is not considering firing Mueller

President Donald Trump says he's not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, and added that his "people" are "very upset" about the counsel's decision to obtain tens of thousands of emails from the Trump transition team.

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UPDATE 1-Aconex receives $1.19 bln takeover offer from Oracle Corp

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Aconex Ltd said on Monday it had received a A$1.56 billion ($1.19 billion), or A$7.80 in cash per share, buyout offer from U.S. software major Oracle Corp .

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UPDATE 2-Flights delayed at Atlanta airport after power outage

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Flights were delayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday after a partial power outage, leaving passengers at the world's busiest airport stranded in dimly lit terminals or in aircraft idling on tarmacs.

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BRIEF-Aconex Announces Acquisition Proposal By Orcale ​

* ‍PROPOSED THAT ORACLE WILL ACQUIRE 100 PERCENT OF SHARES IN ACONEX BY WAY OF A SCHEME OF ARRANGEMENT FOR A$7.80 IN CASH PER SHARE​

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M&T Bank's CEO Robert Wilmers dies -bank

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - M&T Bank's chairman and chief executive officer, Robert Wilmers, died on Saturday night at home after nearly 35 years leading the Buffalo, New York-based company, the bank said on Sunday.

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Aconex receives $1.19 bln takeover offer from Oracle Corp

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Aconex Ltd said on Monday it had received a A$1.56 billion ($1.19 billion), A$7.80 in cash per share, buyout offer from U.S. software major Oracle Corp .

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Humana in talks to buy Kindred Healthcare with equity firms -source

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - U.S. health insurer Humana Inc is in advanced talks to acquire acute care provider Kindred Healthcare Inc in partnership with private equity firms Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and TPG, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

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UPDATE 1-Flights delayed at Atlanta airport after power outage

Dec 17 (Reuters) - Flights were delayed at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on Sunday after a partial power outage, officials said, leaving passengers at the world's busiest airport stranded in dim terminals.

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TV host Matthews was reprimanded after woman's 1999 complaint -MSNBC

Dec 17 (Reuters) - TV "Hardball" host Chris Matthews was reprimanded after he was accused in 1999 of making inappropriate comments about a female employee, and the woman was given a separation payment, MSNBC said on Sunday.

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BRIEF-Humana, Private-Equity Firms In Talks To Buy Kindred Healthcare- WSJ

* HUMANA, PRIVATE-EQUITY FIRMS IN TALKS TO BUY KINDRED HEALTHCARE; DEAL WOULD VALUE KINDRED AT $9 PER SHARE- WSJ, CITING SOURCES‍​ Source text : http://on.wsj.com/2zjELSy Further company coverage:

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UPDATE 2-'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' opens with galactic $450 mln box office

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17 (Reuters) - "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" burst into theaters with a staggering $450 million in global ticket sales in its opening weekend, confirming that the celebrated space adventure franchise remained a powerful force at the box office.

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BRIEF-Atos says not to pursue offer to acquire Gemalto

* ATOS SAYS HAS DECIDED NOT TO PURSUE ITS OFFER TO ACQUIRE GEMALTO AT 46 EUROS PER SHARE

cnn.com

Opinion: Trump and allies are trying to destroy Mueller

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has come under fierce political attack. President Donald Trump and his allies are systematically attempting to destroy the legitimacy of the investigation in the eyes of the public. And without a strong congressional investigative counterpart, Mueller finds himself increasingly isolated and alone.

cnn.com

Putin thanks Trump for CIA's help in stopping terror attacks

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Sunday after ISIS-inspired terror attacks against the city of St. Petersburg were thwarted by Russia's Federal Security Service using intelligence provided by the CIA.

Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates nytimes.com

Trump Lawyer Says Mueller Illegally Obtained Transition Emails

The move was the latest in the mounting attacks by the president and his surrogates on the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

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UPDATE 1-'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' scores massive $450 mln in opening weekend

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17 (Reuters) - "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest chapter in the hugely popular franchise, debuted with a massive $450 million in global ticket sales over the weekend, distributor Walt Disney Co said on Sunday.

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'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' scores $450 mln in global opening weekend

LOS ANGELES, Dec 17 (Reuters) - "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" debuted with a massive $450 million in global ticket sales over the weekend, distributor Walt Disney Co said on Sunday.

politicsNews reuters.com

Senator-elect Jones not joining calls for Trump resignation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Doug Jones, who scored an upset victory last week in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama, said on Sunday he did not believe President Donald Trump needed to resign over sexual misconduct allegations against him.

