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Apple’s Tim Cook continued speaking out against the EU’s decision to levy a €13bn back taxes penalty on his company, calling the decision “total political crap”.
The Apple chief also said his company was prepared to repatriate its immense offshore cash pile — which stands at $215bn — and had set aside “several billion dollars for the US for payment as soon as we repatriate”. That’s a reversal of his previous statement that the company bringing its cash back to home was contingent on a new US president introducing corporate tax reform, lowering the rate from 35 per cent. Despite his criticism, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has made an audacious and revolutionary move with her finding against Apple — much in keeping with Steve Jobs’s style, notes the FT’s John Gapper.
Meanwhile, US lawmakers are fuming about the EU decision, even though many of them were previously outraged by the company’s aggressive tactics to avoid paying tax in the first place. But there’s a bottom-line element to the outrage as well: many Washington policymakers say the money the EU is trying to extract from Apple should be going to the US Treasury instead. (FT, NYT)
In the news
IMF urges ‘forceful action’ from G20 to escape low-growth rut The International Monetary Fund has a blunt end-of-summer message for leaders gathering for the G20 summit: the global economy needs “forceful action” to get out of its low-growth rut. The IMF also called on world leaders to do more to make the case for globalisation.
London’s grip on global FX trading hit by Asia London’s lead when it comes to global currencies trading is being eroded as trading tilts towards Asia. The three largest Asian trading hubs — Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore — captured much of London’s loss in trading volumes. (FT)
China pulls Cambodia closer in diplomatic embrace China’s growing ties with Cambodia are part of its effort to quell regional opposition to its sea territory claims across Asia — and are likely to raise concerns among their neighbours and the US. (FT)
Japan’s Abe creates cabinet post focusing on Russia The Japanese prime minister has appointed a special liaison to Russia, a move to help boost economic co-operation that will focus in part on energy development. (NAR)
China’s P2P market slammed China’s self-styled “Warren Buffett”, the billionaire businessman Guo Guangchang, on Wednesday called the country’s $65.9bn peer-to-peer lending market “basically a scam”, becoming the latest high-profile executive to attack an industry that has been plagued by scandal. (FT)
Explosion destroys rocket at SpaceX launch pad Elon Musk’s space business ambitions have received another blow, this one from an explosion of a rocket and satellite on a launch pad in Florida. It’s the second time in little more than a year that the company has lost one of its rockets. The scene was captured on video. (FT, ABC News)
Pregnant woman in Singapore contracts Zika The largest single outbreak of the disease in Asia is getting bigger: the total number of confirmed cases has reached 115, and authorities said a pregnant woman was among those recently diagnosed. (FT)
EpiPen price increases could mean more riches for executives Mylan, the company behind the furore surrounding the price of an allergy injection in the US, is under fire for its claim that the price increases were for the benefit of shareholders. Proxy filings show the company’s top executives stood to gain if its earnings and stock price met a predetermined goal. (NYT)
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It's a big day for
Jobs The US is set to release new jobs data, with a report that could end up playing an outside role with the Federal Reserve when central bankers meet to consider another interest rate increase next month. (FT)
Europe EU foreign ministers are scheduled to meet on Friday and Saturday to discuss the fallout from the UK’s vote to leave the EU. (FT)
Food for thought
Throwing out the rule book For decades China has trumpeted its aversion to traditional realpolitik including foreign military intervention, building foreign bases, developing spheres of influence, creating buffer zones and forging alliances, as outdated relics of colonialism. But things are changing. (FT)
Economists discuss the predictions that divide them Why can’t economists agree on what’s holding back growth? It depends who you ask, of course. (NYT)
Pope Francis says destroying the environment is a sin Pope Francis has increased his call for the world to do more to stop climate change and take care of the environment, saying that failing to do so is a sin. He also accused humans of letting Earth become a “polluted wasteland full of debris, desolation and filth”. (The Guardian)
Is WikiLeaks helping Russian interests? In an interview with the New York Times, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange accused the press of supporting Hillary Clinton, whom he likened to a “demon”. WikiLeaks has already aimed to influence the 2016 election, releasing in July a trove of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee’s servers. Some critics have accused Mr Assange of trying to undermine the Clinton campaign in an effort to help Donald Trump and advance Russia’s interests — an accusation he has denied, describing such concerns as “neo-McCarthyist hysteria”. (NYT, Politico)
When I’m mistakenly put on an email chain, should I hit ‘Reply All’ asking to be removed? The answer is no. (NYT)
Video of the day
The EU’s ad-blocking ban explained
New EU telecoms rules mean that network-wide blocks on adverts by mobile phone companies will be outlawed. The FT explains what this means for mobile companies, consumers and other industries.