A curtain parts to reveal U.S. President Donald Trump onstage with Attorney General Jeff Sessions (R) as he participates in a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Trump and the Republicans appear to have enough support to push through the controversial bill. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Trump looks to be in box seat on huge tax reform push



Republicans working to execute their first major legislative achievement of Donald Trump's presidency appear to have secured the votes to pass a huge tax overhaul that Mr Trump hoped to present to the American people for Christmas.

"This is happening. Tax reform under Republican control of Washington is happening," the House speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin told rank-and-file members. "Most critics out there didn't think it could happen. And now we're on the doorstep of something truly historic."

It is the widest-ranging reshaping of the tax code in three decades and is expected to add to the nation's US$20 trillion debt. The tax cuts are projected to add $1.46tn over a decade. The Republicans plan to muscle it through Congress next week before its year-end break.

Under the bill, the current 35 per cent rate on corporations would fall to 21 per cent, the crown jewel of the measure for many Republicans. Mr Trump and Republican leaders had set 20 per cent as their goal but added a point to free money for other tax cuts that won over wavering policymakers in final talks.

The legislation would lower taxes on the richest Americans. Benefits for most other taxpayers would be smaller.

The bill would repeal an important part of the former US president Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act - the requirement that all Americans have health insurance or face a penalty - as the GOP, as the Republican party is commonly referred to, looks to unravel a law it failed to repeal and replace this past summer.

Only at the weekend did Republicans cement the needed support for the overhaul, securing endorsements from wavering senators.

Marco Rubio of Florida relented in his high-profile opposition after negotiators expanded the tax credit that parents can claim for their children. He said he would vote for the measure this week.

Mr Rubio had been holding out for a bigger child credit for low-income families. After he got it, he tweeted that the change was "a solid step toward broader reforms which are both pro-growth and pro-worker".

Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, the only Republican to vote against the senate version earlier this month, made the surprise announcement that he would back the legislation. Mr Corker, the chairman of the senate foreign relations committee, has repeatedly warned that the nation's growing debt is the most serious threat to national security.

"I realise this is a bet on our country's enterprising spirit, and that is a bet I am willing to make," Mr Corker said.

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The White House said Mr Trump "looks forward to fulfilling the promise he made to the American people to give them a tax cut by the end of the year".

The bill embodies a long-standing Republican philosophy that a substantial tax break for businesses will trigger economic growth and job creation for Americans in a trickle-down economy.

Sceptical Democrats are likely to oppose the legislation unanimously.

"Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits," said the senate minority leader Chuck Schumer of New York. "It is just the opposite of what America needs, and Republicans will rue the day they pass this."

The bill would drop the present 39.6 per cent top rate on individuals to 37 per cent. The standard deduction - used by around two-thirds of households - would be nearly doubled, to $24,000 for married couples.

The $1,000-per-child tax deduction would grow to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in IRS refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. Parents would have to provide children's Social Security numbers to receive the child tax credit, a measure intended to deny the credit to people who are in the US illegally.

Those who itemise would lose some deductions. The deduction that millions use in connection with state and local income, property and sales taxes would be capped at $10,000. That is especially important to residents of high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey and California. Deductions for medical expenses that policymakers once considered eliminating would be retained.

The bill would allow homeowners to deduct interest only on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage, down from the current limit of $1 million.

People who inherit fortunes would get a big break. The bill would double the exemption, meaning the estate tax would apply only to the portion of an estate over $22m for married couples.

The team

Videographer: Jear Velasquez 

Photography: Romeo Perez 

Fashion director: Sarah Maisey 

Make-up: Gulum Erzincan at Art Factory 

Models: Meti and Clinton at MMG 

Video assistant: Zanong Maget 

Social media: Fatima Al Mahmoud  

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

SPEC SHEET: APPLE M3 MACBOOK AIR (13")

Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

Naga

Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

Juliet, Naked
Dir: Jesse Peretz
Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Rose Byrne, Ethan Hawke​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​Two stars

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  

MADAME WEB

Director: S.J. Clarkson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tahar Rahim, Sydney Sweeney

Rating: 3.5/5

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

Iraq negotiating over Iran sanctions impact
  • US sanctions on Iran’s energy industry and exports took effect on Monday, November 5.
  • Washington issued formal waivers to eight buyers of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue limited imports. Iraq did not receive a waiver.
  • Iraq’s government is cooperating with the US to contain Iranian influence in the country, and increased Iraqi oil production is helping to make up for Iranian crude that sanctions are blocking from markets, US officials say.
  • Iraq, the second-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, pumped last month at a record 4.78 million barrels a day, former Oil Minister Jabbar Al-Luaibi said on Oct. 20. Iraq exported 3.83 million barrels a day last month, according to tanker tracking and data from port agents.
  • Iraq has been working to restore production at its northern Kirkuk oil field. Kirkuk could add 200,000 barrels a day of oil to Iraq’s total output, Hook said.
  • The country stopped trucking Kirkuk oil to Iran about three weeks ago, in line with U.S. sanctions, according to four people with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t allowed to speak to media.
  • Oil exports from Iran, OPEC’s third-largest supplier, have slumped since President Donald Trump announced in May that he’d reimpose sanctions. Iran shipped about 1.76 million barrels a day in October out of 3.42 million in total production, data compiled by Bloomberg show.
  • Benchmark Brent crude fell 47 cents to $72.70 a barrel in London trading at 7:26 a.m. local time. U.S. West Texas Intermediate was 25 cents lower at $62.85 a barrel in New York. WTI held near the lowest level in seven months as concerns of a tightening market eased after the U.S. granted its waivers to buyers of Iranian crude.
The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 620hp from 5,750-7,500rpm
Torque: 760Nm from 3,000-5,750rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh1.05 million ($286,000)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

DUNE: PART TWO

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Timothee Chamalet, Zendaya, Austin Butler

Rating: 5/5

‘White Elephant’

Director: Jesse V Johnson
Stars: Michael Rooker, Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Olga Kurylenko
Rating: 3/5

The low down

Producers: Uniglobe Entertainment & Vision Films

Director: Namrata Singh Gujral

Cast: Rajkummar Rao, Nargis Fakhri, Bo Derek, Candy Clark

Rating: 2/5

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

RESULTS

Mumbai Indians 181-4 (20 ovs)
Kolkata Knight Riders 168-6 (20ovs)

Mumbai won by 13 runs

Rajasthan Royals 152-9 (20 ovs)
Kings XI Punjab 155-4 (18.4 ovs)

Kings XI Punjab won by 6 wickets

PROFILE OF HALAN

Started: November 2017

Founders: Mounir Nakhla, Ahmed Mohsen and Mohamed Aboulnaga

Based: Cairo, Egypt

Sector: transport and logistics

Size: 150+ employees

Investment: approximately $8 million

Investors include: Singapore’s Battery Road Digital Holdings, Egypt’s Algebra Ventures, Uber co-founder and former CTO Oscar Salazar


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