The EU’s second highest court, in Kirchberg, has overruled the European Commission in a Belgian corporate tax case. Library picture: Shutterstock
May’s defeat, Trump’s wall and Amazon’s campus. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
EU court sides with Belgium over commission in corporate tax break case
The EU General Court ruled the European Commission failed to prove that a Belgian tax break (worth around €700m to BP, BASF and other firms) constituted unfair state aid, reported Euractiv, the Financial Times and Reuters. The commission can appeal to the European Court of Justice or pursue individual cases (like they did with Apple in Ireland and Amazon in Luxembourg).
WWII artillery shell caused fatal accident
The explosion which killed two Luxembourg Army soldiers in Waldhaff on Thursday was caused by a 48kg artillery shell dating from the second world war, said the defense minister François Bausch (Green party). The two noncommissioned officers were 47 and 39 years old. Two other soldiers were injured, one critically. Reported by Le Quotidien (in French) and RTL (in Luxembourgish).
May defeated in Brexit vote
Theresa May lost a symbolic parliamentary vote by 303 to 258 after losing support from the pro-Brexit bloc of her own Conservative party. The motion asked MPs to reaffirm their support for May’s approach to renegotiating the Brexit deal with the EU. Reported by DW, RTE and the Guardian.
Where in Europe hard Brexit will “hurt” most.
The New York Times outlined the EU countries that “would hurt most by a no-deal Brexit”. Top of the list: Ireland, Slovakia, Belgium, Spain, Germany and Denmark. Less so, France and Poland, and borrowers in Malta. Bottom of the list: Finland, Croatia and Estonia.
Gloomy German economic news
Germany, the eurozone’s largest economy, barely avoided slipping into recession in the last quarter of 2018, reported DW, the Financial Times and Marketwatch.
A380 production to end
Airbus said it would stop producing its A380 super jumbo jet in 2021 due to poor sales. The aircraft maker took the “painful decision” after Emirates airlines, the largest A380 customer, reduced its order. Reported by the BBC, Guardian and National.
Trump agrees to shutdown saving bill, vows emergency action
Donald Trump agreed to sign a budget bill that does not include the $5.7bn he wanted to build a border wall, avoiding another partial shutdown of the US government. But Trump said he would declare a “national emergency” and build a wall on the US-Mexico border anyway. That is likely to set off a lengthy legal battle. Reported by the BBC, Guardian and Reuters.
Amazon pulls NYC plan
The e-commerce giant Amazon cancelled its plans to build a corporate campus in New York City after facing local opposition, reported the BBC, Financial Times and Reuters.
501 reasons for IPO
The jeansmaker Levi Strauss has filed to relist on the stock market, under the ticker symbol “LEVI”, hoping to raise $600m-$800m. The 165 year old San Francisco-based firm was listed between 1971 and 1985. Reported by CNBC, the San Francisco Chronicle and Straits Times.
Apple insider trading case
The Apple lawyer charged with enforcing employee insider trading rules… has been charged with insider trading, reported Ars Technica, NPR and the Register. The company has not commented.
Here are 7 science and technology stories that you may have missed
A Japanese firm will start testing a system to clean up space junk in Earth’s orbit before the debris hits a satellite or spacecraft, according to Bloomberg. MIT Technology Review published a list of 19 flying cars under development and 7 of them have expected delivery dates this year or next. The Swiss federal government has invited hackers to try breaking into its electronic voting system, said The Verge. Forget fingerprints and voiceprints: IEEE Spectrum said a new user verification system “deciphers the subtle yet distinct differences in how a user’s mouth moves when they speak”. Researchers have found a way to turn a common type a plastic “into gasoline and diesel-like fuel”, according to a paper covered by Motherboard. The pervasive use of bicycles is causing problems for the Dutch government’s plans for self-driving cars, reported the Guardian. Amazon has acquired Eero, a maker of routers to link up several devices in your home via wifi, which Buzzfeed called “a huge deal”.