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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BERLIN PUSHES WEBER FOR TOP JOB AT THE ECB
Berlin has stepped up its campaign for Axel Weber, Bundesbank chief, to be elected president of the European Central Bank amid intense negotiations over the appointment of the number two position at the Frankfurt-based institution. German officials told the Financial Times that eurozone nations were leaning towards Vitor Constancio, Portuguese central bank chief, for vice-president, a move that would stop the bloc’s “southern flank” bidding for the top job.

NYT TO CHARGE FOR ONLINE ACCESS
The New York Times will begin charging for online access to its website by 2011, reversing the prevailing policy among general news brands to give away their best work for free. The publisher of the International Herald Tribune, Boston Globe and the namesake daily newspaper will adopt a metered model, similar to a system used by the Financial Times, that will offer a set number of articles for free monthly and begin charging readers after they exceed the limit.

POACHING OF STAFF RETURNS WITH CITY REVIVAL
Poaching of employees by rivals is becoming a problem in the City again as confidence returns to the jobs market in the capital’s financial services industry, according to a survey. More than four out of five City human resource and line managers believe hiring will increase this year, said Morgan McKinley, the financial recruitment ­specialist. The reviving jobs market is a boost to London’s morale amid fierce controversy over threats to its future as a global financial centre because of rising taxes and regulation, coupled with a long-term economic shift to Asia.

THE TIMES

APPLE FIRES WARNING AT BLOG FOR TABLET REQUEST
Apple has turned to its lawyers in an attempt to keep the lid on the company’s biggest product launch in three years. Its lawyers have sent a warning letter to a website that offered cash for photos of its touchscreen tablet personal computer before the product is unveiled, probably next week.
The tablet will be Apple’s biggest new product since the iPhone in 2007.

E.ON TO AXE 800 JOBS
E.ON, one of Britain’s biggest energy companies, is set to cut up to 800 jobs after the closure of a call centre in Essex. The German-owned company, which supplies gas and electricity to 5.5m customers in the UK, said the closure of the site at Rayleigh, near Southend, was “not being taken lightly” but reflected a drive to improve efficiency across the group.

The Daily Telegraph

THE RETURN OF THE LODGER
The number of live-in landlords advertising online for a lodger to help pay their mortgage costs jumped to 2,487 from 1,955. A total of 65 per cent of respondents said they were overstretched financially. Matt Hutchinson, director of Spareroom.co.uk, said: “It seems that Christmas has acted as a tipping point for many home owners.”

CENTRICA IN JOB CUTS ROW
The union raised concerns on Thursday that Centrica was not keeping it informed about job losses, claiming it had seen an internal memo planning up to 25 per cent cuts to non-customer-facing roles. Gary Smith, GMB national officer, said: “We have good reason to believe British Gas is planning to axe up to 5,000 jobs in its operations across the UK.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL

ALCON PANEL REBUFFS NOVARTIS
Independent directors of Alcon yesterday rebuffed Novartis’s offer to buy out minority shareholders of the US eye-care firm, criticising it as too low. The committee said it informed Novartis chairman and chief executive Daniel Vasella in a letter “that based on advice from its independent financial advisor, it had determined that the price and other terms proposed were insufficient.

MICROSOFT TO SUE TIVO
Microsoft filed a lawsuit against TiVo, accusing it of patent infringement. Microsoft claimed the Alviso, California maker of digital video recorders illegally used technology related to purchasing and delivering video and the ability to display programming information. The move is seen by analysts as an attempt to counter an earlier suit filed by TiVo.