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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

SHINSEI IN CAPITAL DRIVE AS MERGER FALTERS
Shinsei, the Japanese bank, is preparing to raise about Y75bn ($830m) in fresh capital as a merger with a rival domestic lender once seen as a lifeline is in danger of collapse. Shinsei has concluded that a merger with Aozora, the Japanese bank part-owned by Cerberus Capital, is no longer necessary, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Financial Times.

ASHTON HITS BACK AT HER CRITICS
Lady Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, hit back at her critics yesterday by blaming rivalry among the EU’s institutions for slow progress in establishing the bloc’s new diplomatic service. In a feisty appearance at the European parliament, Lady Ashton portrayed herself as an energetic leader thinking hard about Europe’s place in the world and travelling frequently from one region to another to uphold European interests.

FEARS OF CHINA PROPERTY BUBBLE GROW
Chinese real estate prices accelerated last month, rising by their fastest pace in two years despite government efforts to cool the market amid fears of a looming property bubble. Prices of commercial and residential property in China’s 70 largest cities rose by 10.7 per cent in February from the same period a year earlier, a marked increase from the 9.5 per cent year-on-year gain in January, according to China’s statistics bureau. The figures released yesterdfay include subsidised and rent-controlled housing, where low price rises drag down the overall increase, as well as commercial real estate, where prices have been subdued or falling. Analysts say housing price rises are significantly higher.

THE TIMES

ROY STANLEY BEHIND £70M SEV US BID
Roy Stanley, the former chairman of Tanfield Group, is orchestrating an unusual plan to take over the company’s main electric vehicles division in a £70m conditional proposal that sent its shares racing 46 per cent higher. Tanfield said that it had received an offer of £37m in cash for the division from Smith Electric Vehicles US (SEV US), which was spun off from Tanfield only last year.

FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY TO TIGHTEN WATCH ON ROGUE PRODUCTS
Banks, insurers and investment companies will have new products scrutinised as they are developed, under a tough regime being formulated by the Financial Services Authority. Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the FSA chairman, gave the first hints of the new approach yesterday.

The Daily Telegraph

FRANCE VOWS RETALIATION AGAINST US IN AIR TANKER DISPUTE
France has vowed to retaliate against the United States for allegedly shutting Europe's aviation giant EADS out of a $50bn (£33.4bn) defence contract, warning of potential damage to the Atlantic alliance. “This is a serious affair,” said France’s Europe minister Pierre Lellouche. “I can assure you that there will be consequences.”

BANK OF ENGLAND’S ADAM POSEN DISMISSES FEARS OF A STERLING CRISIS
Adam Posen, who helps set interest rates at the Bank of England, has dismissed fears of a calamitous drop in the pound, adding that as an American he’s “comfortable” getting paid in sterling. Posen’s remarks, made on Sky News, on Jeff Randall’s programme, come as investors’ worries over how Britain’s record budget deficit will be tackled intensify.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

BANKS GEAR UP FOR WARSAW PRIVATISATIONS
Financial-services firms are opening offices or increasing staff in Poland’s capital in a bid to capture more business from the state and the private sector as the pace of privatisations and mergers in the country picks up. Poland’s Treasury is in the middle of a privatisation programme to raise at least 25bn zlotys (£5.6bn) in 2010.

GOOGLE WILL END CHINA TALKS
Google chief executive said yesterday he expects the company will soon reach a conclusion to negotiations with the Chinese government regarding the fate of its China business.

“We are in active negotiations with the Chinese government,” Eric Schmidt told reporters at a media summit in Abu Dhabi. Google has decided not to publicise the status of the negotiations so far.