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UPDATE 2-Strike over Teva Pharm job cuts briefly shuts down Israel

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union staged a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, stock exchange, banks and all government ministries to protest at mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

cnn.com

Mnuchin: No reason to think Trump will fire Mueller

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he doesn't have any reason to believe President Donald Trump will fire special counsel Robert Mueller.

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UPDATE 1-Venezuela gives Russia's Rosneft gas field concessions - Rosneft

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela has awarded licences to a unit of Russian oil major Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields, Rosneft said in a statement.

cnn.com

Jones: Trump shouldn't resign over allegations

Democratic Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones said President Trump should not resign over sexual harassment allegations at this time.

topNews reuters.com

Iran tells France's Macron not to 'blindly follow' Trump

LONDON (Reuters) - Iran on Sunday criticized French President Emmanuel Macron over his tough stance toward Tehran and said Paris would soon lose its international credibility if it "blindly follows" U.S. President Donald Trump.

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MIDEAST STOCKS-Region edges up, building-related shares boost Saudi before budget

* Saudi 2018 budget seen hiking infrastructure spending a bit

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Venezuela gives Russia's Rosneft gas field concessions - Rosneft

MOSCOW, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Venezuela has awarded licences to a unit of Russian oil major Rosneft to develop two offshore gas fields, Rosneft said in a statement.

technologyNews reuters.com

Thales agrees 4.8 billion euro Gemalto takeover to trump rival French bid

PARIS (Reuters) - Aerospace and defense group Thales has agreed to buy chipmaker Gemalto for 4.8 billion euros ($5.6 billion), trumping an earlier bid by fellow French firm Atos to take aim at a fast-growing digital security market.

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UPDATE 1-Strike briefly shuts down Israel over Teva Pharm job cuts

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union went on a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, the stock exchange, banks and all government ministries as part of a protest against mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

companyNews reuters.com

U.S. employers say CVS-Aetna deal would affect health-benefits decisions -survey

NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - CVS Corp’s proposed purchase of Aetna Inc will affect decision-making by a majority of large and mid-size U.S. corporations on employee health benefits, a survey by benefits consultant Aon Plc found.

worldNews reuters.com

Philippines' Duterte, in about-face, says he supports same-sex unions

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday expressed his support for same-sex unions, after previously declaring his opposition to gay marriage, in an about-face that may displease bishops in the mainly Roman Catholic country.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Thai Bev's unit seeks to buy a near $5 bln stake in Sabeco

* Ministry set to conduct auction on Monday (Recasts, adds details of Thai Bev's unit seeking to buy all Sabeco shares)

nytimes.com

Alabama, California, Donald Trump: Your Weekend Briefing

Here’s what you need to know about the week’s top stories.

technologyNews reuters.com

Aerospace giant Thales agrees Gemalto takeover, trumps Atos offer

PARIS (Reuters) - Aerospace and defense technology group Thales has agreed to buy chipmaker Gemalto in an all-cash offer, promising to create a "world leader in digital security" and trumping an earlier takeover bid by tech firm Atos.

companyNews reuters.com

Strike briefly shuts down Israel over Teva Pharm job cuts

JERUSALEM, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Israel's main public-sector labour union went on a half-day strike on Sunday, closing the airport, the stock exchange, banks and all government ministries as part of a protest against mass layoffs planned by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.

cnn.com

Alec Baldwin's Trump trims the tree with 'losers' on 'SNL'

"Saturday Night Live" spoofed a festive White House with Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump decorating the Christmas "tree of shame" with "haters and losers" from 2017.

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Vietnam to name buyer of up to $5 bln stake in top brewer Sabeco

Ho CHI MINH CITY/SINGAPORE, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Vietnam is set to auction an up to $5 billion stake in top brewer Sabeco on Monday, with Thai Beverage the only potential bidder to have expressed interest in a majority stake.

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RPT-Wall St Week Ahead-Healthcare draws election-year worry, but 2016 repeat not seen

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - With another election year looming, investors in the healthcare sector are wary the coming months could reopen wounds suffered during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.

worldNews reuters.com

Tens of thousands of Indonesians rally over Trump's Jerusalem stance

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Muslims marched from the main mosque in Indonesia's capital to a square in Jakarta on Sunday to protest against U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

cnn.com

Trump transition accuses Mueller of improperly obtaining emails

Lawyers representing the Trump presidential transition wrote to members of Congress accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of obtaining unauthorized access to tens of thousands of transition emails, including what they claim to be documents protected by attorney-client privilege.

topNews reuters.com

Australia arrests man accused of trying to sell missile parts for North Korea

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian police said on Sunday they had arrested a man accused of working on the black market to sell missile components and coal on behalf of North Korea, the first charges ever brought in Australia over the sale of weapons of mass destruction.

