Jan 7 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Republicans won't accept further tax increases in the United States in coming budget and debt negotiations, the party's Senate leader said on Sunday, putting Republican lawmakers on a collision course with Democrats over raising the government's borrowing limit. ()
* Global banking regulators watered down a key element of their plan for creating a safer financial system, giving ground to banks that argued the rules were unworkable and financially risky. ()
* Banks were closing in on a $10 billion foreclosure-abuse settlement with U.S. regulators that could be announced as soon as on Monday, according to people familiar with the talks. ()
* ExxonMobil Corp said it will spend $14 billion to develop the Hebron oil field off the shore of eastern Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, a project it expects to yield 700 million barrels of oil. ()
* Syrian President Bashar al-Assad issued a defiant call to war to defend the country against what he called a foreign-inspired rebellion, ruling out talks with rebels and rejecting international peace efforts for a political plan of his own that keeps him in power. ()
* Flowers Foods and Grupo Bimbo are in discussions to acquire pieces of Hostess Brands Inc's bread business, as the maker of Wonder Bread and Twinkies sells off assets and liquidates, said people familiar with the talks. ()
* Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network unveiled six new original series on Saturday aimed at bolstering the fledgling network's audiences. ()