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6 things you need to know today

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Published on: Thursday, December 21, 2017

  • The Republican-controlled US House of Representatives has given final approval to the biggest overhaul of the US tax code in 30 years, sending a sweeping $US1.5 trillion ($1.96 trillion) bill to President Donald Trump for his signature. The bill will slash taxes for corporations and the wealthy while giving mixed, temporary tax relief to middle-class Americans.
  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's much-hyped 'Snowy 2.0' expansion has been given the green light, costing at least 50% more than first thought. The government will now proceed with the ambitious plan – nine months after the iconic Snowy Mountains scheme emerged as a solution to the country's fragmented and increasingly unreliable energy network. The expanded Snowy Hydro project is expected to be operational from 2024.
  • Regulators in New Zealand have blocked ANZ’s sale of its New-Zealand finance business UDC Finance to Chinese logistics company HNA Group. ANZ says New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office had declined HNA’s application to buy the business for $NZ660 million ($A626 million) and unless HNA could get the decision overturned the sale will not proceed.
  • The Vatican has hired a digital agency to work on communications after Pope Francis called for a reform. 'Vatican News' will be its new portal and will be put together by a multilingual editorial team, as part of a move to deliver a rich source of multimedia content to people all over the world.
  • An analysis of the latest census by SGS Economics shows that more than 100,000 people now ride their bikes to work. The typical bike commuter is a male, white collar worker who lives four to eight kilometers from the CBD. Oh, they also earn significantly more than the average person!
  • Overnight, the Dow Jones index, fell 0.1% at 24,727, the S&P 500 fell 0.1% at 2,679, and the Nasdaq remained flat at 6,961. In Europe, the FTSE fell 0.3% to 7,525, the German DAX was down 1.1% at 13,069. The ASX SPI 200 finished up lower on 0.4% at 6,057.

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