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump administration bans selected words at health agencies: paper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has told agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services to avoid using certain words or phrases in official documents being drafted for next year's budget, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

cnn.com

Trump and Fox News feed anti-Mueller feedback loop

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump allies say Mueller unlawfully obtained thousands of emails

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An organization established for U.S. President Donald Trump's transition to the White House a year ago said on Saturday that the special counsel investigating allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election had obtained tens of thousands of emails unlawfully.

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump to say in security speech that China is competitor: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will lay out a new U.S. national security strategy on Monday based on his "America First" policy and will, among other items, make clear that China is a competitor, two senior U.S. officials said on Saturday.

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GM offers a sneak peek at new Chevy truck, loaded with profits

DETROIT, Dec 16 (Reuters) - General Motors Co offered a sneak peek on Saturday of the next generation Chevrolet Silverado pickup, designed to haul big payloads of profits for the automaker when it launches next year.

businessNews reuters.com

U.S. labor board adopts business-friendly 'micro union' test

(Reuters) - A U.S. labor agency on Friday made it tougher for workers to form so-called micro unions made up of small groups of a company's employees, reversing an Obama-era decision that had been sharply criticized by companies.

companyNews reuters.com

Odebrecht says dealings with Peru president were legitimate

LIMA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Brazilian builder Odebrecht said Saturday that its recently-disclosed business ties to embattled Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski were not part of the corrupt deals it struck with politicians that it has acknowledged to prosecutors.

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump defends tax plan as 'great Christmas gifts' to middle class

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday defended a Republican tax-cut plan against Democratic charges that it favors the rich, saying it will be "one of the great Christmas gifts" for the middle class with just days to go before Congress votes.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) nytimes.com

Op-Ed Columnist: A War Trump Won

The defeat of the Islamic State is part of a surprisingly effective Middle East approach.

Republican Party nytimes.com

Letters: The Republican Party in the Age of Trump

Readers respond to articles asserting that the party “is rotting” and “broke Congress.”

cnn.com

Trump: Tax bill is a great Christmas gift

President Donald Trump praises the GOP tax bill before departing for Camp David, saying it will mostly benefit middle-class Americans.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 3-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

companyNews reuters.com

Turner wins broadcast rights to Chilean soccer

SANTIAGO, Dec 16 (Reuters) - U.S. media company Turner Broadcasting has won exclusive rights to broadcast Chilean soccer matches, edging out competitor Fox Sports for the 15-year contract, the local soccer association said late on Friday.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 3-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Milleri would replace Del Vecchio at merged group if he died (Adds comment from Luxottica's spokesman)

companyNews reuters.com

Austria's conservative-far right government says will be reliable EU partner

VIENNA, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Austria's newly formed conservative far-right coalition government said on Saturday it would be a reliable partner in a European Union it seeks to reform to return more power to national governments.

companyNews reuters.com

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

cnn.com

He could tell Trump 'what the hell is going on in Chicago'

President Donald Trump wants to know, "What the hell is going on in Chicago?" For R&B artist BJ the Chicago Kid, who grew up on the South Side, it's not so simple.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Palestinian billionaire Masri detained in Saudi Arabia - sources

AMMAN, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Sabih al-Masri, Jordan's most influential businessman and the chairman of its largest lender Arab Bank, was detained in Saudi Arabia for questioning after a business trip to Riyadh, family sources and friends said on Saturday.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Milleri would replace Del Vecchio at merged group if he died (Adds Del Vecchio's comments)

companyNews reuters.com

NEWSMAKER-South Africa's nearly man Ramaphosa may lead country at last

JOHANNESBURG, Dec 16 (Reuters) - The nearly man of South African politics, Cyril Ramaphosa, is at last in with a chance of becoming president after being overlooked for years.

Presidential Election of 2016 nytimes.com

‘Trump, Trump, Trump!’ How a President’s Name Became a Racial Jeer

President Trump’s surname has become a racially charged taunt, or a braying assertion that the country is being taken back from forces that threaten it.

companyNews reuters.com

Roche, Shire court fight escalates over haemophilia drug

ZURICH, Dec 16 (Reuters) - Roche's patent dispute with London-listed Shire over the Swiss drugmaker's new haemophilia drug Hemlibra has escalated, with Shire filing a new motion in a U.S. court that Roche says aims to stop some patients from getting its medicine.

companyNews reuters.com

Britian eyes bespoke trade arrangement with EU - UK fin min

BEIJING, Dec 16 (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said it is likely Britain will want to negotiate a bespoke arrangement for future trade deals with the European Union.

