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Dec 14, 2018

What's News: Trump's Inauguration Spending Investigated; Boy Scouts Looks to Stay Viable; 2018's Unmemorable Moments

The Wall Street Journal.
What’s News
Sun icon. Good Morning
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
Trump's inauguration spending and donations are under investigation. Prosecutors are considering whether President Trump’s 2017 inaugural committee misspent some of the record $107 million it raised from donations. The probe is also examining whether top donors gave money in exchange for access to the incoming administration.
  • Trump tries to distance himself from Michael Cohen. The president tweeted that he never directed his former lawyer to violate the law, a day after Mr. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that include two offences that prosecutors said Mr. Trump directed him to commit.
Stocks falter as China’s economy feels the trade pressure. Global equities erased most of this week’s gains as disappointing readings on the Chinese economy added to concerns over world growth.
Behind the Brexit chaos: a faulty negotiating strategy. When British politicians launched Brexit negotiations, they were confident they could win a special deal by finding allies among the 27 remaining members of the bloc. That strategy flopped. 
The Commerce Department will release retail sales data. In October, sales at retail stores and restaurants rose significantly faster than analysts had expected, largely because of ramped-up purchases of clothing, sporting goods and electronics. Economists surveyed by the Journal expect spending to have continued to grow in November, but at a slower pace.
The Boy Scouts of America is looking for a path to stay viable. In the past five years, the group has opened its doors to girls and gay scouts and scout leaders, and changed its name in efforts to be more inclusive and counter declining membership. But some of those efforts backfired.
Lessons from the bitcoin bubble. Some believers in blockchain’s vast potential rue the gold-rush mentality. Others characterize the rout as just another bump in the road. They have—or rather had—a point. 
LVMH seals a $2.6 billion deal for Belmond. The French luxury-goods company has agreed to acquire the London-based owner and operator of high-end hotels around the world for $25 a share in cash.

What's Trending

The most striking photos of 2018. It was a year dominated by political appointments and departures, controversial migrant policies, sports victories and natural disasters. In between, there were countless stories of individuals and moments, captured by a photographer's eye.
Saudi Arabia pumps up its stock market. The government of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has spent billions to counter selloffs in recent months following the killing of a dissident journalist, a corruption crackdown and a showdown with Qatar.
  • Yemen foes agree on a cease-fire. After the U.S. Senate voted to withdraw support for the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen, the Yemeni government and Houthi rebels agreed to a cease-fire in an embattled port city, a breakthrough in the nearly four-year conflict.
Starbucks will offer coffee delivery across the U.S. The coffee giant will offer delivery in approximately 2,000 of its U.S. stores early next year, partnering with UberEats as part of a broader strategy to try to reach more customers as traffic slows.
Guatemalan girl dies in U.S. custody. The seven-year-old passed away last week, about a day after she and her father were arrested for crossing the Mexican border illegally, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said. She was suffering from septic shock and dehydration.
Las Vegas housing weakness signals a slowdown is spreading. After home values rose sharply this year, the market has shifted in recent weeks. The deceleration in less expensive markets could herald a a more sluggish national housing market in the months to come.
Growth fears dent commodities prices. Many key commodities are on track to notch declines this year, underlining how fears of slowing growth, global-trade tensions and a persistently strong dollar have hammered prices for raw materials.
The most unmemorable moments of 2018. These are not wondrous times, the Journal's Jason Gay writes. How about a Top-10 list that honestly reflects the year’s just-okay cheese sandwiches and mediocre podcasts?

Chart of the Day

Why the Amazon invasion in New York and Virginia will be slow. The online retailer plans to slowly hire workers rather than overwhelm its new hosts all at once, and has told employees at its Seattle headquarters it won’t require them to relocate, meaning it will rely on mostly local recruits.

News From Other Sources

Apple to push software updates in China.  The tech company, facing a court ban in China on some of its iPhone models over alleged infringement of Qualcomm patents, will push updates to users in a bid to resolve potential issues.
via Reuters
Scooter startups Lime and Bird fly south for the winter. About a third of Bird and Lime’s markets suffer from snow or heavy rain, so Bird has been focusing its expansion on warmer areas such as Bakersfield and Santa Ana in Southern California, as well as cities in Latin America and Asia.
via Financial Times 
How Ireland outmaneuvered Britain on Brexit. Irish diplomats set the terms of the talks to extricate the U.K. from the European Union long before the British caught on. Here is how they pulled it off.
via Bloomberg

This Day in History

Dec. 14, 1981
Israel Annexes Golan Heights
In an unexpected move, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, extending Israeli "laws, jurisdiction and administration" to the Golan Plateau, which it seized from Syria in 1967 and occupied.
The 1981 law was immediately determined "null and void without international legal effect" by the United Nations Security Council a few days after its passage. The international community largely rejects Israeli claims to the territory and regards it as Syrian.
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Katy Barnato in London.

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