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Dec 12, 2018

What's News: U.K.'s May Faces No-Confidence Vote; November Inflation Data on Tap; Surviving College-Application Season

The Wall Street Journal.
Newspaper.
What’s News
Sun icon. Good Morning
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
U.K.'s May to face no-confidence vote. British Prime Minister Theresa May is set to face a vote of confidence in her leadership today that could further destabilize the already-chaotic Brexit process.
Trump and top Democrats clash over a spending bill. The president told Democratic leaders he would be proud to shut down the government if Congress doesn’t meet his demand to fund construction of a wall on the Mexico border, escalating a standoff over spending in an unusual public spectacle in the Oval Office.
China moves to address U.S. economic concerns. Beijing's top trade negotiator told U.S. officials that China was planning to reduce auto tariffs and boost purchases of soybeans and other crops in an effort to ease trade tensions between the two nations.
Inflation data from the U.S. Labor Department is on tap. Inflation accelerated in October due to gas prices, but analysts believe it could cool in the coming months. Economists surveyed by the Journal expect inflation to have slowed in November and prices to have continued to grow at a similar pace to October’s growth.
Michael Cohen's sentencing is today. Last week, Manhattan federal prosecutors said in a court filing that Cohen should receive a “substantial” prison sentence because his assistance in Robert Mueller's probe fell short of full cooperation.
U.S. soybean farmers work to loosen China's grip. As trade tensions cut deeply into exports, U.S. soybean farmers, industry groups and government officials are seeking a stronger foothold in international markets beyond China, including Europe and Southeast Asia. 
Many U.S. financial officers think a recession will hit next year. Citing the tight labor market and growing trade tensions, more than half of U.S. CFOs believe a recession will strike the economy by the end of 2019 and 80% think it will happen by the end of 2020. 
 
How to fix the world in 2019. We want to hear from you: If you had the power to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues, what would you do? Share your ideas with us, and we will select the best responses in the WSJ's Davos Special Report to be published on Jan. 23.

What's Trending

BRIANA SCROGGINS FOR WSJ
“The effect of isolation is extraordinarily powerful." Loneliness undermines health and is linked to early mortality. Baby boomers, who generally had fewer children and divorced more than previous generations, are especially feeling the effects in retirement.
 
Gunman in Strasbourg kills at least three people. The suspected terror attack near a Christmas market in France also wounded several people. The gunman fled the scene and remains at large.
Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was granted bail by a Canadian judge. The judge’s decision frees Ms. Meng after more than a week in detention, though it requires her to submit to a curfew, electronic monitoring and a limited range of travel in the Vancouver area.
Americans spent millions on tropical real estate. The FTC says they were scammed. The U.S. government’s shutdown of what it called a $100 million real-estate investment scam in Belize highlights a growing concern: the targeting of Americans retiring abroad.
Verizon is taking a $4.5 billion charge related to its digital media business. The carrier is conceding that its bet on high-profile internet properties and content several years ago hasn’t worked out as expected. Verizon spent more than $9 billion to create its Oath media business by acquiring AOL in 2015 and then Yahoo in 2017.
The Senate will vote on a criminal-justice overhaul bill. After emerging as the major hurdle facing the legislation to overhaul the nation’s criminal-justice system, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said the chamber will vote on the bill as early as the end of this week. 
Surviving college-application season. Tension between parents and high school seniors can run high this time of year. The Journal's Sue Shellenbarger has tips on how to keep everyone calm as deadlines and decisions loom.

Tech Watch

Highlights from our technology coverage
Enter a shadowy world of SIM hijacking and “fullz” dossiers. Corporate breaches and other data heists fuel a black market awash in pilfered information that can be bought, sold and repackaged for criminal use. Nabbing a Social Security number: “$3 and five minutes.”
Silicon Valley investors are cooling on scooter startups. The investor frenzy for shared-electric scooter companies such as Bird and Lime is easing as the startups deal with vandalism, rising competition and other growing pains.
This is why your phone keeps hanging up on you. The best Wi-Fi hotspots our phones can “see” are often a mirage, yielding dropped calls and frustrated users. And the incentives to fix the problem are misaligned, Christopher Mims writes.
Amazon is cracking down on seller scams. The e-commerce giant is fighting a barrage of seller scams on its website, including firing several employees suspected of having helped supply independent merchants with inside information.
The tech gifts of 2018 are what we’d buy. With the holiday-spending season upon us, the WSJ’s Personal Tech team compiled its list of the best tech gifts of 2018—ranging from must-have machines to worthy splurges.
Want more tech? Get the WSJ Technology newsletter delivered to your inbox every Sunday and listen to your favorite tech columnists in our new podcast, Instant Message.
 

Chart of the Day

Economic damage from California fires spreads. The extreme wildfires across California in recent years are squeezing local economies from the north to the south—such as the city of Chico, which faces a worsening housing crisis as about 20,000 people have moved there from the town of Paradise.
 

News From Other Sources

IMF says storm clouds are gathering for the economy. A top official from the International Monetary Fund warned of growing strains on the world economy in a speech at a banking conference hosted by Bloomberg.
via Reuters
Pentagon plan to store military data in the cloud raises security fears. One of the companies bidding for a contract to store sensitive data is closely linked to a sanctioned Russian oligarch. The plan, which would host military data on remote servers, has already raised concerns.
via BBC
An Italian soccer match to be played in Saudi Arabia draws criticism. The Italian Super Cup final between A.C. Milan and Juventus is slated to take place in Jeddah in January. Italy's soccer league, Serie A, is under fire for the decision to host the match there following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and amid accusations that the kingdom fails to protect intellectual property.
via the New York Times
 

This Day in History

Dec. 12, 2000
Rangers Sign Alex Rodriguez for Record $250 million
The Texas Rangers signed free agent Alex Rodriguez for a record-breaking, 10-year deal worth $252 million deal. The contract was $63 million more than the second-richest baseball deal in the sport's history at the time, only to be surpassed by the Miami Marlins' signing of Giancarlo Stanton in 2014 for a 13-year, $325 million contract. A-Rod would later be traded to the New York Yankees before the 2004 season, the second time in Major League Baseball history that a reigning Most Valuable Player was traded.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
 
—Compiled and edited by Phil Nobile in New York and Bryony Watson in London.

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