March 31, 2008 / 6:09 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 31

March 31 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson is expected to announce his resignation, a decision that will deal a blow to the Bush administration’s efforts to tackle the housing and mortgage mess.

* The Bush administration’s plan to remodel the patchwork system of U.S. financial regulation is the biggest salvo in what will be a long-running debate about the role of government in financial markets.

* The Treasury Department’s blueprint for overhauling the regulation of financial markets is likely to spur strong reaction from exchange operators.

* Pernod Ricard (PERP.PA) has won an auction to acquire Sweden’s Vin & Sprit AB [VSG.UL], with the global drinks giant beating out Fortune Brands Inc FO.N of the U.S. to become the owner of the prized Absolut vodka brand, people familiar with the matter said.

* Barry Diller’s decisive courtroom victory in his battle with rival media mogul John Malone for control of IAC/InterActiveCorp IACI.O settled the question of who runs the Internet company. Now, Diller faces a host of new business and market challenges to his plan to break IAC into multiple companies.

* Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc LEH.N has gone to court in Tokyo in an effort to recover $350 million it says it was bilked out of through an elaborate scheme in which employees of a big Japanese trading company allegedly used forged documents and an imposter to raise cash.

* British Airways’ BAY.L flight schedule at Heathrow Airport is gradually returning to normal, but days of cancellations and lost luggage because of a breakdown in the bag-handling system at the airline’s new terminal could plague the company’s reputation for months.

* U.S. officials welcomed an order from Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr to his fighters to withdraw from the streets of Basra and other contested Iraqi cities after days of intense fighting, but it remained unclear whether his unruly army would follow the command.

* Tensions remained high in Lhasa as foreign diplomats concluded a visit to Tibet, China released new details about the uprisings and authorities continued efforts to keep Tibetan areas under control.

* An agreement to sell the Yellowstone Club for about $450 million has fallen apart, highlighting the increasing pressures on the high-end real-estate market. In a March 26 letter, CrossHarbor Capital Partners, the Boston-based private-equity firm, said it was terminating an agreement to buy Yellowstone, the closely held golf and ski resort.

* A panel of cardiologists called on physicians to sharply curtail their use of two blockbuster cholesterol drugs marketed by Merck & Co (MRK.N) and Schering-Plough Corp SGP.N after formal presentation of a study that reinforced the case against their widespread use in fighting cardiovascular disease.

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