12.4.2017

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12.04.2017
NEED TO KNOW.
Senate Passes Sweeping Tax Reform Bill.
In the most significant legislative action to date in the 115th Congress, the Senate passed a sweeping tax reform bill that would lower both the individual and corporate income tax rates. The changes to the tax system would be the biggest since 1986, and follows the House which passed its version of tax reform in mid-November (see major differences). The biggest changes in the Senate bill include dropping the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% while allowing companies to bring back cashed stored overseas - US firms have about $1.3T in cash stored outside of the country - at a tax rate of 14.5%. The bill also lowers the individual income rate across the board, though the rates revert back to the current structure after ten years, in 2026. The Senate and House will hammer out differences before sending a final bill to the President for signature.

College Football Playoffs Set.
Clemson, Oklahoma, Georgia, and Alabama will compete for this year's college football national championship after the College Football Playoff selection committee released its final rankings yesterday. Despite not winning their conference championship, Alabama is the odds on favorite to win the national championship at 11/2, followed by Clemson (12/5), Oklahoma (13/5), and Georgia (15/4). The semifinals include a rematch of last year's national championship game, where Clemson beat Alabama 35-31. Alabama edged out Ohio State, who won their conference title against Wisconsin, 27-21, to get the final spot. The rest of the bowl lineup was announced (see full list here) with some of the best match-ups including Ohio State vs. USC in the Cotton Bowl, Wisconsin vs. Miami in the Orange Bowl, and Penn State vs. Washington in the Fiesta Bowl. In related news, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher - who won a national championship with the school in 2013 - resigned to become head coach at Texas A&M. 

CVS Buys Aetna for $68B.

In a deal with the potential to transform the US health-care landscape, CVS has agreed to buy Aetna for about $69 billion in cash and stock. The sale would combine one of the country's largest insurers - Aetna is third-largest insurer, providing health insurance for over 22 million people - with one of the largest retail pharmacy chains. Executives from the company said the deal would combine Aetna's medical expertise with the pharmacy chain's near-ubiquitous presence, though its size may test the limits of the Trump administration's antitrust concerns. The two companies have a combined annual revenue of over $241B (CVS generated almost $178B last year), and the deal is the largest corporate acquisition in the past year. 
 
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IN THE KNOW.

Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> Kennedy Center Honorees include LL Cool J, Lionel Richie & Gloria Estefan; President Trump not in attendance (More)
> Famous Metropolitan Opera conductor James Levine suspended over multiple sexual abuse allegations (More)
> ABC News reporter Brian Ross suspended 4 weeks after erroneous report on Michael Flynn (More)
 

Science & Technology.

Researchers develop biocompatible 'ink' for 3D printing (More)
Nine nations plus EU agree to ban fishing in Arctic for 16 years, taking 'science first' approach (More)
Apple CEO Tim Cook says Chinese app developers made $17B through iTunes in 2017, a quarter of all app developer earnings (More)
 

Business & Markets.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission clears way for firms to launch bitcoin options trading (More)
PayPal found evidence of a data breach in TIO Networks, a payment processor acquired in July; 1.6M accounts affected (More)
Farmers Business Network - the "LinkedIn for Farmers" which helps increase profits through analytics and collaboration - raises $110M (More)
 

Politics & World Affairs.

US quits global compact on migration, says it will chart its own path (More)
Former NSA chief Michael Flynn pleads guilty to lying to FBI  (More) | Mueller dismisses agent over anti-Trump tweets (More)
Yemen rebels alliance falls apart quickly after 48 hours of bombings (More)
ETCETERA.
There's a Christmas tree shortage causing prices to climb across the country.

Billboard's 'Woman of the Year' is Selena Gomez (full interview).

Reuters' aerial photos of the year.

The New York Times' 10 best books of 2017 (paywall).

The 50 best Christmas movies of all time.

The Silverdome is still standing after failed implosion attempt (w/ video).

Sophia and Jackson top list of most popular baby names for 2017.

According to studies, marriage may save you from dementia.

Clickbait: DMX's cover of 'Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer' is a modern Christmas classic.

Historybook: 1st issue of Los Angeles Times published (1881); HBD Jeff Bridges (1949); HBD JAY-Z (1969); President Bush sends 28,000 troops to Somalia (1992).
"BE MORE CONCERNED WITH YOUR CHARACTER THAN YOUR REPUTATION."
-JAY-Z

 
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