Jan 28 (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.
* A growing number of financial scams have emerged in the wake of the alleged Madoff fraud, as strapped investors seek access to their cash amid hard times.
* Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) is intensifying its efforts in Russia, even as the country’s economy has stalled, as the company prepares for what it believes will be better times.
* Bank of America’s (BAC.N) board meets Wednesday, but it isn’t clear if directors will address swirling questions about CEO Kenneth Lewis.
* Yahoo Inc YHOO.O swung to a loss and warned that the weak advertising market will continue to hurt sales, adding to pressure on new CEO Bartz.
* U.S. unemployment rates rose in December, underscoring how the recession has spared few industries or regions.
* Rising defaults among homeowners with “jumbo” loans threaten more pain for banks and bond investors.
* New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive John Thain as Cuomo probes bonuses paid by the investment bank on the eve of its merger with Bank of America Corp (BAC.N).
* The board of Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc EBHI.O said it is cutting its size to seven members from 10 and significantly reducing the compensation of the remaining board members.
* A former American International Group Inc (AIG.N) executive was sentenced in Hartford, Connecticut, to four years in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy that caused losses to AIG investors.
* Fresh signs of U.S. economic weakness emerged as home prices posted further declines and consumer confidence sank to a new low.
* The U.S. economic stimulus package neared $900 billion in the Senate, as President Barack Obama wooed Republicans ahead of an expected House vote Wednesday.
* Whenever recovery begins, the world is likely to lean on U.S. consumers more than Chinese production, economists say.
* The global financial crisis has revived the International Monetary Fund, which just a year ago was pushing to sell a chunk of its gold reserves because it was making so few loans it didn’t have enough income. Now, it has committed about $50 billion in loans to try to rescue Pakistan, Iceland and a clutch of Eastern European countries.
* A U.S. House panel approved a measure to allow judges to reduce the principal amounts of mortgages for troubled borrowers in bankruptcy.
* The European Union is ready to throw more financial and political weight behind the long-discussed Nabucco natural-gas pipeline, which would make Central Asia a new gas supplier to Europe and bypass the contentious Russia-Ukraine supply route.
* A U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission official suggested that prosecutors may pursue charges against Madoff over what they believe were his lies to the SEC during past examinations.
* Revenue in Verizon Communication Inc’s (VZ.N) wireless unit rose 12 percent from a year ago and operating margins improved as the company continued to sign up new customers and encouraged users to spend on data services like text messaging, email and Internet access.
* Two major retailers — Target Corp (TGT.N) and Best Buy Co (BBY.N) — disclosed new employee cuts reflecting the deepening financial crisis in the industry. The job cuts are being made at the companies’ respective Minnesota-based headquarters in an effort to preserve customer service in their stores.
* Sun Microsystems Inc JAVA.O swung to a loss in its fiscal second quarter, reflecting restructuring costs and continued flagging sales for some of the company’s server systems.
* Amid talk of further drug-industry consolidation following Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) deal to buy Wyeth WYE.N, Bristol-Myers Squibb Co (BMY.N) — often mentioned as a potential takeover target — swung to a fourth-quarter profit after a year-earlier loss that was weighed down by charges.
* Banco Santander (SAN.MC) is offering its private-banking clients $1.82 billion in compensation for losses arising from investments in Madoff’s alleged Ponzi scheme.