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What's News: Chinese Huawei Executive Charged With Espionage in Poland; Apple to Release New iPhones; Retailers' Holiday Blues
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
White House explores alternative ways to get the wall built. The White House has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to look at projects approved in a bill providing disaster relief for Puerto Rico, Texas, California and Florida to see where funding could be diverted to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
Mitch McConnell stays on the sidelines. Allies of the Senate majority leader attribute his low profile during the shutdown to his conclusion that President Trump is the Republican whose opinion counts the most.
Chinese Huawei executive is charged with espionage in Poland. Polish authorities detained and charged the sales director of Huawei's local office for allegedly conducting high-level espionage on behalf of a Chinese spy agency, amid widening global scrutiny by Washington and its allies of the technology giant.
Xi’s top trade aide to visit U.S. for talks this month. China and the U.S. are moving ahead with plans to hold a round of higher-level trade talks, though a planned meeting could be delayed by the government shutdown.
Carlos Ghosn hit with new charges. Tokyo prosecutors accused the former Nissan chairman of misreporting his compensation by tens of millions of dollars during a three-year period ended March 2018. Mr. Ghosn is now eligible for bail and his lawyer said he would file for his release on Friday.
U.S. military prepares for Syria pullout amid uncertainty. Despite a U.S.-Turkey rift that appears likely to delay it, the U.S. military is moving ahead with its plans to withdraw all American troops from Syria, as scores of ground troops head to the region to help move troops out.
Apple plans to release a successor to the struggling XR in 2019. Apple will stick with LCD for one of three iPhone models it plans to release this fall. The move comes despite the sluggish sales of the lower priced XR that have cut into Apple's most recent revenue projection.
Slack plans to go public through a direct listing. The messaging company, recently valued at $7 billion, is likely to debut in the second quarter, and would be the second big technology company after Spotify to bypass a traditional IPO.
Michael Cohen is going to Congress. The president's former personal lawyer will testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, the panel’s Democratic chairman said. Mr. Cohen said he looks forward to giving a “full and credible account” to the panel.
ILLUSTRATION: JESSICA KURONEN/WSJ
America's electric grid has a vulnerable back door—and Russia walked right through it. A WSJ reconstruction of the worst known hack into the nation’s power system reveals attacks on hundreds of small contractors. The hackers then worked their way up the supply chain.
The strong economy didn't save retailers from holiday blues. Continuing to lose customers to discounters and e-commerce, retailers like Macy's, rival Kohl's and mall stalwart Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands posted tepid holiday sales, triggering a broad-based selloff in retail stocks.
Job switchers wring career wins from a tight labor market. In the strongest job market in decades, many U.S. workers are getting promoted, asking for raises and changing careers, recruiters and employers say. For some, switching jobs is bringing big professional gains.
“This change would overturn social life in the entire kingdom.” A young Saudi woman’s flight from her family and country has stirred debate in Saudi Arabia about its requirement that women get permission from a male guardian to travel or marry.
Protecting corporate America's secrets from China. While there are no foolproof remedies, experts following the U.S.-China trade fight say there are specific measures that U.S. negotiators can pursue to slam the brakes on China’s intellectual-property theft, such as opening up more Chinese sectors to foreign investment.
An online tool to catch workplace sexual predators. A nonprofit is bringing its digital reporting platform to the office. The goal: to identify repeat #MeToo offenders and protect their accusers.
Chart of the Day
Apple's pressing challenge. The tech giant has held out its fast-growing services unit as a bright spot in an outlook dimmed by soft demand for the iPhone. But the services business faces challenges of its own: a recent slowdown in App Store sales, nascent antitrust concerns and services like Netflix moving to avoid Apple’s payment system.
News From Other Sources
Shareholders sue Alphabet's board over keeping executive misconduct quiet. The investors claimed the Google parent's board failed in its duties by allowing harassment to occur, approving big payouts and keeping the details private.
Myanmar court rejects appeal by jailed journalists. The appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act was rejected. The defense has the option of making a further appeal to the country's supreme court.
The world’s loneliest snail, the last of his kind, dies. A Hawaiian tree snail named George died in captivity after a search for another member of his species that lasted more than a decade. The snail, who lived to be 14, had been a public face for the struggles facing Hawaiian land snails.
via National Geographic
This Day in History
Jan. 11, 1942
Japan Declares War on Netherlands
Invading the Dutch colony of what is now Indonesia, Japan formally declared war on the Netherlands. The region was a prime target for Japan due to the abundance of rubber and oil plantations. Japan desperately needed oil after President Franklin D. Roosevelt froze all the country's U.S. assets and embargoed all oil exports. Japan's occupation of Indonesia during World War II saw the effective dismantling of Dutch colonial rule, as two days after Japanese surrender in August 1945 nationalist leaders Sukarno and Hatta declared Indonesian independence.