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PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Oct 15

Oct 15 (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.

* Top Senate leaders said they were within striking distance of an agreement Monday to reopen the federal government and defuse a looming debt crisis just days before the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills. ()

* A UK investigation into potential manipulation of currency markets is looking at a former Royal Bank of Scotland trader, Richard Usher, who participated in electronic chat sessions with traders at other banks, according to people familiar with the investigation. ()

* Brazilian tycoon Eike Batista has signed a definitive agreement to sell a majority stake in another of his key assets as he advances a plan to shore up his heavily indebted companies. Mining company MMX Mineracao e Metalicos, which is controlled by Batista, said that Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Development Co and Dutch investment fund Trafigura Group have agreed to pay $400 million to buy a majority stake in a port in Itaguai, in the south of Rio de Janeiro state. ()

* Many U.S. banks are starting to see new growth from the old business of commercial real-estate loans. Recovering property values and improvements in borrowers' credit quality are driving the revival, after years of retrenchment. ()

* The prospects for a streamlined bankruptcy at Energy Future Holdings, one of the nation's largest utilities, were thrown into doubt on Monday, after creditors failed to agree on how to rework the company's finances. ()

* Sony Pictures Television will become the first big Hollywood studio to produce a new TV show for Netflix, underscoring how the TV industry's elite are starting to view the streaming video service as a launch pad for original series. ()

* Capitol Bancorp Ltd Monday agreed to sell its four remaining consolidated banks to Talmer Bancorp Inc, a Michigan bank holding company backed by billionaire financier Wilbur Ross. ()

* The court-appointed administrator in charge of winding down MF Global Holdings Ltd is concerned about the "exorbitant" defense fees being rung up by lawyers defending Jon Corzine and other former executives and managers in a securities fraud lawsuit. ()

* Amazon.com is setting up shop inside the warehouses of P&G and some other suppliers in its effort to sell everyday products like toilet paper, diapers and shampoo. ()