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WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

M&A ACTIVITY LACKLUSTRE DESPITE STRENGTH IN EMERGING MARKETS
Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and turbulent financing markets rattled the confidence of corporate dealmakers across the globe in the first half of the year to damp already lacklustre mergers and acquisition activity. The volume of deals worldwide rose 2.9 per cent to $828.9bn during the first six months of the year, compared with the $805.9bn announced in the same period a year earlier.

AUDITORS UNDER FIRE FOR ROLE IN BANKING CRISIS
Auditors fell short of regulators’ and society’s expectations in the run-up to the banking crisis by showing a “worrying lack of scepticism” in some of their audits of financial institutions, the Financial Services Authority said. A discussion paper it issued yesterday raises the prospect of increased enforcement against auditors, especially the Big Four.

PENSIONS REGULATOR TURNS BIG GUNS ON BELGIAN COMPANY
The Pensions Regulator has for the first time used the biggest weapon in its arsenal, ordering Belgium-based company Michel Van De Wiele to make good on a shortfall in the pension scheme of a UK subsidiary that charged it had liquidated in order to avoid paying the debt.

MEARS STANDS ASIDE FROM WOES OF RIVAL CONNAUGHT
Further questions over recent profit warning from Connaught were raised when the chairman of Mears, the rival social housing maintenance group, issued a firm defence of his company’s prospects. Connaught blamed spending cuts at local authorities after the Budget for a profit warning that has wiped £300m off the company’s market capitalisation. in three trading sessions.


THE TIMES

PRINCE CHARLES WAS DOING DUTY IN CHELSEA BARRACKS ROW
The Prince of Wales intervened in the Chelsea Barracks development because it was his duty as heir to the throne, his private secretary, Sir Michael Peat, said yesterday. The Prince’s attempt to influence the £3bn scheme was described by a High Court judge last week as “unexpected and unwelcome”.

CASSANO FACES PROBE ON GOLDMAN - AIG LINK
Joseph Cassano, the architect of American International Group’s disastrous foray into derivatives, will be pressed on the insurer’s relationship with Goldman Sachs, at a hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission tomorrow. The chairman of the commission said that Mr Cassano had already given five hours of testimony to the FCIC’s staff.

The Daily Telegraph

INTEREST RATE RISE COULD HIT RECOVERY, BANK OFFICIAL WARNS
The Bank of England must avoid tightening monetary policy prematurely if it is to avoid “stifling the nascent recovery”, one of its policymakers has warned. Paul Fisher, a member of the Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, suggested that raising interest rates too soon could result in higher unemployment, more company failures, and a significant undershooting of the two per cent inflation targe

EUROPEAN FIRMS “WAVE A WARNING FLAG” OVER CHINESE PROTECTIONISM
European businesses in China could be forced to vote with their feet if China doesn’t do more to create a level-playing field for foreign businesses, the president of the European Chamber of Commerce in China Jacques de Boisseson has warned yesterday.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

SUPREME COURT REJECTS PFIZER APPEAL IN NIGERIA DRUG-TRIAL CASE
The US Supreme Court Tuesday refused to consider Pfizer's challenge to a pair of lawsuits alleging that the drug maker illegally tested an antibiotic drug on Nigerian children in 1996. Two groups of Nigerian families alleged that Pfizer violated international law when it tested the experimental drug Trovan on 200 Nigerian children during a bacterial-meningitis outbreak.

FORMER BANK OF AMERICA EXECS TO TAKE CONTROL OF FLORIDA BANK
An investor group stacked with former Bank of America executives agreed to invest $175m in TIB Financial, a Florida-based bank, in the latest example of industry veterans pouring money into ailing banks. The deal would give the investment group up to 99 per cent ownership.