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Dec 24, 2018

What's News: Trump Advisers Reassure Investors Over Fed Chair; Banks Lower 2019 Oil Forecasts; A Holiday Cheat Sheet for the Family's Tech Problems

The Wall Street Journal.
What’s News
Sun icon. Good Morning
What's News won't publish on Christmas Day and will return on Wednesday. Here’s what we’re watching as the day gets under way:
Government shutdown continues into the holiday week. A top Trump administration official warned that the partial government shutdown could stretch into January, reflecting the magnitude of the impasse over the border wall long championed by the president. Although the initial impact is expected to be minor, the shutdown's full impact will be felt Wednesday. 
President Trump is forcing out Jim Mattis two months early. In announcing the speeded-up departure, the president named Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan as acting defense secretary, effective Jan. 1. The president also said he would slow the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria after speaking to Turkey’s president.
Trump advisers assure investors he won't fire the Fed chair. The president's incoming chief of staff said Mr. Trump "now realizes" he can't sack Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for raising interest rates, aiming to quell speculation that the president's anger over monetary policy could lead to a confrontation.
Nissan rejects a Renault request for a snap shareholder meeting. Nissan's chief executive said a majority of Nissan's board supported the company's refusal to call a meeting in response to the indictment of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn. Meanwhile, Mr. Ghosn's detention in Tokyo will extend into the new year.
Banks are sharply lowering their forecasts for oil in 2019. Brent crude is now expected to average just over $69 a barrel next year, down from an estimate last month of roughly $77 a barrel, according to a poll of 13 investment banks. Even as prices fall, fuel makers can't stop churning out gasoline, putting more pressure on the global oil market going forward. 
‘Child of Krakatau’ death toll climbs to over 280 in Indonesia. Officials continue to search for survivors as residents are warned to stay away from the coastline, saying the much-feared volcano Anak Krakatau is still active.

What's Trending

The cost of Snap's botched redesign. Once seen as a viable competitor to Facebook, Snap is struggling after its CEO ignored warnings about a redesign that proved unpopular. With the share price and user numbers falling, analysts and employees are raising questions about whether his trust-your-gut management instincts can help pull the company through.
Retailers are wrapping up the holidays with cheer. Total U.S. retail sales, excluding automobiles, rose 5.2% from Nov. 1 through Dec. 19 compared with last year—one of the strongest holiday seasons in years as Americans crowded stores for last-minute Christmas gifts and even delivery companies were able to keep up with the surge in online orders.
It's a dog-eat-Dow world. Market volatility spurred by recent worries about interest rates, trade tensions and slowing economic growth are sending investors to the dogs—the Dogs of the Dow, that is.
Dealing with loss during the holidays. The holidays are a difficult time for those who have lost loved ones, even if the loss was years ago. The Journal's Clare Ansberry explains how to get through—or help others cope with—the season.
Facebook's lonely conservative is taking on a power position. Joel Kaplan, a former White House aide to George W. Bush, has emerged as Facebook’s protector against allegations of political bias—and thus one of its most powerful and controversial executives.
What Amazon isn't telling investors about its revenue. The SEC has pressed Amazon to tell investors how much of its revenue comes from its Amazon Prime customers. Amazon declined, contending the information isn’t meaningful.
33 mostly free ways to fix your family's tech problems. The Journal's David Pierce has a go-to holiday cheat sheet for solving in-home IT issues, from moving your Wi-Fi router to changing your Netflix account into a family one.

Chart of the Day

Scientists say the U.S.'s R&D agenda could use a shake-up. Worries about competition from China have prompted tariffs and investment restrictions, but the U.S. needs better coordination of technology projects across the government, according to experts.

News From Other Sources

Volkswagen tells authorities of emission software concerns. The carmaker has informed Germany's transport authority that half a million cars recalled for a fix after the diesel scandal may still be equipped with illegal software designed to trick emissions tests.
via Financial Times
Reuters journalists appeal sentence in Myanmar. Two reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Offical Secrets Act have appeared in court to appeal their sentence. The landmark case has rasied questions about the country's progress toward democracy.
via Reuters
Winter wonderlands are heating up. From Alaska to Finland, Arctic towns that have staked a claim on being the home of Santa Claus are feeling the heat. With the effects of global warming becoming harder to ignore, ski slopes are using artificial snow and even reindeer are getting confused by unseasonably warm temperatures.
via the Guardian

This Day in History

Dec. 24, 1943
Roosevelt Names Eisenhower Allied Forces Leader
President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower as supreme commander of the Allied forces. He was tasked with the planning and implementation of Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II. Eisenhower would go on to serve as president from 1953 to 1961.
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Bryony Watson in London.
Source: WSJ

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