PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 18

martes 18 de diciembre de 2007 07:32 CET

Dec 18 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* A Pentagon report accuses Iran of continuing to funnel weapons into Iraq, adding fuel to the debate about whether Tehran still is trying to destabilize Iraq or if it has begun to curtail such efforts.

* Medtronic Inc (MDT.N: Cotización) is acquiring a 15 percent interest in a Chinese medical-device maker Shandong Weigao Group Medical Polymer Co 8199.HK for $221 million in its first Asian joint venture.

* Fears of a year-end money-market meltdown spurred the European Central Bank to guarantee euro-zone financial institutions unlimited funds at a fixed rate Tuesday.

* U.S. President George W. Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson began a full-court press to make the administration's case that it has the housing and credit situations well in hand. Bush also reaffirmed his opposition to bailing out lenders.

* The U.S. Federal Reserve might be wise to avoid saying whether weak growth or inflation is the principal focus of its interest-rate deliberations, a Fed policy maker said.

* The U.S. needs to overhaul the program that administers royalties for resources like oil produced on federal lands, a panel of outside experts has told the Interior Department.

* Vladimir Putin confirmed he would become prime minister under the loyalist he is backing to succeed him as president in May, but analysts said the move to stay in power risks provoking instability.

* Federal criminal prosecutors investigating the collapse of two internal hedge funds at Wall Street firm Bear Stearns Cos Inc BSC.N are looking at whether a Bear executive made improper withdrawals from one of the collapsed funds while making optimistic forecasts about the portfolio's prospects, people familiar with the matter say.

* Citigroup Inc (C.N: Cotización) named Don Callahan, a Morgan Stanley ex-executive, as chief administrative officer. Callahan will oversee Citi's administrative functions, including technology, marketing and branding and corporate affairs, Chief Executive Vikram Pandit said in a memo to Citi employees.