What the other papers say this morning - 19 December 2013

FINANCIAL TIMES

UK losing ‘courageous instinct’
The UK is losing its “courageous instinct” on the international stage in what threatens to become the “most damaging” threat to armed forces in the future, according to the country’s most senior military officer. The chief of the defence staff, Sir Nicholas Houghton, warned on Wednesday evening in a hard-hitting lecture to the Royal United Services Institute that he feared the UK was at risk of stepping back from its responsibilities – and needs – on the global stage.

NSA panel: surveillence overhaul
A panel appointed by Barack Obama to review electronic intelligence collection has recommended the government continue to have access to phone records of US citizens suspected of terrorism but that the data be held by private, not government, entities.

JPMorgan shoots instant messanger
JPMorgan Chase’s investment banking co-heads banned their staff from using multi-bank instant messaging services on Wednesday, the latest sign of banks clamping down on a tool blemished by its use in market manipulation.

In a memo to staff, Mike Cavanagh and Daniel Pinto said that – “effective immediately” – all staff were “prohibited from participating in electronic chats or instant messaging groups with two or more other banks/dealers”.

THE TIMES

Bupa buys stake in US travel insurer
Britain’s largest non-NHS insurer has acquired 49 per cent of Highway to Health, a Pennsylvania-based company that develops online health tools, including smartphone software for booking appointments, as well as providing coverage for patients.

EU could ban refillable electric cigs
Refillable electronic cigarettes could be banned in the European Union under an agreement to regulate the devices for the first time. Despite intensive lobbying from the e-cigarette industry, an EU-wide ban could be imposed if at least three member states prohibit refillable e-cigarettes.

The Daily Telegraph

William Hill to keep Gibralta base
William Hill plans to maintain its online betting base in Gibraltar despite a tax clampdown that will cost it tens of millions of pounds.

The company is one of many bookmakers that has set up internet operations in Gibraltar, allowing it to sign up British gamblers while benefiting from a benign local tax regime.

Humber wind turbines approved
Work on a £450m plant to build offshore wind turbines on the south bank of the Humber Estuary that will create thousand of jobs will start early next year after the plans won government approval. The developer is Able UK.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Fidelity plants flag in hedge turf
Fidelity Investments launched two "event-driven" mutual funds, the latest foray by the firm into a sector traditionally dominated by hedge funds. The launch of the Fidelity Event Driven Opportunities Fund and Fidelity Advisor Event Driven Opportunities Fund comes as alternative funds continue to pull in a record amount of investor cash.

AMC shares climb on debut
AMC’s shares rose 5 per cent in their trading debut, about one year after the second largest movie theater-chain in the US was acquired by a China-based entertainment company.