United States Politics and Government nytimes.com

Trump Administration Adds Restrictions for Visa-Waiver Countries

Countries whose citizens can visit the United States without a visa must step up their information sharing and put in effect other security measurements, American officials said.

Environmental Protection Agency nytimes.com

E.P.A. Contractor Has Spent Past Year Scouring the Agency for Anti-Trump Officials

A top executive has submitted at least 40 Freedom of Information Act requests targeting employees known to be questioning management at the E.P.A.

companyNews reuters.com

Alaska oil companies settle dispute over Trans-Alaska Pipeline tariff charges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The state of Alaska will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in a settlement with oil companies over the value of North Slope crude oil shipped through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP), officials announced.

United States International Relations nytimes.com

Editorial: Donald Trump Seems Confused About Jerusalem

The president is showing how to take a vexing problem and make it harder.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Primero Extends Revolving Credit Facility To Dec. 22, 2017

* PRIMERO EXTENDS REVOLVING CREDIT FACILITY TO DECEMBER 22, 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

cnn.com

Sen. Kennedy: I feel bad for Trump judicial nominee

Republican Sen. John Kennedy, who questioned President Trump's judicial nominee Matthew Spencer Petersen, said he feels bad for Petersen but it is his job to vet federal judge nominees.

politicsNews reuters.com

Attorney General Sessions has lukewarm praise for FBI after Trump attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who oversees the Federal Bureau of Investigation, on Friday offered a tepid endorsement of the nation's leading law enforcement agency, which has been under attack by President Donald Trump and other Republicans.

companyNews reuters.com

REFILE-UPDATE 2-Elliott takes stake in Akamai Tech, says shares undervalued

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Hedge fund Elliott Management disclosed a 6.5 percent stake in Akamai Technologies on Friday, and said the company's $9.7 billion market value did not reflect the uses of its platform, which speeds up content delivery over the internet.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 3-Unilever to sell spreads business to KKR for $8 billion

* Co to return cash to shareholders barring other M&A (Adds Breakingviews link)

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Centene's Washington Subsidiary Reaches Agreement With State Of Washington

* CENTENE'S WASHINGTON SUBSIDIARY REACHES AGREEMENT WITH STATE OF WASHINGTON

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-U.S. Senate Democrats to force vote on FCC net neutrality repeal

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - The top U.S. Senate Democrat said on Friday he would force a vote on the Federal Communications Commission's decision to repeal landmark net neutrality rules, but the move was unlikely to block a ruling that could reshape the digital landscape.

companyNews reuters.com

Republican tax bill retains U.S. electric vehicle tax credit

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A compromise Republican tax bill released late Friday does not eliminate a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives had previously proposed.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Alaska Communications Comments On Schedule 13D Filing By Karen Singer Group

* ALASKA COMMUNICATIONS COMMENTS ON SCHEDULE 13D FILING BY KAREN SINGER GROUP

cnn.com

Bergen: It was this general's elite soldiers, not Trump, who defeated ISIS

Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi is virtually unknown outside Iraq, but he is a hero in his own country. When the three-star general walks into the lobby of a guesthouse in Baghdad he is quickly surrounded by well-wishers who want to take selfies with him. Iraqis know that the taciturn general was key to the long, grinding campaign that defeated ISIS.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-WOW Unlimited Media Closes Private Placement Of Convertible Debentures

* WOW UNLIMITED MEDIA INC. CLOSES PRIVATE PLACEMENT OF CONVERTIBLE DEBENTURES Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-P&G appoints Peltz to board despite losing proxy battle

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co said it appointed Nelson Peltz to its board despite the activist investor narrowly losing a months-long proxy fight, the biggest ever involving a U.S. company.

companyNews reuters.com

Fashion house Camuto Group taps turnaround advisor -source

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Camuto Group, the U.S. footwear, clothing and accessories wholesaler known for its Vince Camuto shoes, has hired a turnaround consultant after a deal to sell itself to Aldo Group Inc fell through, according to a person familiar with the matter.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Mountain Boy Minerals Board Has Appointed Mark Brown As CEO

* MOUNTAIN BOY MINERALS - BOARD HAS APPOINTED MARK BROWN AS PRESIDENT & CEO, AND WINNIE WONG, AS CFO AND CORPORATE SECRETARY Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Steel Dynamics Q3 Adjusted Earnings Per Share $0.66 Excluding Items

* Q3 EARNINGS PER SHARE VIEW $0.65 -- THOMSON REUTERS I/B/E/S

companyNews reuters.com

N.J. nuclear power subsidy bill could cost $320 mln per year

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Three state senators in New Jersey sponsored a bill that could cost electric ratepayers about $320 million a year to subsidize nuclear reactors that could otherwise be closed.

