WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BARCLAYS OFFLOADS LOANS IN STRUGGLING CONNAUGHT
Lenders to Connaught have started selling their loans to the company, in a sign of their concern about the state of the embattled social housing maintenance group. Barclays, one of Connaught’s syndicate of banks, which is led by Royal Bank of Scotland, on Monday night sold its entire exposure of £19m for about 37 per cent of face value, people with knowledge of the transaction said.

S&P OWNER REJECTS CRITICISM FROM CHINA
Accusations made by a new Chinese credit agency that its western counterparts caused the financial crisis were rejected by the head of McGraw-Hill Companies, which owns Standard & Poor’s. Harold “Terry” McGraw III, chairman and chief executive, said global rating agencies S&P, Moody’s and Fitch were being unfairly targeted by politicians, commentators and competitors.

MOSCOW URGED TO IMPOSE BAN ON EXPORT OF GRAIN
Executives at Glencore, the world’s largest commodities trader, yesterday called on Moscow to impose an export ban on grain to allow companies to renegotiate their contracts, in the starkest sign yet of the severity of the crop failure in Russia.

ALLY LIFTED BY RECOVERY IN CAR AND HOME LOANS
Ally Financial, the financing company formerly known as GMAC that was rescued by the US government, reported its second consecutive quarterly profit yesterday, driven by a recovery in car and home loans. The company, which changed its name to Ally in May, reported net income of $565m in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $3.9bn a year earlier.

THE TIMES

DRAX DELAYS BIOMASS PLANT OVER FINANCING
Controversial plans to build a string of huge wood-fired power stations to generate “green” electricity were dealt a blow yesterday after one of Britain’s biggest energy companies shelved a £2bn project to construct three plants, blaming continued uncertainty over state subsidies.

ASIA BEGINS WORLDWIDE SCRAMBLE FOR FARMLAND
Asia’s largest economies have begun an aggressive worldwide scramble to secure grain-producing farmland in a bid to secure future food supplies and ride out what are expected to be increasingly frequent commodity-market storms. The farmland grab is expected to accelerate following the latest eruption in wheat prices, which logged their biggest monthly gain in 51 years in July.

The Daily Telegraph

COPPER THIEVES UP THE ANTE
Thieves are used to taking a few risks to steal lead off church roofs. However, the soaring price of copper has seen them amping up the danger level as they steal power lines humming with thousands of volts. According to E.ON, the electricity supplier, criminals armed with chainsaws have cut down 14 wooden poles that carry the copper wires in the past week, leaving thousands of customers across the Midlands without power.

A THIRD OF PROPERTIES FOR SALE SEE PRICE REDUCTION
A third of all properties for sale have seen their prices reduced amid an uncertain outlook for the housing market, a new survey suggests. The properties have seen their values cut at least once since they were first listed on the market, according to the survey by property website Zoopla.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

BARNES & NOBLE GOES ON BLOCK
Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale yesterday, succumbing to mounting pressure from shareholder activists concerned about how digital books are eroding the traditional business of the largest US book-store chain. New York-based Barnes & Noble said a falling stock prompted its board to consider all “strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company.” Founder Leonard Riggio is also mulling the possibility of forming an investor group to buy the company.

CONDE NAST STEPS CLOSER TO WORLD TRADE CENTER MOVE
Publishing giant Conde Nast has agreed to tentative terms with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to move into about a million square feet at One World Trade Center, according to a person familiar with the matter.