PRESS DIGEST - Wall Street Journal - March 18

March 18 Mon Mar 18, 2013 2:55am EDT

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March 18 (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.

* The U.S. Justice Department trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case of American Airlines parent AMR Corp on Friday filed court papers objecting to certain employee wage increases, as well as a proposed $19.9 million exit package for AMR's chief executive, which are part of AMR and US Airways Group Inc's merger plan.

* The Philippines this weekend launched its bid to become Asia's third gambling hub with the opening of the Solaire, a $1.2 billion casino. Asia is battling the United States for supremacy in the global gambling market.

* U.S. regulators are investigating whether high-frequency traders are routinely distorting stock and futures markets by illegally acting as buyer and seller in the same transactions, according to people familiar with the probes.

* The Pentagon overrode a politically charged protest from Kansas defense contractor Beechcraft Corp and will work with Sierra Nevada Corp and the defense unit of Brazil's Embraer SA on a $427.5 million contract to build 20 planes for the Afghan air force.

* Many workers who were offered a sum of money to spend on healthcare opted for lower-priced plans that required them to pay more out of their pockets for healthcare.

* Verizon Communications is proposing to shake up the pay-television business based on a simple premise: it wants to tie the fees it pays to carry TV channels to how many people actually watch them.

* Directors of Transocean Ltd are urging shareholders to reject a campaign by activist investor Carl Icahn to increase the offshore-oil-rig company's dividend and name three new members to the board.

* Toronto-based generic-drug maker Apotex Inc has added an extra dose of tension to a drug-industry case involving patent settlements between brand-name companies and generic rivals to delay the potential introduction of copycat pills.

* Booming coffee demand in India is prompting companies like Lavazza SpA, Nestlé SA and Starbucks Corp to set up shop in the traditionally tea-drinking subcontinent, offering growth when returns are harder to come by in more developed markets. Rising consumption in India also is likely to pressure coffee prices.

* The Securities and Exchange Commission is filing significantly fewer civil fraud cases this year, as its efforts to punish misconduct related to the financial crisis start to ebb.

* Volkswagen AG's China unit said it would voluntarily recall cars suspected of having substandard direct-shift gearbox systems, following scrutiny from China's national state-run television broadcaster and after receiving a notification from China's quality watchdog.