UK currency hits new low, US suspends talks with Russia and not paying tax in America

Uncertainty after timetable set for Brexit negotiations

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The British pound hit a new low on Tuesday amid uncertainty over the UK’s economic outlook after the government set a timetable for negotiations to leave the EU. The renewed weakness follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech to the Conservative party conference on Sunday, which investors seized on as pointing to a so-called hard Brexit that prioritises Britain’s control of immigration policy over full access to Europe’s single markets.

Many currency analysts expect the pound’s weakness to continue, with some predicting it will fall a further 6 per cent against the dollar by the end of next year.

On the plus side, the FTSE 100 index has benefited from the lower pound as companies increase their revenue from foreign currency earnings. The main London index on Tuesday morning rose to its highest level since June 2015. (FT)

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In the news

US-Russia talks suspended The US said on Monday that it was suspending negotiations over Syria with Russia, in final recognition that a three-week old peace plan has collapsed. It was the latest sign of deteriorating relations between Moscow and the west, after Russian President Vladimir Putin withdrew from an agreement with the US to dispose of weapons-grade plutonium. (FT)

Colombian disarray Recent referendums have had a habit of surprising governments. Colombia is no exception. The country is in turmoil after voters unexpectedly rejected a peace deal with Farc rebels. The Colombian peso fell by as much as 3 per cent and the benchmark stock market index by 1.2 per cent as investors digested the news. Neither the government, the opposition or the rebels have yet proposed an alternative way to end the 52-year conflict.(FT, Foreign Policy)

Samsung tries to keep customers sweet In a bid to stop owners of the faulty Galaxy Note 7 device from switching to rivals, Samsung is now offering data credits on top of a smartwatch giveaway in its home market. (NAR)

Illinois to suspend investment activity with Wells Fargo The state’s decision to temporarily halt $30bn in investment activity with the troubled bank marks the latest setback from its sales scandal. US regulators last week called for the bank to be broken up. (FT)

Haiti awaits Matthew Hurricane Matthew, the strongest Caribbean storm in nine years, is due to hit the poverty-stricken country where thousands are still living in tents six years after an earthquake destroyed their homes. Many poor residents are reluctant to leave their homes for fear of looting, putting them at risk from the 230kph winds and torrential rain. (Reuters)

It’s a big day for

Tim Kaine and Mike Pence Given the dominating presence of the presidential nominees, you might be forgiven for forgetting the two men backing up Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump. The pair will face off in the only vice-presidential debate, where the Republican, Mr Pence, will try to make up for a self-destructive week by his running mate, while Mr Kaine tries to extend Mrs Clinton’s advantage with female voters by highlighting the Republican ticket’s anti-abortion record. (MSNBC)

Keep track of the 2016 race with our daily US politics newsletter. Sign up here.

Afghanistan A group of international donors will meet in Brussels, where they are expected to approve billions of dollars in funding for the Afghan government over the next four years. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s weekahead.

Food for thought

Hopes of Iraq’s oil capital go up in flames The southern city of Basra aspired to Dubai’s success — but the oil price collapse and corruption have left it in chaos. (FT)

Murder in the digital age When the battered body of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni was found on a road outside Cairo, the Egyptian security services said he’d been hit by a car, then said he’d been robbed. But a painstaking Italian investigation has revealed false leads, cover-ups and phoney evidence — and shows it is hard to conceal a murder in the digital age. (Guardian)

Not paying tax in America Donald Trump’s ability to avoid paying tax for nearly two decades has become a talking point in the US presidential election campaign. But he is not alone in exploiting loopholes in the tax code. Forty-six per cent of all US tax filers do not pay federal income taxes because of exclusions, and high-income taxpayers disproportionately benefit. (WaPo)

Pentagon’s Iraq propaganda revealed An investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals how the Pentagon paid a British PR company $500m to run a secret Iraq propaganda campaign that began soon after the US invasion in 2004. At its height, it employed some 300 British and Iraqi staff. (BIJ)

The benefits of fasting Restricting your calorie intake can have long-term health benefits, including improved mood and better quality of sleep. But now tech workers have latched on to another potential positive. They say not eating increases their mental agility and ability to focus. Some are even practising 60-hour fasts. (BBC)

Video of the day

Lex on Henderson and Janus merger Lex’s Giles Wilkes and Christopher Thompson discuss the announced consensual tie-up between the Anglo-Australian Henderson Group and the US fund manager Janus Capital. (FT)

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