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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

COUNCILS THREATEN ICELAND BANK ACTION
Council leaders have threatened to launch legal proceedings against a failed Icelandic bank which they fear will not repay £150m in deposits made by local authorities before the credit crunch. British councils had £900m of deposits in Iceland when a trio of its banks collapsed. So far barely £100m has been returned, although further repayments are expected in the spring.

“RADICAL” WELFARE SHAKE-UP TO BE UNVEILED
More powers for jobcentre staff, a review of employmentschemes for the sick and new curbs on London housing claims will be unveiledtoday by ministers in the latest shake-up of the welfare system. The “back to work” white paper will boost support for youth unemployment and establish reviews into a range of areas – from flexible working to employment programmes– while broadly endorsing the thrust of existing welfare and employment policy.

FINANCE DIRECTORS JUMP SHIP AMID STORMY SEAS
Turnover among finance directors in the UK’s biggest listed companies has increased sharply amid the turbulence of the past year, research has revealed. The number of FTSE 100 finance directors who stayed in their job for the entire 2008-09 financial year dropped by 16 per cent, according to research by the Reward Technology Forum.

INSURERS FACE REFORM OF RULES OF DISCLOSURE
Millions of consumers could benefit from proposed laws that would prevent insurers from rejecting claims because a policyholder did not disclose information they were never asked for.

THE TIMES

GOVERNMENT AIMS TO ENSURE ROTHSCHILD CAUGHT BY BONUS TAX
The Government is expected to extend the scope of its controversial banker bonus tax to ensure that the City house of N M Rothschild and other banks with non-standard year-ends do not slip through the net, The Times has learnt. Rothschild had been set to avoid the tax because, unusually among UK investment banks, it pays its annual bonuses in June, two months after the temporary tax is due to end on April 5 next year.

OLD SPITALFIELDS WORKSHOP SELLS FOR £3.75M
A former sweatshop in Spitalfields has been sold for 25 per cent above its £3m asking price after being on the market for only one month. The Grade II-listed property on Fournier Street went to sealed bids.

The Daily Telegraph

CITI RECRUITS LAWYERS FOR EMI BATTLE
Citigroup has hired two of the most powerful lawyers in the US from legal firm Paul Weiss to fight its corner in the bitter multi-billion pound legal battle launched by entrepreneur Guy Hands. Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp will be handling the case along with Ted Wells, who has represented former NY Governor Eliot Spitzer.

AUTOMOTIVE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME UNDER ATTACK
MPS have called for the Government to take urgent action over its ailing flagship support package for automotive manufacturers, labelling it a “wasted opportunity”. The Business Innovation and Skills Committee said the performance of Lord Mandelson’s £2.3bn Automotive Assistance Programme (AAP) was “deeply concerning”.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

WAL-MART USES ITS STORES TO GET AN EDGE ONLINE
For almost a decade, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has been boasting that it will dominate Internet retailing the way it dominates strip malls, toppling Amazon as the world’s largest online merchant. And every year, those boasts have proved hollow. But this holiday shopping season, Wal-Mart has started aiming at what it sees as Amazon’s Achilles’ heel: the costs and delays of shipping online purchases to buyers.

APPLE FACES DELAY ON IMAC SHIPMENTS
Consumer electronics giant Apple said Monday it is “working hard” to fill orders for one of its newest desktop computers even as reports mount that the machine’s screens are malfunctioning. Apple said it was running roughly two weeks behind.