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PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Oct 25

Oct 25 (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.

* A flurry of recent attacks by al Qaeda-linked militants in Iraq - strengthened by their alliance with jihadist fighters in Syria - is threatening to undo years of U.S. efforts to crush the group. ()

* Activist investor Carl Icahn boosted his investment in Apple Inc by 22 percent to 4.73 million shares, and continued to push for a massive $150 billion buyback at the company, according to a letter he sent to Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook. ()

* Former employees at USIS, the company that did the background check of Edward Snowden, the leaker of national-security information, say they were pushed to speed through background checks amid a corporate culture that made revenue the top priority. ()

* Outrage over alleged U.S. monitoring of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's personal cellphone spread across Europe on Thursday, threatening to complicate an array of America's trans-Atlantic interests. ()

* Twitter set its price range for its initial public offering at $17 to $20 a share, in a deal that values the company at up to $11.1 billion. ()

* Highly rated issuers sold more than $12 billion of bonds Thursday, taking advantage of robust investor demand and the latest tumble in market interest rates to stock up on cash. ()

* The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is considering softening the decades-old 25 percent foreign-ownership limit on TV and radio stations, paving way for new investment. ()

* The slowdown in mortgage-refinancing activity is hitting towns across the U.S. as banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citigroup eliminate thousands of jobs to cope with declines in home lending. ()

* Amazon.com Inc shares soared Thursday in after-hours trading after the online retailer reported its third loss in the past year. Investors were focused on a big jump in quarterly sales, which exceeded analysts' forecasts. ()

* The Chief Executive of Southwest Airlines Co hinted Thursday that the carrier could soon start charging for checked baggage if the flying public comes to accept the fees that other airlines charge. ()