companyNews reuters.com

TD Ameritrade to start bitcoin futures trading on Monday

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Retail brokerage TD Ameritrade Holding Corp said on Friday it will allow clients to trade bitcoin futures on the newly minted CBOE Futures Exchange from Dec. 18.

technologyNews reuters.com

Embraer sees 2024 commercial launch for Uber flying cabs

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A network of electric aircraft Uber Technologies Inc is developing with Embraer SA is likely to launch commercially in 2024, the Brazilian planemaker's chief executive said on Friday, adding a year to the latest forecast from the ride-hailing company.

politicsNews reuters.com

Factbox: Trump on Twitter (December 15) - Quantico

The following statements were posted to the verified Twitter accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump, @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Embraer sees 2024 commercial launch for Uber flying cabs

SAO PAULO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - A network of electric aircraft Uber Technologies Inc is developing with Embraer SA is likely to launch commercially in 2024, the Brazilian planemaker's chief executive said on Friday, adding a year to the latest forecast from the ride-hailing company.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Quartz Mountain Says Robert Dickinson Named CEO And Executive Chairman

* QUARTZ MOUNTAIN ANNOUNCES MANAGEMENT CHANGES, PRIVATE PLACEMENT AND SHARE CONSOLIDATION

healthNews reuters.com

Judge blocks Trump administration rules on contraceptive coverage

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women's birth control.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Merit Medical Entered Into Third Amendment To Second Amended & Restated Credit Agreement & Incremental Increase Agreement

* MERIT MEDICAL SYSTEMS - ON DEC 13, MERIT ENTERED INTO THIRD AMENDMENT TO SECOND AMENDED & RESTATED CREDIT AGREEMENT & INCREMENTAL INCREASE AGREEMENT

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Applied DNA Q4 Loss Per Share $0.10

* APPLIED DNA ANNOUNCES SELECTED PRELIMINARY UNAUDITED FISCAL FOURTH QUARTER AND YEAR END RESULTS

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Baker Hughes A Ge Co Files For Debt Shelf Of Up To $3 Bln

* BAKER HUGHES A GE CO FILES FOR DEBT SHELF OF UP TO $3.0 BILLION - SEC FILING Source text for Eikon: (http://bit.ly/2kykFeR) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Leading U.S. antitrust senator urges hearing on Disney, Fox deal

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Senator Amy Klobuchar, the top Democrat on the Senate antitrust panel, urged the subcommittee on Friday to hold a hearing on Walt Disney Co's plan to buy a number of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc businesses.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Turkish banker on trial denies helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - An executive at Turkey's majority state-owned Halkbank took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Friday and denied charges that he participated in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.

cnn.com

Trump is reshaping the judiciary at a frenetic pace, despite the ABA calling some nominees unqualified

Under normal circumstances, confirmation hearings for district court judges aren't headline grabbers.  

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Discovery Air Announces Extension Of Operating Credit Facility With CIBC

* DISCOVERY AIR INC. ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF OPERATING CREDIT FACILITY WITH CIBC

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-P&G Says About 972.8 Mln Shares Were Cast In Favor Of Nelson Peltz's Election To Board

* P&G SAYS ABOUT 972.8 MILLION SHARES WERE CAST IN FAVOR OF NELSON PELTZ'S ELECTION TO BOARD, WHILE ABOUT 16.4 MILLION SHARES WERE WITHHELD - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2zfyTtB) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-P&G Says Board Increased Size To Thirteen From Eleven

* P&G SAYS ON DEC 15, BOARD OF PROCTER & GAMBLE COMPANY INCREASED SIZE OF BOARD FROM ELEVEN TO THIRTEEN DIRECTORS - SEC FILING Source:(http://bit.ly/2AByDUc) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

Procter & Gamble appoints Nelson Peltz to board

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co said it appointed activist investor Nelson Peltz to its board following a certified recount of shareholder votes cast at its annual meeting in October.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Facebook defends itself against critics of social media

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Facebook Inc on Friday struck back against scientific researchers and tech industry insiders who have criticized the world's biggest social media network and its competitors for transforming how people behave and express emotion.

cnn.com

Trump lawyers set for key meeting with special counsel

President Donald Trump's private lawyers are slated to meet with special counsel Robert Mueller and members of his team as soon as next week for what the President's team considers an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of the next steps in Mueller's probe, according to sources familiar with the matter.

domesticNews reuters.com

Judge blocks Trump administration rule on contraceptive coverage

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women's birth control.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Sino-Global Shipping America Files For Mixed Shelf Of Up to $50 Mln

