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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

INVESTORS RAISE FEARS ON “STEWARDSHIP CODE”
As the Financial Reporting Council prepares to issue a shareholders’ best practice code, industry groups and institutional investors say they are worried it will become another list of boxes to tick. The FRC’s consultation on the world’s first official “stewardship code” closes on Friday and it expects to receive between 60 and 80 formal comments.

PUSH FOR BAIL-OUT RULES
The European Commission is expected to push for an integrated system for bailing out banks when finance ministers meet for talks this weekend. Michael Barnier, EU internal market commissioner, signalled, in a letter to Elena Salgardo, Spanish finance minister, he feels “non-binding” cooperation between national supervisors is insufficient.

WHISKY EXPORTS LIFTED BY WEAK POUND
The weak pound helped the Scotch whisky industry achieve record exports last year, in spite of the economic downturn in some markets. Exports rose three per cent in value to £3.13bn, while export volumes increased four per cent worldwide, with the equivalent of 1.1bn bottles of Scotch shipped.

LIFELINE THROWN TO STRUGGLING RADIO STATIONS
Deregulation intended to ensure the survival of local radio will come into force in June, the broadcasting regulator said on Thursday.
The measures will include a reduction in the mandatory amount of local programming and freedom for rival stations to use the same buildings to cut costs.

The power of Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, is enshrined in the Digital Economy Act.

THE TIMES

ASDA TAKES ON TESCO WITH BOOM IN STORES
Asda will open 125 stand-alone non-food stores in a campaign to overtake Tesco as Britain’s biggest seller of general goods. The five-year plan was revealed yesterday as Andy Bond, the departing chief executive, conceded that the company’s recent performance had been sub-standard.

RED LIGHT IN THE CAB WILL KEEP STAGECOACH DRIVERS GREEN ON THE BUSES
Bus drivers are being told to ease off the gas, change gear less often and brake less violently. And a flashing light system in the cab will tell them how they are doing: green for safe and efficient; amber for less efficient; and red for poor driving. It is all the idea of Stagecoach, which says that it wants to save fuel — and help the environment.

The Daily Telegraph

US HOUSE REPOSSESSIONS HIT FIVE-YEAR HIGH
The number of US homes repossessed by banks reached a five-year high in the first three months of the year, as some Americans continued to struggle to make ends meet. Repossessions rose by 35 per cent in the first quarter of 2010, against the same period last year, as banks took charge of 257,944 houses and flats.

EURO SLIDES AS INVESTORS TURN AGAINST GREECE
The euro fell for the first time in five days and Greek bonds tumbled on Thursday on fears that the EU-IMF bail-out agreed at the weekend may not prevent the region's debt crisis spreading. The euro fell to $1.3533, while the difference in interest between Greek 10-year bonds and their eurozone benchmarks jumped from 406 to 426 basis points.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

CARREFOUR SALES CLIMB 5.5 PER CENT AS MARKET IN FRANCE IMPROVES
Carrefour sales rose 5.5 per cent in the first quarter, lifted by an improvement in business in France, and the retail giant said it would buy back up to 6 per cent of its own shares. Sales for the first quarter were €23.96bn ($32.72bn), compared with €22.72bn in the year-earlier quarter, the company reported Thursday.

ISRAEL BLOCKS IPAD IMPORTS
Israel has banned imports of Apple hottest new product, the iPad, citing concerns the powerful gadget's wireless signals could disrupt other devices. Customs officials said they have confiscated about 10 of the lightweight tablet computers since Israel announced the new regulations this week. The ban prevents anyone from bringing iPads into Israel.