PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Aug 13

Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:48am EDT

Aug 13 (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.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd IPO-BABA.N moved to address investor concerns ahead of its pending initial public offering by restructuring agreements to gain a bigger share of earnings from financial-services affiliate Alipay. (on.wsj.com/1otgBuA)

* The United States is weighing a military mission in Iraq to rescue thousands of Yazidi refugees, a move that risks putting American forces in direct confrontation with Sunni fighters for the Islamic State. (on.wsj.com/1uMJdP2)

* Democrats fighting for revenues from oil companies in Alaska are reaching out to an old foe: Sarah Palin. The former GOP governor is a natural ally in a ballot fight to restore a law she signed in 2007 that implemented steep and progressive taxes on the biggest Alaska oil producers. (on.wsj.com/1roMOAD)

* A critical part of the plumbing that keeps money flowing through the financial system is experiencing turmoil as new regulations prompt banks to step back from the multitrillion-dollar "repo" market. (on.wsj.com/1upIh5Q)

* Syrian government forces have nearly encircled Aleppo, preparing a siege to wrest control of the city from rebels in what would be the biggest blow yet to the three-year uprising.(on.wsj.com/1sQdz1Q)

* Portugal's second-biggest bank, Banco Espírito Santo SA , collapsed this month, and Espírito Santo's main holding companies have filed for bankruptcy amid allegations of accounting problems and fraud. Regulators believe Switzerland's Eurofin Holding SA played a key role in financing the failed conglomerate.(on.wsj.com/Y2FjH2)

* The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched a broad examination of alternative mutual funds, according to people familiar with the matter, kicking off regulatory scrutiny of one of the hottest and most controversial investment products to be offered to small investors. (on.wsj.com/1ppVgBx)

* Ernst & Young LLP wants the New York State Supreme Court to sign off on its recent legal win against New York's attorney general over whether it was responsible for the accounting woes that threw Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc into bankruptcy. (on.wsj.com/Vk9QOu)

* The prison sentences last week for two of the best-known anti-fraud specialists in China was a reminder of the stiff risks that can accompany buying and using information that the government deems private. (on.wsj.com/1oIc9SI)

* Japan's economy contracted sharply in the second quarter after a sales-tax increase in April sent household spending tumbling, which economists said could pressure the government to take additional stimulus measures. (on.wsj.com/1upUV4W)

* A bad year got worse for Ocwen Financial Corp when the mortgage servicer said it would restate earnings because of accounting problems. (on.wsj.com/1oKccCJ)

* Escalating tensions with Russia sent Ukraine's currency tumbling to a record low against the dollar Tuesday, a move that could threaten the stability of the country's banking system and raise the prospect of losses for bondholders.(on.wsj.com/1r7XqrZ)

* A proposed accounting change expected to force banks to boost the amount of reserves they hold against soured loans could catch many small and midsize lenders unprepared, according to a new survey of bank executives. (on.wsj.com/1BcYnkZ)

* President Barack Obama has said that he wants the mission in Iraq to be international in scope, but on Tuesday European countries offered no firm military commitment to fight a powerful Islamic militant force there. (on.wsj.com/1p3Pipo)

* Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki grew increasingly isolated on Tuesday, pushed further to the political sidelines as powerful factions at home and his closest regional ally, Iran, threw their weight behind the man nominated to succeed him. (on.wsj.com/1pNcW95)

* The mammoth Revel Casino Hotel said it would close next month after two years of operation, possibly carrying away 3,000 jobs from the beleaguered seaside city and dealing a setback to Governor Chris Christie's vision for its renewal. Revel had already filed for bankruptcy twice. (on.wsj.com/1ppzygT)

* WellPoint Inc, the second-biggest U.S. insurer, plans to change its name to Anthem Inc, elevating the brand that it now uses for most of its health-insurance products. (on.wsj.com/1l0RU8e) (Compiled by Shivam Srivastava in Bangalore)