* SINO-GLOBAL SHIPPING AMERICA LTD FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $50 MILLION - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2Ck0nx8) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-MDC Partners Files For Mixed Shelf Of Up to $1 Bln

* MDC PARTNERS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $1.0 BILLION - SEC FILING Source: (http://bit.ly/2zfQ924) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-American Lorain Says Has Regained Compliance With Requirements For Continued Listing On NYSE American

* AMERICAN LORAIN CORPORATION HAS REGAINED COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS FOR CONTINUED LISTING ON THE NYSE AMERICAN Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

US STOCKS-Wall St closes at records with tax overhaul in sight

* Indexes up: Dow 0.58 pct, S&P 0.9 pct, Nasdaq 1.17 pct (Updates to close, adds commentary, volume numbers)

worldNews reuters.com

Pence trip to Middle East overshadowed by Trump's Jerusalem decision

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will underscore the U.S. partnership with Israel during a trip to the Middle East next week while seeking to shore up U.S. relations with the Arab world after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Perma-Pipe International Qtrly Loss Per Share $0.43

* PERMA-PIPE INTERNATIONAL HOLDINGS ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER FINANCIAL RESULTS

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Visteon To Transfer Stock Listing To Nasdaq

* VISTEON CORP - WILL TRANSFER ITS STOCK LISTING FROM NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE TO NASDAQ GLOBAL SELECT MARKET (NASDAQ), COMMENCING DEC. 27, 2017

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Merrimack Pharmaceuticals Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $150 Mln

* MERRIMACK PHARMACEUTICALS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $150 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text :[http://bit.ly/2yGsbJv] Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Calpine Corp Announces Closings Of Senior Secured Notes Offering And Term Loan Facility

* CALPINE CORPORATION ANNOUNCES CLOSINGS OF SENIOR SECURED NOTES OFFERING AND TERM LOAN FACILITY Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Metlife Says In 2018 Baseline Capital Management Plan Would See Return Close To $5 Bln To Common Shareholders

* METLIFE INC - EXPECT TO HAVE CASH COMMITMENTS OF BETWEEN $2.0 BILLION & $3.0 BILLION OVER 2017 AND 2018 RELATING TO LIABILITY MANAGEMENT TRANSACTIONS

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Navidea Biopharmaceuticals Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $100 Mln

* NAVIDEA BIOPHARMACEUTICALS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $100 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text :[http://bit.ly/2BdXkXV] Further company coverage:

cnn.com

Trump lets off steam on a cloudy Friday in DC

Even presidents aren't immune to some holiday stress. With a bruising week nearly over, President Donald Trump sought to let off steam Friday.

Sexual Harassment nytimes.com

Accused of Sexual Harassment, Andrea Ramsey Ends Kansas Congressional Run

Ms. Ramsey, a newcomer to politics, was running to unseat a Republican. She denies that she harassed a male subordinate, as alleged in a 2005 lawsuit.

politicsNews reuters.com

U.S. judge to lift house arrest for former Trump campaign manager Manafort

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. District Court judge on Friday said she would release former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort from house arrest once he meets certain conditions, expressing satisfaction that the $10 million he agreed to forfeit would be available if he ever failed to appear for court proceedings.

healthNews reuters.com

U.S. judge blocks Trump administration birth control rules

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Friday blocked President Donald Trump's administration from moving forward with new rules that undermined an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide health insurance that covers women's birth control.

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump officials brief Hill staff on Saudi reactors, enrichment a worry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Trump administration officials briefed congressional staff this week on how the White House was considering non-proliferation standards in a potential agreement to sell nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia, but did not indicate whether allowing uranium enrichment would be part of any deal, aides said.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (2010) nytimes.com

Court Temporarily Blocks Trump Order Against Contraceptive Coverage

A federal judge in Philadelphia allowed an Obama-era rule, generally requiring employers and insurers to pay for contraceptive costs, to continue.

companyNews reuters.com

Speculators raise net-short dollar bets to $7.81 bln -CFTC, Reuters

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Speculators raised their net-short bets on the U.S. dollar to $7.81 billion in the latest week, the 22nd straight week of bearish bets against the U.S. currency, according to data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commision calculated by Reuters.

companyNews reuters.com

Chile stocks mark highest weekly gain in 8 years

SANTIAGO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Chile's IPSA stock index ended up 7 percent on the week on Friday, its highest weekly gain in eight years and coming ahead of Sunday's presidential election, as the price of copper, the country's main export, rose.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Eric Watson Reports 15.1 Pct Stake In Long Island Iced Tea

