The 10-Point: WSJ Editor in Chief Gerard Baker's Guide to the Day's Top News

By Gerard Baker Features Dow Jones Newswires

Good morning,

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Special Permission

Exxon Mobil has applied to the Treasury Department for a waiver from U.S. sanctions on Russia in a bid to resume its joint venture with state oil giant Rosneft. We report that Exxon has been seeking U.S. permission to drill with Rosneft in several areas banned by sanctions and renewed a push for approval in March, shortly after its most recent chief executive, Rex Tillerson, became secretary of state. The waiver request is likely to be closely scrutinized by members of Congress who are seeking to intensify sanctions on Russia in response to what the U.S. said was its use of cyberattacks to interfere with elections last year. The State Department is among the U.S. government agencies that have a say on Exxon's waiver application, but Mr. Tillerson is recusing himself from any matters involving Exxon for two years, a State Department spokesman said.

The No-Spin Zone

Fox News is parting ways with Bill O'Reilly in the wake of a sexual-harassment scandal, bringing an end to the combative host's two-decade run that drew millions of loyal viewers and helped build the network's political influence. The decision to cut ties with Mr. O'Reilly, a staple of the Fox News Channel since its launch in 1996, is a sea change for both the network and its parent company 21st Century Fox. Mr. O'Reilly's take-no-prisoners approach to hosting and glee in belittling those he disagreed with became the template for much of the network's programming strategy. The absence of "The O'Reilly Factor" will be the most high-profile change for viewers in a year that has also seen the exit of Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes and popular host Megyn Kelly. Fox News is moving Tucker Carlson into Mr. O'Reilly's time slot.

Poison Pen

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The letter that cost Klaus Kleinfeld his job as chief executive of aerospace-parts maker Arconic on Monday contained a vague threat toward the billionaire whose hedge fund had been campaigning for Mr. Kleinfeld's ouster. The letter, sent last week to Elliott Management, referenced the alleged partying of Elliott's president, Paul Singer, at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Mr. Kleinfeld's home country. We report that Mr. Kleinfeld wrote, in sometimes imperfect English, that while the two had never met, he had heard stories from friends in Germany about what the letter called Mr. Singer's "legendary" conduct during and after several soccer matches. The letter alludes to the Wall Street magnate singing "Singing in the Rain" in a fountain. Elliott said Monday that the letter was "based on completely false insinuations." Meanwhile, the race is heating up for Arconic's next leader.

Hollywood Goes Virtual

In show business, virtual reality is the new ingénue. The 360-degree immersive technology started emerging at film festivals about five years ago, often in projects that were more snazzy demos than stirring narratives. Since then, movie executives have used VR to promote existing franchises and provide interactive extras for anticipated blockbusters. Now, the entertainment industry is dedicating new levels of talent, money and time to VR projects, with a premium on original stories, award-worthy performances, Hollywood production values and a pinch of celebrity. At the Tribeca Film Festival, which opens this week, the VR lineup includes projects connected to director Kathryn Bigelow, musicians John Legend and Pharrell Williams, producer Megan Ellison and others. VR is a creative niche that has yet to be fully identified or understood.

--Compiled by Margaret Rawson

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 20, 2017 06:54 ET (10:54 GMT)