PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 30

Reuters

Dec 30 (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.

* Saudi Arabia pledged $3 billion to bolster Lebanon's armed forces, in a challenge to the Iranian-allied Hezbollah militia's decades-long status as Lebanon's main power broker and security force. ()

* The housing recovery remains uneven as cities that were spared in bust soar, but many others struggle. ()

* Sales of long-term "junk" bonds are lagging and prices are down, the latest sign that investors are flocking to shorter-term securities that are less vulnerable to rising interest rates. ()

* Blackstone Group is spending $200 million for preferred stock of struggling footwear company Crocs.

* Amazon.com isn't that forthcoming with details about its Prime program, but that doesn't diminish its importance. ()

* The Securities and Exchange Commission is pushing life insurers to disclose the potential cost if they are forced to halt use of controversial "captive" entities, according to regulatory filings and people familiar with the matter. ()

* Acer Inc said Monday that three senior executives had recently left the company and some of them won't be replaced as the embattled personal-computer maker tries to keep costs low. ()

* As Chesapeake Energy Corp burned through cash in recent years, it raised billions of dollars by selling pieces of its empire: oil and gas properties, pipelines, even royalties from wells yet to be drilled. ()

* Technology giants Google Inc and Apple Inc are about to expand their battle for digital supremacy to a new front: the automobile.

Next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Google and German auto maker Audi AG plan to announce that they are working together to develop in-car entertainment and information systems that are based on Google's Android software, people familiar with the matter said. ()

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