PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - Dec 31

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:12am EST

Dec 31 - The following are the top stories in the Wall Street Journal on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* In a step that potentially could ease the way for a merger of American Airlines parent AMR Corp and US Airways Group Inc, the board of American's pilots union approved an interim labor framework should the two carriers proceed with a combination to take AMR out of bankruptcy-court protection. ()

* U.S. investment firm Lone Star Funds and other shareholders of Tokyo Star Bank are in talks on selling the midsize Japanese lender to Taiwan's Chinatrust Commercial Bank Co Ltd, a person close to the talks said. ()

* If Congress and the White House fail to strike a deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, Republicans are under few illusions as to who will get much of the blame - even if past polls suggest there will be plenty to go around. ()

* Europe's poor economic outlook could drag on the euro in 2013, but it is the actions of the European Central Bank and its peers that will largely determine how it trades, analysts and investors say. ()

* The government of Socialist President Fran├žois Hollande on Sunday said it would consider other ways of imposing a top income-tax rate of 75 percent on high-wealth individuals after the country's top constitutional authority scrapped the plan. ()

* A stroke-preventing pill from Pfizer Inc and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co won approval from U.S. health regulators, setting the stage for a fierce fight among drug makers to replace the widely used blood thinner warfarin. ()

* A group of pension funds that oversee more than $3 trillion in assets asked U.S. securities regulators to revamp rules on how corporate executives can trade their company stock. ()

* Stricter international safety rules will kick in next year to tackle hazards from shipments of lithium batteries aboard planes, but pilot groups and power-cell makers are battling over whether there should be even tougher measures. ()

* Mandatory federal spending cuts designed to be prohibitively drastic will become a reality on Wednesday if negotiators remain unable to reach an agreement to avert the reductions. ()

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