* ERIC J. WATSON REPORTS A 15.1 PERCENT STAKE IN LONG ISLAND ICED TEA CORP AS OF DECEMBER 6, 2017 - SEC FILING

companyNews reuters.com

Pennsylvania man admits to trading on tips about drug company

Dec 15 (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he traded on confidential, inside information that a former Celator Pharmaceuticals Inc employee supplied him, including that the company now owned by Jazz Pharmaceuticals Plc was planning to be acquired.

companyNews reuters.com

Chef Batali fired from 'The Chew' after sex harassment accusations

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - ABC Television Network said on Friday that it fired celebrity chef Mario Batali from its daytime cooking show, "The Chew," after he was accused of sexual misconduct.

companyNews reuters.com

Italy's CDP, Intesa set for role in ArcelorMittal bid for Ilva -source

ROME, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Italy's state holding company CDP and Intesa Sanpaolo have signed a non-binding agreement to join ArcelorMittal's bid to buy Italian steelmaker Ilva, a source close to the matter said on Friday.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Lockheed to partner with Aerion to develop supersonic business jet

WASHINGTON Dec 15 (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp, the maker of the F-35 and F-22 fighter jets, is partnering with plane maker Aerion Corp to develop the world's first supersonic business jet.

companyNews reuters.com

Blockchain consortium Hyperledger loses members, funding -documents

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - More than 15 members of blockchain consortium Hyperledger have either cut their financial support for the project or quit the group over the past few months, according to documents seen by Reuters.

companyNews reuters.com

GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares gain; U.S. yield curve flattest in decade

* Dollar index firmer on tax bill optimism (Updates to Europe close, adds commentary)

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Luxottica CEO exits eyewear giant ahead of Essilor merger

* Move comes as proposed merger approaches (Adds details, comment)

companyNews reuters.com

Onex-backed Canadian renewables firm Pinnacle set to list -sources

TORONTO, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Wood pellets producer Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc, owned by Canadian private equity firm Onex Corp, wants to raise about C$175 million ($136 million) through a Toronto initial public offering (IPO), people familiar with the matter told Reuters this week.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Trillium Therapeutics Inc Files For Mixed Shelf Of Upto $150 Mln

* TRILLIUM THERAPEUTICS INC FILES FOR MIXED SHELF OF UPTO $150 MILLION - SEC FILING Source text : http://bit.ly/2jZxGi0 Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

Conn. Millstone nuclear plant seen profitable for years -report

Dec 15 (Reuters) - Dominion Energy Inc's Millstone nuclear power plant is expected to remain profitable through 2035, according to a study released by Connecticut energy regulators on Thursday, making it less likely the company will shut the reactors early.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Sonic Director Frank Richardson Reports Sale Of 50,000 Shares At $28-$28.39/Share

* SONIC CORP DIRECTOR FRANK RICHARDSON REPORTS OPEN MARKET SALE OF 50,000 SHARES PRICED BETWEEN $28.00 TO $28.39/SHARE- SEC FILING Source text : ( http://bit.ly/2CixX6F ) Further company coverage:

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 4-CSX shares derail after CEO takes unexpected medical leave

Dec 15 (Reuters) - CSX Corp shares skidded as much as 10 percent on Friday, wiping out $4 billion in market value, as the No. 3 U.S. railroad by revenue sought to assure investors its turnaround would progress despite the unexpected medical leave of its chief executive officer.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Freddie Mac Prices $1.3 Billion Multifamily K-Deal, K-071

* FREDDIE MAC - EXPECTS TO ISSUE APPROXIMATELY $1.3 BILLION IN K CERTIFICATES WHICH ARE EXPECTED TO SETTLE ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 22, 2017 Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

politicsNews reuters.com

Trump officials brief senators on Saudi reactors, enrichment a worry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Trump administration officials briefed senators this week on how the White House was considering non-proliferation standards in a potential agreement to sell nuclear reactor technology to Saudi Arabia, but did not indicate whether allowing uranium enrichment would be part of any deal, congressional aides said.

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Fed's Quarles to recuse himself from Wells Fargo matters

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Randal Quarles, the top Federal Reserve official tasked with policing Wall Street, said on Friday that he would recuse himself from any matters concerning Wells Fargo & Co, the nation's third largest bank.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Azimut Announces $1.55 Million Flow-Through Private Placement Financing

* AZIMUT ANNOUNCES $1.55 MILLION FLOW-THROUGH PRIVATE PLACEMENT FINANCING

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Citigroup Inc credit card delinquency and charge-offs for November

* CITIGROUP INC - CREDIT CARD CHARGE-OFFS 2.49 PERCENT IN NOVEMBER VERSUS 2.38 PERCENT IN OCTOBER - SEC FILING

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 8-Oil holds below 2-year highs with focus on U.S. output

