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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES
TREASURY BLOCKS £1BN TAX LOOPHOLE
A corporate tax loophole that threatened to drain the exchequer of £1bn a year was blocked yesterday by the Treasure in legislation that will be backdated to October 2007. The move is a response to a threat by banks and other companies to exploit an apparent defedct in legislation introduced in 2007 concerning “repo” transactions - agreements to see and repurchase securities that amount to a form of short-term borrowing.

MORCOMBE QUITS AS CHIEF OF ALPHAMERIC
The chief executive of Alphameric, who had been under pressure from leading shareholder Joe Lewis, on Tuesday resigned from the technology company. Alan Morcombe narrowly avoided losing his job at last year’s annual meeting, winning re-election in spite of Mr Lewis’s efforts to remove him.

RENEURON APPROVED FOR STEM CELL TRIAL
ReNeuron has overcome the final regulatory barrier to treating stroke patients with stem cells. The UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee granted its approval for the Guildford-based company to begin a clinical trial with a dozen stroke patients in Scotland. It will be the world’s first human test of stem cell therapy for strokes.

WARNER CHIEF SEES NO BARRIERS TO EMI TIE-UP
Warner Music sees no regulatory barrier to a bid for all or part of EMI, its chairman and chief executive said yesterday, heightening expectations that the UK music group’s debt troubles might lead to a combination of the two labels. Edgar Bronfman Jr said the regulatory climate had not hardened since the European Commission’s 2007 merger approval.

THE TIMES
BA APPROACHES REDUNDANT STAFF TO COVER STRIKE
British Airways has approached the staff it made redundant last year to entice them back on temporary contracts as strike cover if cabin crew vote for industrial action. The Times has learnt that former staff have been offered six-month contracts worth about £1,000 a month plus £2.40 an hour flying allowance. BA has told these former cabin crew that retraining would take a week and courses start from February 22.

WELSH WATER TO CULL 300 JOBS TO CUT RUNNING COSTS
Welsh Water, the “not-for-profit” company that provides water and waste water services for three million people, has infuriated unions with a plan to cull 300 jobs. At the same time, the company has torn up a 15-year £1.5 billion contract with United Utilities.

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
GAZPROM SCORNS SHALE GAS AS “DANGER TO DRINKING WATER”
Russia’s Gazprom has attacked the idea that huge new US reserves of shale gas will harm its dominance as the world's biggest producer, warning the energy source is environmentally unsound. The state monopoly has already questioned whether shale gas is economically viable to extract and dismissed it as a threat to its conventional resources.

UK BUSINESSES THREATEN TO PULL OUT OF CHINA OVER PROTECTIONISM
Senior business leaders complained in interviews with The Daily Telegraph that they were operating in the worst conditions they had seen for decades. Faced with regulations that are often impossible to meet and a climate of overwhelming protectionism, many said they are now openly considering leaving the world’s biggest market.

WALL STREET JOURNAL
EUROPEAN AIRLINES SEEK REVISION TO FINANCE RULE
Nine top European airlines, including Air France-KLM SA, British Airways PLC and Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa AG, are lobbying to shake up how airplane sales are financed so they can get access to government export guarantees that most other airlines around the world now use. The effort is a spillover from the credit crisis of late 2008 that could potentially roil the global aviation market.

EU APPROVES NEW COMMISSION
The European Union’s parliament Tuesday ratified the appointment of a new slate of leaders for the European Commission, the EU’s executive office of 20,000 elite civil servants. The 26 commissioners, appointed by president Jose Manuel Barroso, were approved by a vote of 488 to 137, with 72 abstentions.