Oct 31 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Google Inc (GOOG.O) is in advanced talks with two top U.S. cellphone operators, Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications (VZ.N) and Vodafone Group Plc (VOD.L), and Sprint Nextel Corp (S.N), about selling handsets tailored to its new mobile-phone operating system, people familiar with the matter said.
* While the prospect of an interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve may generate cheers in the stock market, it is causing trouble for the weakening dollar and could spur investments in other currencies.
* Merrill Lynch & Co MER.N Chief Executive Stan O‘Neal retired and will receive a $161.5 million exit package. The board named director Alberto Cribiorea, longtime Wall Street buyout executive, to lead a search for a successor among internal and external candidates.
* Several leading oil experts, gathered for an annual energy conference, sketched a near-term future in which mounting global demand and shrinking supplies push oil prices well past the $100-a-barrel mark.
* New York Senator Hillary Clinton’s dominance of the Democratic presidential field was on display at a televised debate on Tuesday as she sloughed off pointed criticism from rivals and aimed most of her fire at the Bush administration and the Republicans who seek their party’s nomination to succeed him.
* Cerberus Capital Management LP [CBS.UL] officially withdrew its $6.2 billion offer for Affiliated Computer Services Inc (ACS.N) on Tuesday, amid shareholder irritation over how the company’s directors handled the $62-per-share approach, according to people familiar with the matter. * Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) said its third-quarter net profit rose by 31 percent as tax and capital gains partially offset trading book writedowns.
* Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey declined to say if he considers an interrogation technique that simulates drowning to be torture and therefore illegal, though he called the procedure “repugnant.” The response appears to fall short of demands by prominent Democrats and Republicans.
* U.S. President George W. Bush assailed Democratic lawmakers again on spending and children’s health insurance legislation, saying he will veto any attempt to combine annual appropriations bills for veterans’ care, education and the Pentagon.
* Pressured by high commodity costs, Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N) and Colgate-Palmolive Co (CL.N) said they would raise prices on consumer staples, even as the weaker dollar boosted their international results.
* Iraqi politicians are moving quickly to rescind a three-year-old decree that gives foreign security companies immunity from local law. The push comes less than two months after Blackwater USA employees killed 17 Iraqis in Baghdad, igniting a diplomatic firestorm.
* The long-awaited sale of Beijing Olympics tickets to China’s public collapsed on Tuesday when frenzied demand led the ticketing system to crash. This ticketing phase was the first test of the Beijing organizers’ ability to handle the huge demand for tickets to the Games.
* DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc’s DWA.N third-quarter profit soared amid strong overseas receipts from “Shrek the Third,” the latest installment in its animated ogre franchise. * A bill to extend a moratorium on Internet access taxes for seven years was approved 402-0 by the House Tuesday, less than two days before it was set to expire.