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Britain has bowed to EU demands with a breakthrough offer on Brexit, agreeing to honour in full its financial commitments as identified by Brussels in a move that would remove one of the biggest obstacles to a divorce settlement. The pound rose sharply following the news.
Under the agreement, the UK would assume EU liabilities worth up to €100bn, according to several diplomats familiar with the talks, although net payments discharged over many decades could fall to less than half that amount.
Prime minister Theresa May is expected to present the breakthrough offer next week as part of a package deal if the UK and EU can reach agreement on the other issues of citizen rights and the contentious question of the Irish border. (FT)
In the news
Uber stealing secrets
Uber has been accused of operating a sophisticated unit dedicated to gathering competitive intelligence and “stealing trade secrets”. The fresh allegations on Tuesday led to a delay in the high-profile trial between the ride-hailing group and Alphabet’s self-driving unit, Waymo. The new development in the $1.8bn lawsuit comes at a sensitive time for Uber, which is in the middle of a complex investment deal with a SoftBank-led consortium. (FT)
North Korea missile launch
The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday that it was “probable” that North Korea had fired a ballistic missile at around 1:30pm Washington time. The launch was first reported by Yonhap news agency. Wall Street trimmed some of its gains in mid-afternoon trading following the launch. (FT)
Jay Powell, Donald Trump’s nominee to chair the Federal Reserve, has signalled an end to ratcheting up regulation on US banks, saying at his confirmation hearing on Tuesday that existing rules were “tough enough” to ensure a stable system. (FT)
Rockwell deal abandoned
Emerson Electric has withdrawn its $29bn bid for rival Rockwell Automation, putting an end to an ambitious move that would have dramatically reshaped the US industrial equipment industry. (FT)
A newly created Florida company with no record won more than $30m in US government contracts to provide emergency tarps and plastic sheeting after Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico. The company never delivered those much-needed supplies, which are still needed months after the destruction. (AP, WaPo)
Ireland’s deputy prime minister has resigned over her links to a long-running political scandal. Her resignation will pause the immediate threat of a snap election, but it raises doubts over the longer-term survival of Leo Varadkar’s government. (FT)
The day ahead
US economy: the US Federal Reserve will release its Beige Book. The report is published eight times a year after each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts gathers anecdotal information on economic conditions.
African Union-EU summit: education and job opportunities will top the agenda when African Union and EU leaders meet in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire for their fifth joint summit.
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
What we’re reading
Trickle-down is back
Republicans’ plans for a “people’s tax code”, which they say will be a boon for the middle class, are being savaged by many economists and analysts who say the bulk of the benefits will go toward society’s richest. (FT)
Gun violence victim harassment
Victims of US gun violence often now endure a second wave of horror: online harassment by conspiracy theorists. Conspiracy theorists track down shooting survivors and attack them as “fake” or “crisis actors”. (The Guardian)
Analyses that show how tax reform impacts the “average US family” gloss over the massive diversity of Americans’ financial situations. So the NYT modelled how tax reform would affect 25,000 different middle-class families. (NYT)
Please don’t say ‘between you and I’
Using “I” when “me” is correct is a common hypercorrection, a mistaken correction in an attempt to avoid non-standard grammar, according to Collins dictionary. But hypercorrections are easy to steer clear of once you know how. (FT)
Thanks to global offshoring practices like those revealed in the Paradise and Panama Papers, it’s hard to trust basic economic figures. Global trade figures in particular are “a big black hole”. (Quartz)
Tata Group, India’s largest conglomerate, now has its first chairman without family ties. And it is up to new chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran to oversee Tata as it regains footing after a series of stumbles. (NAR)
Smartphones killing productivity?
Bank of England analysts have suggested that the productivity crisis may be linked to digital distraction. (FT)
Video of the day
A video game to beat Alzheimer’s
Anjana Ahuja discovers how scientists and designers are coming together to combat Alzheimer’s and finds out how the brain stores memories.