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The 10-Point: My Guide to the Day's Top News

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning,
Berlin Manhunt
The search for at least one perpetrator behind Germany’s deadliest terror attack in decades entered a third day on Wednesday. Amid the uncertainty over who plowed a truck through a crowded Christmas market in Berlin on Monday evening, the attack that left 12 people dead and dozens injured, with 14 people still in critical condition, poses new challenges for Chancellor Angela Merkel. The police said a lack of forensic links to the crime scene helped clear their initial suspect, a Pakistani who arrived in Germany a year ago. Separately, Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that one of its fighters had followed calls to strike members of “coalition countries.” Meanwhile, we report that the assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey highlights a backlash against Moscow after it successfully ended America’s status as the Middle East’s sole superpower.

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Settling for More
Donald Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has helped raise millions of dollars for a prominent West Bank settlement, a connection that could complicate the president-elect’s promised effort to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Mr. Friedman and his family have longstanding connections to Beit El, a large and politically active settlement, founded in 1977, that has benefited from extensive support from the U.S. Mr. Trump’s personal foundation also has donated to the settlement. Mr. Friedman heads an organization named Bet El Institutions, which aids the settlement, and leads the organization’s U.S.-registered charity. He has also expressed skepticism about the possibility of the so-called two-state solution. In other transition news, we report that venture capitalist Thiel has successfully pushed to give commercial space companies a stronger voice within Mr. Trump’s NASA transition team.
A Billionaire Retrenches
Hedge-fund manager Jamie Dinan is ending 2016 the way he started it: eating humble pie. The main fund at his York Capital Management, which fell 14% last year, lost another 1% through early December. That performance has pushed Mr. Dinan to crisscross the globe in his most intense client interactions in years. After years of disappointing performance across the industry, investors have pulled money from hedge funds for four consecutive quarters—the longest stretch of outflows since 2008. The pressure is particularly visible at York, where the decline in assets under management has been among the most stark. Assets have slumped to $17 billion this year, down 35% from $26 billion last year. Mr. Dinan recently told partners at York he has no intention of closing the firm.
A Year to Remember
It would be correct to say 2016 was the year of the politically unexpected. It would be more accurate to say it was the year of the politically unimaginable. First came the surprise vote by Britons to leave the European Union, followed by Mr. Trump’s historic win. For global investors, it was the most eventful year since the financial crisis. The year began with a panic and is closing with a party. Meanwhile, rising prices for drugs again drew fire, hackers expanded their exploits and tensions ran high between police and minority communities in the U.S. Attacks in Brussels, Nice and elsewhere left scores dead while Islamic State appeared to be in retreat, and the flow of migrants to Europe eased, though political repercussions expanded. We take a look back at the year's biggest events, and on a lighter note, we review the year’s best offerings in art, music, film, theater, books and more.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Refresh Your Memories
That Was Painless
With Google’s new PhotoScan app and Epson’s FastFoto scanner, there’s never been a better time to rescue those dusty old photos from extinction. Our Personal Technology columnist Joanna Stern reviews your best options.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

Social Security Checks Are Being Reduced for Unpaid Student Debt

Census Says U.S. Population Grew at Lowest Rate Since Great Depression This Year
WORLD

Mexico Fireworks Blast Leaves at Least 29 Dead

Turkey Targets U.S.-Based Cleric After Killing of Envoy
BUSINESS

Walgreens, Rite Aid Find Unlikely Buyer for 865 Stores

Jeep’s Latest Push Into China Proves a Tough Slog
MARKETS

Wells Fargo Scrambles to Deal With New Crisis

The Highly Charged Way to Play Electric Cars
NUMBER OF THE DAY
$66.6 billion
The combined market value of industrial-gas giants Praxair and Germany’s Linde, which have agreed to join forces to create the industry’s biggest player, concluding a two-year courtship.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
They forced me to where there was no other way than death. I didn’t want to die.
Liu Chongfu, a Chinese pig farmer who says he falsely admitted to bribery, helping to send four officials to prison. Mr. Liu’s confession and retraction suggest a dark side to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s antigraft drive.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what are your thoughts on Mr. Friedman’s longstanding ties to the Beit El settlement in the West Bank? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Margaret Rawson
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on the attack in Berlin, Dmitry Astakhov of Germany wrote: “Horrific, terrifying, heart-breaking…the Heart of Europe was attacked, someone tried again to shatter our dignity and values as humanity, and this is exactly why people should be stronger and more united than ever. Although organizers of this attack are not yet known, unfortunately, there will still be right-wing-leaning people who would speak about this event as a back-up of their ideas which are dangerous by themselves.” Massimo Piras of Belgium shared: “We in Brussels have become all too familiar with terrorism in recent years. The array of attack methods renders prevention very difficult. However, hardening targets surely helps. The cops and security guards are there: appropriately trained, they should both be armed, and not only with pistols.” And Geoff Lindsey of Washington, D.C., said: “At some point Chancellor Angela Merkel has to face reality and allow the basic human impulse for self-preservation to guide her hand. Promoting peace is noble. But there has to be a policy to protect innocent people against those who will never integrate and only want to sow chaos. Immigration reform is officially overdue.”

This daily briefing is named "The 10-Point" after the nickname conferred by the editors of The Wall Street Journal on the lead column of the legendary "What's News" digest of top stories. Technically, "10-point" referred to the size of the typeface. The type is smaller now but the name lives on.

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