<strong>FINANCIAL TIMES<br /><br />BT’S PENSION SCHEME TO HOLD LESS IN EQUITIES</strong><br />The BT Group Pension Scheme had only enough money at the end of 2008 to pay about 57 per cent of promised benefits if the telecommunications company were to become insolvent, and said it intended to pare back sharply its future investments in equities in the future. The shift in strategy is significant for a scheme that has consistently taken the view held that it is investing for the longer term and therefore, in spite of the fact that the scheme is mostly comprised of pensioners or deferred members, equity investments remain appropriate investments.<br /><br /><strong>EURO LIBOR RATES HIT ALL-TIME LOW</strong><br />Eurozone interbank lending rates fell to fresh lows yesterday as the injection last week by the European Central Bank of billions of euros into the financial system took effect. Euro libor rates from overnight to one-year duration set new lows since the creation of the eurozone in January 1999. Euro libor rates for 12-month lending have also fallen below those for equivalent dollar rates in spite of a US Federal Reserve fund rate near to zero compared with official eurozone rates of 1 per cent.<br /><br /><strong>PROSPECT OF EL NIÑO BLOWS CROP PRICES HIGHER</strong><br />El Ni&278;o, the recurring climatic event – caused by an increase of the water temperature in the tropical Pacific – has in the past triggered wild gyrations of wholesale food prices, as it usually brings droughts to south-east Asia and Australia. Traders and agricultural officials are nervously watching weather models for the possible development of an El Ni&278;o later this year – on the cards after August – after several countries, including Australia and the US, issued early weather warnings.<br /><br /><strong>THE TIMES<br /><br />WAR OF WORDS BEFORE BA AND UNIONS HOLD TALKS</strong><br />British Airways enters crunch talks with unions in an attempt to prevent strike action this summer, but accusations are already flying, even before the two sides face each other. Unite, the union that represents 27,000 BA employees, has accused Willie Walsh, the airline’s chief executive, of damaging BA’s reputation by stating that it was “fighting for its survival”.<br /><br /><strong>M&G’S DOBELL BLASTS “SELFISH” HEDGE FUNDS</strong><br />One of the most senior fund managers at Prudential has attacked hedge funds as selfish and devious and blasted derivatives as “the scourge of the modern age”. Tom Dobell, who manages the £3bn Recovery Fund for M&G made the remarks in letters sent this month to the fund’s 100,000 investors.<br /><br /><strong>The Daily Telegraph<br /><br />HSBC CUTS FEES ON TRACKER FUNDS</strong><br />HSBC has slashed the charges on its range of index-tracking funds. These funds, which previously charged an annual management charge of up to 1per cent, will now levy an annual fee of just 0.25 per cent, making them some of the cheapest tracker funds available to British investors. The reduced charges apply to both new and existing customers and will be effective from 1 September this year. <br /><br /><strong>MUTUAL BENEFITS AS SPAIN AND CHINA MOVE CLOSER</strong><br />Santander is in talks with China Construction Bank to start a rural banking venture. The financial crisis seems to have brought Spain and China closer – and not just in banking. China is a major market for Spanish renewable energy firms such as Gamesa and Acciona. Telefonica holds five per cent of China Netcom.<br /><br /><strong>WALL STREET JOURNAL</strong><br /><br /><strong>DOCUMENTS FUEL CONCERNS ABOUT EXPANDING CENTRAL BANK'S ROLE</strong><br />Documents unearthed by congressional investigators reveal disagreements among senior Federal Reserve officials about how to handle Bank of America’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch. The glimpse inside the regulatory machinery provided by memorandums show a Fed that wrestled with how tough it should be on Bank of America.<br /><br /><strong>HUNGARIAN CARRIER EXPANDS</strong><br />Wizz Air Hungary Airlines is poised to benefit from the woes of Central European carriers hit by fallout from the economic downturn and internal problems. Bratislava-based, Vienna-listed carrier SkyEurope Holding, the oldest low-cost operator in the region, was granted bankruptcy protection as its continuing restructuring failed to stem the impact of worsening external factors.