* U.S. drillers cut rigs for first week in six - Baker Hughes (Updates prices, adds Baker Hughes data)

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-D.R. Horton says Chairman Donald Horton's 2017 Total Compensation Was $19.3 Mln

* D.R. HORTON INC - CHAIRMAN DONALD R. HORTON'S 2017 TOTAL COMPENSATION WAS $19.3 MILLION VERSUS $17.8 MILLION - SEC FILING‍​

companyNews reuters.com

Fed's Quarles to recuse himself from Wells Fargo matters

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Governor Randal Quarles on Friday said he would recuse himself from any Fed matters concerning Wells Fargo & Co.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Verifone Systems Unit Enters Asset Purchase Agreement With Curb Technologies

* VERIFONE SYSTEMS SAYS ON DEC 11, UNIT ENTERED INTO ASSET PURCHASE AGREEMENT WITH CURB TECHNOLOGIES - SEC FILING

companyNews reuters.com

US STOCKS-Wall St at record on rising hopes of tax overhaul

* Indexes up: Dow 0.6 pct, S&P 0.84 pct, Nasdaq 0.99 pct (Updates to early afternoon trading)

healthNews reuters.com

Tobacco industry trumps as India court cancels stringent health labeling rules

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian court on Friday quashed federal rules that mandated stringent graphic health warnings on tobacco products, lawyers involved in the case said, in a decision seen as a major victory for the tobacco industry and a setback for health advocates.

companyNews reuters.com

Amazon becomes Mexico's top online retailer in 2017 -report

MEXICO CITY, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc likely doubled its sales to become the biggest internet retailer in Mexico this year, helping to grow the country's nascent e-commerce market by a third, according to a report by market research firm Euromonitor International.

companyNews reuters.com

U.S. oil drillers cut rigs for first week in six -Baker Hughes

By Scott DiSavino Dec 15 (Reuters) - U.S. energy companies this week cut oil rigs for the first time in six weeks in spite of prices rising close to their highest in over two years and drillers starting to boost spending plans for next year. The oil rig count fell by four to 747 in the week to Dec. 15, General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm said in its closely followed report on Friday. The U.S. rig count, an early indicator of future

companyNews reuters.com

GRAPHIC-Wall St rally sets the stage for big IPO year in 2018

Dec 15 (Reuters) - A relentless bull-run in U.S. stock indexes this year has set the stage for a strong IPO market in 2018, with several multi-billion dollar firms including Airbnb and Spotify widely expected to grab headlines with their offerings.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-Hive Blockchain Announces Upsize Of Financing To $115 Mln

* HIVE BLOCKCHAIN ANNOUNCES UPSIZE OF FINANCING TO $115 MILLION INCLUDING MINIMUM INVESTMENT OF $3 MILLION BY GENESIS MINING

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 2-Unilever to sell spreads business to KKR for $8 billion

* Co to return cash to shareholders barring other M&A (Updates with Unilever confirmation)

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 7-Oil holds below 2-year highs as focus turns to U.S. output

* Coming Up: Baker Hughes U.S. oil rig count at 1 p.m./1800 GMT (Adds quote, updates prices)

companyNews reuters.com

LPC: Petsmart's loan under pressure after weak 3Q earnings

NEW YORK, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Pet supplies retailer Petsmart’s US$4.2bn leveraged loan has fallen in the US secondary market after the company reported sluggish third quarter results on Monday and investors anticipate a weak fourth quarter, two sources close to the matter said.

cnn.com

Trump called Putin yesterday to thank him after the Russian president praised him

President Donald Trump said Friday that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday to thank him for comments he made about the President's efforts to grow the American economy.

companyNews reuters.com

Brazil telecoms regulator Anatel still against Oi restructuring plan

BRASILIA, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian telecoms regulator Anatel still plans to vote against a plan put forth by carrier Oi SA to exit bankruptcy protection, the body's president, Juarez Quadros, said on Friday.

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-NGEx Announces Increase In Private Placement To C$12.5 Mln

* NGEX ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN PRIVATE PLACEMENT TO CDN $12.5 MILLION

companyNews reuters.com

UPDATE 1-Tobacco industry trumps as India court cancels stringent health labelling rules

* Court said federal rule on bigger tobacco warnings arbitrary

companyNews reuters.com

BRIEF-American Express reports card member loans stats for November

* AMERICAN EXPRESS-USCS CARD MEMBER LOANS NET WRITE-OFF RATE – PRINCIPAL ONLY 1.9 PERCENT AT NOV END VERSUS 1.8 PERCENT AT OCT END