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The 10-Point: My Guide to the World Economic Forum in Davos

The Wall Street Journal
Good morning from Davos, Switzerland, and the third day of the World Economic Forum. My special additional daily 10-Point newsletter about the news and events here will be published later today.
Walk the Line
At confirmation hearings Wednesday, Donald Trump’s cabinet picks took tough lines on trade practices and federal environmental regulations, sticking closely to the president-elect’s antiestablishment agenda. Last week, in contrast, several nominees for security posts demonstrated they could be independent on foreign-policy matters—an approach that drew sporadic praise from Democrats. But cross-party approval was scarce Wednesday, as Democrats grilled Rep. Tom Price, Mr. Trump’s pick to run the Department of Health and Human Services, about health-care investments he made while working on legislation covering the industry. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump made his final cabinet pick, transition officials said, with the decision to nominate former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary.

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Time to Settle Up
The Obama administration rushed to complete a raft of investigations of big business, in the past week alone reaching settlements worth around $20 billion with financial companies including Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, drugmaker Mallinckrodt and others. There is usually a scramble to close the books as a presidential administration winds down, but observers said the volume of big settlements just before President Barack Obama’s eight years in power ends Friday is unusually high. This reflects both the events shaping his presidency—which started during a market meltdown—and Democrats’ desire to strike a hard line against alleged corporate wrongs. Some businesses, however, are digging in against fresh government charges, betting on a better deal once Obama officials leave office.
Mind the Pay Gap
Even as the outgoing administration closed some big-business cases, the Labor Department filed lawsuits against federal contractors Oracle and J.P. Morgan Chase alleging that some employees weren’t paid fairly. The 11th-hour actions seek to make good on the president’s promise to end wage gaps based on gender and race, but a new labor secretary could withdraw the actions. Mr. Trump’s nominee, fast-food CEO Andy Puzder, has expressed little interest in fair-pay issues. A J.P. Morgan spokeswoman said the bank tried to resolve the department’s concerns and was disappointed by the suit, while an Oracle spokeswoman called the complaint “politically motivated, based on false allegations, and wholly without merit.”
Learning to Fly
Booking an airline ticket using frequent-flier miles has become so tricky that some fliers are paying for professional help, writes Middle Seat columnist Scott McCartney. Services such as Book Your Award, PointsPros and Upgrd employ frequent-flier-mile junkies to find trips. Most charge around $150 a person per booking if they find a ticket the customer wants. For cash-paying passengers, cut-price choices are about to increase. American Airlines is rolling out a new cheap-fare option, joining Delta and United Continental in this latest tactic to fight the discount-carrier competition. “Basic Economy” passengers on American will get the same soft drinks and entertainment as those paying full-economy fares, but they won’t get to pick their seats or use the overhead bins. And they’ll get only half the frequent-flier miles.
TODAY'S VIDEO
Signing Off
That Was Painless
Mr. Obama, in his final press conference as U.S. president, said he plans to remain quiet during the Trump administration unless he feels “core values” like voting rights or the protection of “Dreamer” immigrants from deportation is at stake.
TOP STORIES
U.S.

Trump Voters Harbor Mixed Feelings Ahead of Inauguration

Student Debt Payback Far Worse Than Believed
WORLD

France’s Le Pen Centers Presidential Run on Getting France Out of Eurozone

Italy Avalanche Leaves Dozens Missing
BUSINESS

Outgoing Canadian Pacific CEO and Activist Investor to Target CSX

Netflix’s Global Growth Fuels Surge in Subscribers
MARKETS

Wall Street Gets Back Its Groove

Dodd-Frank in Crosshairs as Law’s Opponents Take Power
NUMBER OF THE DAY
9
The number of companies that pitched initial public offerings to investors this week, the most in one week since June 2015.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
This has not only set back our science and our protocols, it has delayed cancer patients’ treatment by a year and a half. For a cancer patient, treatment substantially delayed is treatment denied.
Researcher Jay Berzofsky, on the response to a management crisis at the National Institutes of Health that has stalled medical trials, delayed treatments and put Director Francis S. Collins under scrutiny.
TODAY'S QUESTION
Going back to our story above, what do you think about the new bare-bones flights being offered by big airlines? Send your comments, which we may edit before publication, to 10point@wsj.com. Please include your name and location.
—Compiled by Hillary Canada
READER RESPONSE
Responding to yesterday’s question on President Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning, Susan Brennan of Florida said: “Any illegal ‘leaking’ of classified government information is treason and should be treated as such with no commutation. Period.” Rob McKeown of New York wrote: “Identity politics at its finest. Does anyone believe a conservative, Christian, white male heterosexual would have received a commutation from President Obama?” Rosemary Copeland of Florida commented: “Chelsea Manning’s 35-year sentence was so out of line with penalties for other similar crimes that I think a pardon is justified.” Ben Richmond of Oregon weighed in: “Ms. Manning’s decision to share information with WikiLeaks put America’s secrets and security at risk. However, given her frequent suicide attempts while in prison, I feel Mr. Obama’s decision to commute the sentence of Ms. Manning is justified due to her mental state. In the future, America should seek to improve mental-health conditions in prisons in order for inmates to be healthy while justice is carried out.”

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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