December 10, 2007 / 6:26 AM / 11 years ago

PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 10

Dec 10 (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.

* The U.S. mortgage crisis looks manageable compared with the savings-and-loan crisis of the 1980s, but its economic toll could linger for years.

* Authorities started inquiries in 2005 over Bear Stearns Cos Inc BSC.N mortgage pricing but dropped them, perhaps missing an early pass at the Wall Street crisis.

* The weekend breakdown in talks between striking screenwriters and producers threatens to lead to effectively shutting much of the entertainment industry and could mean big changes, particularly in television business.

* Corporate profits are being hit by both the slowing economy and credit-market turmoil, sharpening fear of a recession.

* Republican presidential field gingerly defended tough immigration policies before a Hispanic audience even as candidates acknowledged that their party has lost support from the fastest growing minority group in the United States.

* The Justice Department is opening an inquiry into the CIA’s destruction of detainee-interrogation tapes in a sign of increasing scrutiny.

* A top energy official here said a cooperation pact between state-owned natural-gas companies in Algeria and Russia has lapsed, a development that may help assuage fears in Europe that two of its biggest suppliers could join forces to drive up prices.

* Spain’s Iberdrola (IBE.MC) plans to sell 20 percent of its clean-energy unit in a pricey offering testing investor appetite for alternative power.

* In the latest development to highlight the shifting economics of the music industry, social-networking service Imeem Inc plans to announce today a licensing agreement allowing its users to listen free to the music of Vivendi SA’s (VIV.PA) Universal Music Group.

* Democrats are advancing an estimated $522 billion government-wide spending bill in an attempt to avoid a repeat budget collapse.

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