News Tidbits for Friday, December 1

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Republican Tax Bill will Increase Deficit

Source: The New York Times


The sweeping tax bill proposed by the Republican party in the United States seemed headed for certain victory on Thursday, but came to a halt as senators rushed to find ways to raise several hundred billion dollars after some members objected to moving forward without a plan to safeguard against ballooning the deficit. An analysis by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that the tax cuts would add $1 trillion to budget deficits over the next 10 years. Lawmakers are now studying alternatives and a final vote on the bill is expected today after a series of amendments are considered.

Japanese Emperor to Abdicate Throne

Source: The New York Times


The emperor of Japan will step down on April 30, 2019, the first abdication by a Japanese monarch in two centuries, the prime minister of Japan said on Friday. Emperor Akihito, 83, said last year that he planned to step down before his death, and Friday’s announcement set the date.

The emperor had been a godlike figure in Japan before the end of World War II, but the American victors stripped the throne of all political power. Emperor Akihito has a strictly ceremonial role but is a respected and popular figure in Japan.

Japan’s Parliament passed a law in June that allows the emperor to retire, and proposed considering allowing the position to be passed to a female descendant. Emperor Akihito’s retirement would allow his eldest son, Crown Prince Naruhito, 57, to succeed him.

G.M. Unveils Driverless Cars

Source: The New York Times


On Thursday, G.M. will demonstrate its growing fleet of computer-operated, battery-powered Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco to dozens of investment analysts, as they seek to establish leadership in the hotly contested race to bring driverless cars to market.

The company wants to prove that self-driving models are getting closer to general use. G.M.’s president, Daniel Ammann, told journalists that the cars would be ready for consumer applications in “quarters, not years.”

Other automakers, such as Ford Motor, Volkswagen and Toyota, are pushing to accelerate their own electric and autonomous-vehicle programs, and there is competition from Silicon Valley, such as Google, Apple, Uber and the electric-car maker Tesla.

World Cup Draw Today

Source: The New York Times


All eyes are on the Kremlin today, where the 2018 World Cup draw will take place. Each of the 32 teams has been assigned to one of four pots, based on its world ranking. Brazil is in Pot 1. The draw will take place at 1 p.m.

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