PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Jan 17

Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:47am EST

Jan 17 (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.

* Vice President Joe Biden has resumed a push to withdraw virtually all U.S. troops from Afghanistan at year end, arguing for a far-smaller presence than many military officers would like to see, said officials briefed on the discussions. ()

* Best Buy Co on Thursday became the latest retailer to chime in with weak holiday results. Like other chains, the electronics retailer blamed the race to offer the deepest discounts, a game of brinkmanship that hurt profit margins and held back revenue. ()

* President Barack Obama, in a highly anticipated speech that follows a six-month review of U.S. spying programs, is expected to extend privacy protections to non-U.S. citizens and announce measures to continuously evaluate sensitive surveillance, particularly involving foreign leaders, people familiar with the plan say. ()

* The holiday data breach at Target Corp appeared to be part of a broad and highly sophisticated international hacking campaign against multiple retailers, according to a report prepared by federal and private investigators that was sent to financial-services companies and retailers. ()

* Congress has turned to a new chapter in its long-running battle over the federal budget, as the Senate Thursday approved and sent to the White House a monumental spending bill that keeps the government running through September. ()

* Regulators took another swing at tamping down the riskiness of big U.S. banks, proposing new requirements for boards and executives and laying the groundwork for swifter enforcement for missteps. In guidelines proposed Thursday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency detailed risk-management standards for firms with more than $50 billion in assets, putting the onus on board members to ensure the rules are followed and requiring banks have independent audit and risk-management officers who can go straight to the board with concerns. ()

* The Justice Department hasn't charged employees at two-thirds of nearly 400 companies that have settled criminal investigations or been convicted of crimes in recent years, according to newly analyzed data. ()

* A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday delivered a major blow to the only completed deal to cut a portion of the city of Detroit's estimated $18 billion in long-term debt. Judge Steven Rhodes rejected a proposed $165 million settlement of so-called interest-rate swap agreements that the city used to help fund its pensions, calling the pact financially imprudent. ()

* Sprint Corp has received proposals from at least two banks on how it could finance a takeover of smaller rival T-Mobile US Inc giving it confidence that a deal could be funded, people familiar with the matter said. ()

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