Nov 29 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* The United States government has temporarily banned the British oil company BP Plc from new federal contracts, citing the company’s “lack of business integrity.” The decision comes after BP agreed to plead guilty this month to criminal charges over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill that killed 11 workers and polluted hundreds of miles of Gulf of Mexico shoreline. ()
* The world’s biggest airline, created after United merged with Continental Airlines in 2010, promised an unparalleled global network, with eight major hubs and 5,500 daily flights serving nearly 400 destinations. But two years on, United still grapples with a myriad problems in integrating the two airlines. The result has been hobbled operations, angry passengers and soured relations with employees. ()
* In recent years, Steven Cohen, the once-reclusive money manager, has carved out a public profile straddling a number of fields: a prodigious art collector, an investor in the New York Mets, a supporter of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Now he has been thrust into an unwanted role: defending SAC Capital Advisors, his $14 billion hedge fund, against an intensifying government investigation into insider trading. ()
* The field of candidates to run the Securities and Exchange Commission is shifting after a contender dropped out of the race. Mary Miller, a senior Treasury Department official, removed her name from consideration in recent days, according to several people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to discuss the selection process. ()
* President Obama surrounded himself with taxpayers on Wednesday to pitch his plan to preserve current rates for the middle class and raise them for the wealthy. A day before, he met with small-business owners for the same purpose. On Friday, he plans to fly to Pennsylvania to tour a factory to make the same point. ()
* The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, still plagued by technological troubles, will ultimately cost American taxpayers $396 billion if the Pentagon sticks to its plan to build 2,443 by the late 2030s. ()
* The European Commission on Wednesday approved a payment of 37 billion euros ($47.77 billion) from the euro zone bailout fund to four Spanish banks on the condition that they lay off thousands of employees and close offices. ()