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Breakfast Briefing: Crypto Rally, Apple Coughs Up & Tencent Rockets

Apple Returns Overseas Cash

Apple has agreed to invest $30bn in the US and pay $38bn in tax to the government. 

Editor’s Remarks: The tech giant announced that it will repatriate hundreds of billions of dollars that it currently holds in various offshore accounts. A total of $38bn in tax will be paid by the company on the sum, with a further $30bn pledged towards domestic jobs, manufacturing and data centres. The capital expenditures will be rolled out over the next five years and are estimated to create around 20,000 jobs. On the news, Apple’s share price rose 1.7% as it was widely perceived that the move would reduce the flak the company has recently been receiving for its tax avoidance schemes.

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Cryptos Rally Slightly

Following one of the worst crypto crashes since 2015, cryptocurrencies posted moderate recoveries.

Editor’s Remarks: Bitcoin dipped into four-figure territory at the nadir of the short-lived crash that many touted as the “end of cryptocurrencies”. However, most major currencies were up yesterday as they commenced a recovery. Ripple, which fell as low as $0.90, was up to $1.40 by midday, while NEO resumed its upward trend. Bitcoin’s recovery has been notably weaker than its smaller cousins, some of whom are up 60% in the last 24 hours against bitcoin. Ethereum gained back some of the ground it lost too and is settling in once more above the $1,000 mark.

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May Meets Macron

The UK prime minister agreed to pay £44.5m towards tighter border security at Calais.

Editor’s Remarks: The French president arrived in the UK for the Anglo-French summit amid widespread complaints from the Tory party about just why Britain is paying another £44.5m for tighter security in France. One Tory MP pointed out that this addition brings the total figure the UK has paid to France in recent years up to £170m. France, meanwhile, says that the amount is necessary because the migrants in Calais are trying to get to the UK, who must therefore contribute towards their costs. The talks were also consumed by the imminent task of reaching consensus over the UK’s trade deal with the UK after Brexit goes through.

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Tencent Extends Facebook Lead

Tencent has shot past Facebook to become the world’s most valuable social network.

Editor’s Remarks: Although Tencent briefly overtook Facebook in terms of market cap in November, the recent selloff of Facebook shares prompted the Chinese tech titan to regain the lead. Facebook investors responded negatively to news that Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to highlight family and friend-based content on the newsfeed would reduce the amount of time people spent on the site. Shares in Facebook have fallen 5% since that announcement, enabling Tencent to gain a $19bn lead over the US company. Tencent’s growth has been spurred on by its diversification away from its flagship messaging app, WeChat, and into video games.

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Sweden Issues War Pamphlets

The Swedish government is preparing a brochure on how to act in wartime due to fears over Russia.

Editor’s Remarks: The pamphlet is to be sent to 4.7 million homes and will explain how Swedes can participate in a “total defence” during a war and ensure that their basic needs – water, food and shelter – are tended to. The last time a document such as this was given out to Swedish citizens was in 1961 at the height of the Cold War. In recent years, Sweden has upped its military spending, reintroduced conscription and placed a garrison on the island of Gotland as fears over Russian aggression have mounted. For the first time ever, the country’s four right-leaning opposition parties agree that Sweden must now join NATO.

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