PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Feb 7

Thu Feb 7, 2013 2:29am EST

Feb 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.

* U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to let a small group of lawmakers look at a classified opinion explaining his administration's legal justification for targeting killings of American terror suspects in other countries.

* American Airlines parent AMR Corp and US Airways Group Inc are hashing out the last major details of a merger agreement that would create the world's largest airline and are racing to finalize a deal, said people close to the discussions.

* Standard & Poor's Ratings Services could face a much higher legal bill than the $5 billion sought by the federal government as more and more states join the battle against the credit-ratings firm.

* Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay more than $610 million in fines to settle interest-rate-rigging charges with U.S. and UK authorities, and the bank's Japanese unit will plead guilty to U.S. fraud charges.

* Boeing Co is proposing a series of battery design changes that it believes would minimize the risks of fire on its 787 Dreamliners and allow the grounded jets to fly again while it continues searching for a longer-term fix, say government and industry officials briefed on the matter.

* Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the Italian bank at the center of a burgeoning financial scandal, was so strapped for cash in late 2011 that it negotiated a covert loan of nearly 2 billion euros ($2.71 billion) from the Bank of Italy even as executives were describing the lender's funding position as comfortable, according to the Bank of Italy and people familiar with the deal.

* Google Inc said it will require current advertisers using its AdWords online-ad system to pay for ads on some mobile devices, like tablets, for the first time.

* News Corp's earnings more than doubled in the three months to December, helped by one-time gains related to acquisitions, but the media and entertainment company cut its profit outlook.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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