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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

US PUBLIC PENSIONS FACE $2,000BN SHORTFALL
The US public pension system faces a higher-than-expected shortfall of more than $2,000bn that will increase pressure on many states’ strained finances and crimp economic growth, according to the chairman of New Jersey’s pension fund. The estimate by Orin Kramer will fuel investors’ concerns over the deteriorating financial health of US states after the recession.

HIGH STREET HOPES RISE AS JOHN LEWIS RINGS UP RECORD

The employee-owned department store chain has recorded record sales over the Christmas and new year period, providing evidence of a pick-up in conditions on the high street. The store group said that sales were strongly ahead of last year.

EX-TIME WARNER CHIEF APOLOGISES FOR DISASTER OF $164BN AOL DEAL
Jerry Levin, who sold Time Warner for AOL shares inflated by the dotcom boom has marked the 10th anniversary of the $164bn deal with a call for today’s corporate titans to accept responsibility for the recent financial crisis. The former Time Warner chief executive, having avoided apologising for the billions of dollars destroyed by the deal, made a belated mea culpa. He said he was sorry for the “pain and suffering” caused.

FLORIDA’S WINTER CHILL PUTS THE HEAT INTO ORANGE JUICE FACTORIES
A cold snap in Florida’s citrus groves saw orange juice futures surge yesterday to hit an exchange -set daily trading limit, further extending a rally in a market in which prices rose 81 per cent last year. Freezing temperatures in the state’s growing regions could pinch a crop already expected to decline.

THE TIMES

SHELL IS FINED OVER ACCIDENT AT OIL REFINERY
Shell and two of its contractors were fined a combined £283,000 by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) yesterday over an accident at an oil refinery that left a worker paralysed from the waist down. The HSE said the accident at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex at Ellesmere Port was “totally avoidable”.

TULLOW OIL’S MOVE TO RETAIN UGANDAN OILFIELDS
Tullow Oil is preparing to scupper a deal that would see half its prized oilfields in Uganda sold to Eni, the Italian energy giant. The FTSE 100 oil explorer recently discovered that the fields hold huge reserves but to bring them into production will require billions of dollars in investment. Ownership of the fields is an issue of national concern in Uganda.

The Daily Telegraph

CONFIDENCE AMONG UK FINANCE DIRECTORS IS RISING
Finance directors at some of the biggest companies in Britain are feeling more confident than at any time since the start of 2008, according to a new survey. almost 80 per cent of those finance directors questioned reckon that the banking system can help sustain a recovery for the wider UK economy. A measure of risk appetite among the executives also came in at the highest level for two years.

MOULTON AND HANDS PROFIT ON WINDFARM
Guy Hands and Jon Moulton, the private equity veterans, have finally seen a Cumbria-based wind farm they acquired in 2006 blow into profit. Wharrels Hill LLP crept into the black, posting a £62,161 pre-tax profit in the year to April 2009.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

ENERGY ROW AS BELARUS AND RUSSIA FAIL TO CLINCH OIL DEAL
An energy price dispute between Russia and Belarus escalated Monday, raising concerns about midwinter disruptions in the flow through a pipeline system that supplies 10% of the European Union's oil. The dispute focuses on the Soviet-era Druzba system that is the main pathway of Siberian petroleum to Europe.

AD INFLUX BRIGHTENS HOPES FOR NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES
A year-end flurry of ad spending helped moderate steep declines at some newspapers and magazines, and has fueled an uptick at others, raising hopes for a recovery in 2010. But publishers remain wary of declaring an ad rebound as marketers selectively reopen their wallets after a brutal 2009, when scores of publications closed or made drastic cutbacks.