PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 20
March 20 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Friday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Former Afghan warlords like Gul Agha Shirzai, now governor of Nangarhar province are again being seen as useful partners as U.S. President Barack Obama undertakes a massive overhaul of the war in Afghanistan.
* President Barack Obama appealed directly to the Iranian government and its people to forge a new relationship with the U.S. in a sign of his administration's intensifying efforts to use diplomacy to end Tehran's nuclear program and support of Middle East-based militant groups.
* Credit-rating companies, widely assailed for their role in fueling the financial crisis with overly rosy debt ratings, stand to make a billion-dollar windfall in the government's latest attempt to heal the credit markets.
* The House passed legislation that would significantly curb Wall Street bonuses this year, as lawmakers from both parties echoed popular outrage over big payouts to employees of American International Group Inc (AIG.N: Cotización) after the ailing insurance giant took billions of dollars in taxpayer money.
* The International Monetary Fund plans to sweeten a $100 billion lending program announced in October that didn't attract a single borrower. The new program of less-restrictive loans is designed to boost the fund's standing as an authority in containing the global meltdown and to assuage member countries' concerns about borrowing from a lender often seen as heavy-handed and intrusive.
* Turkey, which has held out against negotiating a support package from the International Monetary Fund, appears to be opening the way for a deal.
* European Union leaders, meeting at a Brussels summit, rejected calls to expand their fiscal-stimulus policies, or to boost aid for struggling Eastern European countries.