February 20, 2009 / 5:23 AM / in 10 years

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 20

Feb 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.

* Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) Chairman Kenneth Lewis was subpoenaed by New York state over bonuses and losses at Merrill. Former Merrill CEO Thain was interviewed.

* Texas financier R. Allen Stanford was tracked down in Virginia by FBI agents, at the request of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and served papers. Prosecutors are investigating if he was operating a Ponzi scheme.

* The U.S. sued UBS AG UBSN.VX to gain access to 52,000 accounts belonging to U.S. clients as it intensifies a probe of the secretive Swiss accounts.

* Chief executives from several big household-products makers voiced confidence they could make higher prices stick, even as the recession ratchets up pressure on retailers and consumers to cut costs.

* Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) and Time Warner Cable Inc TWC.N are discussing with owners of major cable-TV networks ways to give cable subscribers online access to much of the networks’ programming, according to people familiar with the situation.

* Citigroup Inc (C.N), taking another step to shrink its sprawling empire, plans to sell a large chunk of its minority stake in Brazilian credit-card company Redecard SA RDCD3.SA, according to people familiar with the matter.

* Without a hit phone or strong brand to lure consumers, Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N) increasingly is pushing discounts in a bid to reverse two years of subscriber losses.

* New York Times Co’s (NYT.N) board voted to suspend the quarterly dividend, the publisher’s latest move to conserve cash in a dismal economic climate.

* Airplane maker Embraer (EMBR3.SA) (ERJ.N) lowered its 2009 production target and said it will cut its work force by 20 percent due to the global economic downturn.

* The U.S. Justice Department is joining two whistleblower lawsuits alleging that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) marketed its cardiac drug Natrecor for a use that isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

* Months after soaring fuel prices spurred many to cut back on their driving, demand for gasoline is slowly coming back, helping to push up oil prices.

* Investigators probing the fatal crash of a Continental Connection commuter plane last week near Buffalo, New York, are looking into previous reports of problems with an airport-navigation system and how many hours the pilots worked on the day of the accident.

* Two weeks after passing a $787 billon economic stimulus plan, the U.S. Congress returns next week to take up another spending bill, this one with a price tag of $410 billion. Unlike the emergency recovery plan rushed through Capitol Hill in a matter of weeks, this covers the regular functions of government, from education to agriculture.

* California’s legislature approved a plan to close a $42 billion budget gap, saving the state from insolvency but falling short of curing its financial troubles.

* President Barack Obama, in his first foreign trip, sought to reassure Canada that he had no intention of turning some of his campaign rhetoric on trade into actual barriers between the U.S. and its largest trading partner.

* The UK’s balance sheet sagged, hurt by a combination of government bailouts and falling tax revenue.

* Four months after Airbus shelved plans to increase production of its planes, the European plane maker said it will now cut output amid a global weakening in demand for jetliners.

* State officials nationwide are combing through the $787 billion stimulus package, trying to figure out what they have to do to get their hands on their share of the money.

* With money scarce in the ad world, two big WPP (WPP.L) owned agencies from different ends of the industry are competing for the same turf: Internet advertising.

* Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) is expected to announce that it is bringing back Yoshi Inaba, a former senior executive, to revamp its North American operations, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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