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PRESS DIGEST- New York Times business news - Dec 10

Dec 10 (Reuters) - 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.

* The government bailout of General Motors ended on Monday with the Treasury Department's announcement that it had sold its final shares of GM stock. The sale closes a tumultuous chapter in the history of the American auto industry, and allows the nation's largest automaker to continue its comeback free from the stigma of being known as "Government Motors." ()

* The Finnish cellphone giant Nokia is expected on Tuesday to offer almost $400 million to resolve a tax dispute with Indian authorities ahead of the company's planned sale of its handset business to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. ()

* Output at German factories, mines and power plants declined in October for a second straight month, official data showed on Monday, the latest sign that the economy at the heart of the euro zone recovery might not be growing as quickly as had been hoped. ()

* Not limiting their activities to the earthly realm, American and British spies have infiltrated the fantasy worlds of World of Warcraft and Second Life, conducting surveillance and scooping up data in the online games played by millions of people across the globe, according to newly disclosed classified documents. ()

* The advent of a new medium to conduct business inevitably means avenues for criminals to swoop in to take advantage. The development of Bitcoin, the virtual currency that is not issued by any government, presents challenges for the authorities to use laws that were not designed for the digital world to combat illegal conduct. ()

* Shortly after 1 a.m. on a day nearly a year ago, Cerberus Capital Management announced that it planned to sell its gun manufacturing company, the Freedom Group, after the deadly school shooting in Connecticut four days earlier. But the efforts to sell the company, which produced the Bushmaster rifle that Adam Lanza used in his assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., have been hamstrung by the public furor that prompted the auction in the first place. ()

* European Aeronautic Defense and Space, the parent company of Airbus, announced plans on Monday to cut 5,800 jobs from its military and space divisions over the next three years as it responds to reductions in European military budgets driven by austerity measures. ()

* The billionaire trader Steven A. Cohen is one step closer to converting his onetime $15 billion hedge fund into a family office after a tentative deal to sell a reinsurance firm he formed in 2012. Hamilton Reinsurance Group - a privately held firm led by the former insurance executive Brian Duperreault and Two Sigma Investments - will be buying the firm, known as SAC Re Ltd, for an undisclosed amount. ()

* When you think about Nelson Mandela, you probably think about freedom - free people, free country, free speech. What may be overshadowed by Mandela's extraordinary legacy was his complicated journey to support free markets and a free economy.