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Curated top stories
- The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed a budget bill that included significant tax cuts for businesses and high-income individuals. The tax plan will cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent, and the individual tax rate from almost 40 percent to 35 percent for Americans who earn $418,400 or more a year. Controversial legislation typically requires at least 61 votes to pass in the U.S. Senate. However, this tax plan is included in a budget plan, allowing the bill to pass by a simple majority in the Senate, which the Republican party currently has.
- Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont is expected to call a snap election in a bid to persuade Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy not to impose direct rule on the region, according to Reuters. Regional newspaper La Vanguardia reports that Puigdemont plans to schedule the elections for December 20 – though Rajoy’s cancellation of a speech today has raised concerns he might change his mind. Rajoy said last week that he would impose direct rule on the region following its disputed referendum on independence.
- A protester has been killed and others injured in clashes between police and opposition supporters as Kenya votes. A rerun of the presidential election is going ahead today despite being boycotted by the main opposition leader. The supreme court overturned the initial results – which awarded victory to President Uhuru Kenyatta on August 8. Full story.
- Thailand will begin its royal cremation ceremony for King Bhumibol Adulyadej after a year-long mourning period. The ceremony, held in Bangkok’s old royal quarter, is said to have drawn in as many as 250,000 people from across Thailand. The revered king reigned for seven decades.
- Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi rejected the Kurdish government’s offer to freeze the result of its independence referendum, saying that Baghdad won’t accept anything short of canceling the vote’s result. The Kurds had proposed a dialogue with Baghdad and a halt to all military operations following days of clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
What we’re reading
- According to a New York Times op-ed, “dubious” independent news sites and partisan blogs have been publishing content supporting current president Rodrigo Duterte since his election.
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