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What's News | Fed Cautious on Growth; New Zealand Gun Ban; March Madness
Here’s what we’re watching as the U.S. business day gets under way:
Fed signals rates will stay on hold amid growth fears. Officials indicated they are unlikely to raise interest rates
this year, leaving its policy rate unchanged, between 2.25% and 2.5%.
Chairman Jerome Powell cited mild inflation pressures, a sharp pullback
in financial risk-taking and clear threats to U.S. growth in explaining
the Fed’s new wait-and-see stance. The Fed’s new "normal" looks
worrisome, writes Greg Ip.
New Zealand to impose sweeping gun ban after attack. The country's prime minister moved to ban military-style semiautomatic weapons, assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, stepping up its response
to Friday’s slaughter of 50 worshipers at two Christchurch mosques by a
lone gunman. Facebook said the shooter's video of the attacks revealed
gaps in its handling of live broadcasts by users, but pushed back against the idea of setting up a time delay.
Democratic candidates are split on how liberal to be. A
push to the left among activists and freshman lawmakers is prompting
2020 contenders to test positions seen as politically untenable four
years ago. The emerging camps have Bernie Sanders on the left,
pragmatists closer to the center, and a third group trying to balance both.
Who's next on House Democrats' target list? The House Judiciary Committee is planning to send a second wave
of document requests to the associates of President Trump. Expected
targets include Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani; a former lawyer for Michael
Cohen; former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former economic
adviser Gary Cohn.
Trump to issue order tying grants to free speech on campuses. The order falls short of what some university officials feared would be more sweeping or specific measures;
it doesn’t prescribe any specific penalty that would result in schools
losing research or other education grants as a result of specific
Cancer verdict pummels Bayer. Shares fell almost 10%
after the chemicals and pharmaceuticals giant faced another legal
setback in its fight against accusations that its Roundup weedkillers
cause cancer. Verdicts in an initial batch of related cases going to
trial this year are crucial for Bayer’s efforts both to avoid what
analysts fear could be billions in potential legal damages and to convince investors that its Monsanto bet was right.
U.K. requests three-month Brexit extension. Ahead of a
summit with European Union members this week, the U.K. has asked to
delay its departure from the bloc until June 30. But EU leaders are only
likely to grant such a short extension if British Prime Minister
Theresa May can win backing next week from the U.K. Parliament for her Brexit deal.
Why the 737 MAX kept flying. Southwest, United and American faced worries from passengers and employees after the Ethiopian Airlines crash. They say data, not economics, drove their choices.
PHOTO: BLOOMBERG NEWS
China razes Muslim communities to build a loyal city.
In an old Silk Road city in western China, a state security campaign
involving the detention of vast numbers of people has moved to its next stage: demolishing their neighborhoods and purging their culture.
Jumbo mortgages are slowing down. High-end home buyers are turning cautious, a blow to banks that refocused their mortgage businesses around wealthy borrowers
in the years after the financial crisis. Originations for jumbo
mortgages—loans too big to be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—dropped
12% last year by dollar volume.
Chinese education startup puts Western teachers on notice. VIPKid, one of China's most valuable online-education startups, has put hundreds of its mostly American teachers on notice
for using certain maps in their classes with Chinese students. The
moves highlight the balance a Chinese company must strike in fulfilling
global aspirations while toeing Beijing’s line.
What AI is still far from figuring out. Machines have got better at applying rules, but will they ever match humanity’s ability to come up with new ideas?
Is elite college worth it? Maybe not. Evidence shows that a college degree delivers a large income premium over a high school diploma, but a selective college doesn’t make the premium bigger.
Those who are successful after graduating from such a college would
probably have prospered if they had attended a less prestigious
institution as well, writes the Journal's Greg Ip.
How to wear makeup for your interview—men's edition. In parts of Asia, some men are making a habit of what is de rigueur for many working women: using a bit of makeup on the job to hide splotches, smooth out skin tones or sharpen eyebrows.
Highlights from our tax coverage
1. Now you see it ... President Trump's budget proposal assumes the federal government will collect up to $1.2 trillion in taxes that may not materialize,
including Affordable Care Act levies the administration opposes and
money from the expiration of various business tax breaks. Meantime, more
taxpayers could get a break if they withheld too little last year, thanks to broad changes in the tax code.
2. Betting on the low-income house? Casino magnate
Steve Wynn, who was forced to sell a big stake in Wynn Resorts last year
after sexual-misconduct allegations, met with Treasury officials about
"opportunity zones," which let investors postpone and reduce
capital-gains taxes by reinvesting in low-income areas.
3. Meghan Markle faces a royal tax headache. The Duchess of Sussex's baby will be an American citizen living abroad—with all the tax headaches that entails, writes Wall Street Journal tax columnist Laura Saunders in an open letter to Meghan Markle.
Detroit downloads Tesla's software strategy. The electric car maker pioneered the concept of selling wirelessly updatable cars,
and now GM, Ford and Toyota are trying to catch up, hoping to save
billions in warranty and other repair costs by correcting problems via
This Day in History
March 21, 1960
Afrikaner Police Kill Dozens of Protesters
In the South African township of Sharpeville, police opened fire on a
crowd of protesters, killing 69 people and injuring 180 others.
Thousands of protesters went to the police station in the town to
demonstrate against pass laws, an internal passport system that severely
limited the movements of black citizens and segregated South African
society. International furor over the massacre grew with sympathetic
demonstrations in other countries and official condemnation by the