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The finance ministers from Europe’s five largest economies have warned the Trump administration that Republican tax cut plans would flout international agreements and undermine trade, threatening to turn a Washington policy battle into a transatlantic row. In a letter to the White House and US Treasury department, the ministers — including Philip Hammond of the UK, Peter Altmaier of Germany and Bruno Le Maire of France — raised the possibility of retaliating if the legislation becomes law.

The letter highlights concerns in Europe that the Trump administration will use tax reform as a route to promote “America first” trade discrimination, escalating tensions that have already risen in other policy areas like the environment and Middle East peace. (FT)

In the news

Bitcoin surges
Because apparently that’s what Bitcoin does, inexplicably, nowadays. Bitcoin futures surged more than 20 per cent on their debut on Monday, forcing a major US derivatives exchange to halt trading twice as Wall Street seeks to ride a wave of interest in the controversial digital currency. Cboe Global Markets launched derivatives on Bitcoin on Sunday evening, nipping in a week ahead of competing contracts to be offered by crosstown Chicago rival CME Group. (FT)

China-US investments delayed
A growing number of Chinese investments targeting US companies are stalling because of a slowdown in Washington’s national security review process, and as trade tensions rise between Beijing and Donald Trump’s administration. Lawmakers in Washington last month introduced bipartisan bills in both chambers of Congress that, if passed next year as many expect, would mark the most significant reforms in a decade of how the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius) operates. (FT)

Is Mueller focused on Trump’s potential obstruction of justice?
US special counsel Robert Mueller — who is probing Russian meddling in the US election on Donald Trump’s behalf — seems to be zeroing in on a critical 18-day period leading up to the firing of top Trump aide Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. One important question is when Mr Trump learned that Mr Flynn had lied to the FBI about his Russian contacts, and whether he may have directed his aide to do so. Such developments would lay the foundation for an obstruction of justice case against the president, the prospect of which has some fearing that Mr Trump will attempt to fire Mr Mueller, potentially triggering a constitutional crisis. (NBC, WaPo)

Attempted terror attack in NYC
A man is in custody after he allegedly attempted to detonate a pipe bomb in a terrorist attack in an underground passageway near the busy Port Authority bus terminal in New York on Monday morning. James O’Neill, New York’s police commissioner, said 27-year-old Akayed Ullah suffered burns after the improvised explosive device he was carrying partially exploded at 7.20am. Three other people suffered minor injuries. (FT)

City bankers look for single market deal
Some of the City’s most influential bankers say they would halt or even reverse moves out of London if there were an eleventh-hour deal to keep the UK in the single market, in a significant departure from previous warnings of an imminent “point of no return”. Jonathan Ford argues a hard Brexit for financial services is unlikely, as to impose a harsh deal would hurt the EU’s financial sector more than the UK. (FT)

Trump accusers call for congressional probe
Nikki Haley, US ambassador to the United Nations, has said that women who accuse Donald Trump of sexual misconduct “should be heard”, the day before three of the president’s accusers called for a congressional probe. As accusations of sexual harassment roil industries from Hollywood to Washington, his accusers wondered why their claims did nothing to stop a man who bragged on tape about groping women without their consent. Speaking on CBS television on Sunday, Ms Haley said she welcomed the fact women were speaking out and said they deserved to have their claims heard, regardless of whom they were accusing. (NYT, AP, FT)

The day ahead

French climate summit
President Emmanuel Macron hosts the “One Planet” international climate change summit. It comes two years after almost 200 governments agreed the Paris accord to end the fossil-fuel era this century, but the pact was weakened in June when the US pulled out. In a sign of how Mr Macron seems to be trying to step into the vacuum left by Donald Trump, several US-based climate scientists are among those he will award multi-year, all-expenses-paid “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants to relocate to France. (CBS)

Alabama’s election
Will the voters in this deeply-Republican state choose Roy Moore, a man credibly accused of child molestation, or Democratic former US attorney Doug Jones? It will be a key test of the power of Donald Trump over the Republican party — Mr Trump endorsed Mr Moore, even as other members of his party condemned the Alabamian candidate. Here’s Gail Collins on what Alabamians — and many others — are willing to overlook in their politicians. (NYT) 

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

What we’re reading

The death of the Swiss private bank
A clampdown on tax evasion is forcing the closure of many institutions. (FT)

Japan Railways builds head of steam for hydrogen
Trains powered by fuel cells are being tested on the country’s tracks, with emissions being nothing more than water. (NAR)

Cat Person
This short story by Kristen Roupenian is tearing up social media — see what all the fuss is about in a piece many argue says a lot about modern dating. (New Yorker, NYT)

What Putin really wants
Julia Ioffe argues that far from being the manipulative genius in many Americans’ minds, Vladimir Putin is just a gambler who won big. (Atlantic)

Video of the day

Bitcoin futures start trading
Bitcoin futures surged more than 20 per cent on their debut on Monday, forcing a major US derivatives exchange to halt trading twice as Wall Street seeks to ride a wave of interest in the controversial digital currency. (FT)

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