Feb 19 The following are the top stories on the
New York Times business pages. Reuters has not verified these
stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* Criticized for letting Wall Street off the hook after the
financial crisis, the U.S. Justice Department is building a new
model for prosecuting big banks. In a recent round of actions
that shook the financial industry, the government pushed for
guilty pleas, rather than just the usual fines and reforms.
Prosecutors now aim to apply the approach broadly to financial
fraud cases, according to officials involved in the
* Office Depot Inc and OfficeMax Inc are in
talks to combine in an all-stock deal that may be announced as
soon as this week, a person briefed on the matter said. While
talks are at an advanced stage, they may still fall apart, this
* Citing a Europe-wide recession, France's Socialist
government is moving away from its promise to bring its budget
deficit down to 3 percent of gross domestic product this year,
arguing that the recession creates an exceptional circumstance
requiring less austerity.
* Reader's Digest filed for bankruptcy in
another effort to cut down the debt that has plagued the
pocket-size publication for years. The company is hoping to
convert about $465 million of its debt into equity held by its
* Drug maker Novartis AG plans to pay departing
chairman Daniel Vasella $78 million to prevent him from sharing
knowledge with competitors, adding fuel to an already heated
debate about executive pay.
* Striking ground workers and flight attendants for Iberia,
the money-losing Spanish airline, clashed with riot police
officers at Madrid-Barajas Airport to protest a plan to
eliminate more than 3,800 jobs.
* Pharmaceutical companies Roche Holding AG and
GlaxoSmithKline are helping to develop tests for illicit
use in order to keep their offerings from being abused by
* A growing body of digital evidence leaves little doubt
that an overwhelming percentage of the attacks on American
companies and government agencies start in a 12-story office
building on the edge of Shanghai, China.