PRESS DIGEST - New York Times business news - May 8
May 8 (Reuters) - The following were the top stories in the New York Times business pages on Thursday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.
* A dozen oil companies agreed to pay $423 million in cash plus clean-up costs to settle litigation over groundwater contamination from the gasoline additive, MTBE.
* Under the aegis of the Federal Reserve, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N: Cotización) is managing $30 billion of hard-to-sell assets from Bear Stearns Cos BSC.N. If it fumbles, the Fed, and by extension taxpayers, could lose billions.
* With its more rigorous oversight of airplane maintenance having led to the recent grounding of thousands of flights, the Federal Aviation Administration is confronting long-term questions about whether it should act more like a tough regulator, rather than a partner, of the airlines.
* A UBS AG UBSN.VX executive was briefly detained by U.S. authorities in connection with a widening investigation into the Swiss bank's work with questionable tax transactions.
* California has awarded $271 million in grants to build 12 stem cell research centers in the state, even as one of the political rationales for the building program might soon disappear.
* Citigroup Inc (C.N: Cotización) said it was moving one of its most senior investment bankers to the Middle East, hoping to establish a stronger foothold in the oil-rich region.
* The chairmen of Delta Air Lines (DAL.N: Cotización) and Northwest Airlines NWA.N said a merger was essential to preserve jobs and service to small cities, and to compete with foreign-flag carriers.