<strong>FINANCIAL TIMES<br /><br />FURTHER VAT RISES LIKELY AS EUROPE SETS THE PACE<br /></strong>Britain will be levying the fifth-lowest value-added tax rate in Europe after it reverts to 17.5 per cent in January, according to a survey that is likely to reinforce expectations of further rises after the general election. A survey by KPMG, the professional services group, showed that the European Union average VAT rate has risen to 19.8 per cent in the past year, with the UK&rsquo;s current 15 per cent rate the lowest in Europe.<br /><br /><strong>GSK FACES MERCK IN VACCINE PRICE WAR</strong><br />GlaxoSmithKline plans to undercut its rival Merck in a battle for sales following US regulatory approval for its cervical cancer vaccine Cervarix. The UK-based pharmaceutical group said it would charge less than Gardasil, Merck&rsquo;s vaccine.<br /><br /><strong>TROUBLED $8.5BN PROJECT NEARS OPENING</strong><br />After four years of work and several fraught moments this year where it risked financial collapse, MGMMirage&rsquo;s $8.5bn City-Centre is weeks away from opening. At 18m sq ft, with six towers, three hotels and a Daniel Liebskind-designed shopping mall, the development is larger than any seen in Las Vegas.<br /><br /><strong>FRANCE PROPOSES LEVY TO PAY FOR WATCHDOG</strong><br />France will propose this week new fees for its banking industry to pay for increased supervision. Christine Lagarde, finance minister, yesterday ruled out a 10 per cent tax on banking profits, a proposal due to be debated today after its recent approval by the finance committee of the lower house of parliament. She said the tax would do more harm than good and said she would suggest other ways of raising finance from the banks.<br /><br /><strong>THE TIMES<br /><br />ROLLS-ROYCE ENGINE TAKES NEXT STEP TOWARDS TAKE-OFF</strong><br />The United States Air Force (USAF) has approved Rolls-Royce to move to the next phase in developing a jet engine capable of high performance but with low operating costs. The Pentagon&rsquo;s decision to proceed is seen as a huge boost for Rolls-Royce in the lucrative American military market.<br /><br /><strong>FIRST IT WAS 66, NOW DIRECTORS WANT PENSION AGE OF 70</strong><br />The Institute of Directors (IoD) yesterday proposed increasing the state pension age by as much as five years to 70 and immediately walked into a row with unions and the Liberal Democrats. Brendan Barber, the General Secretary of the TUC, accused the IoD of consigning tens of thousands of employees to years of &ldquo;workless limbo&rdquo;.<br /><strong><br />The Daily Telegraph<br /><br />BARACK OBAMA MUST ATTEND CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS TO AVOID 'CATASTROPHE' FOR THE PLANET</strong><br />Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister, has warned of &ldquo;catastrophe&rdquo; for the planet unless President Barack Obama and other world leaders ensure a deal on climate change in Copenhagen at the end of the year.<br /><br /><strong>ED BALLS BRANDED A 'BULLY' BY POSSIBLE LEADERSHIP CHALLENGER<br /></strong>Ed Balls, one of the Prime Minister&rsquo;s closest allies, was branded a &ldquo;bully&rdquo; in a row over an education appointment that spilled over into a battle over Gordon Brown&rsquo;s leadership.<br /><br />The comments were made by Barry Sheerman, chairman of the Schools Select Committee, which opposed giving the job of Children&rsquo;s Commissioner to a woman accused of being &ldquo;another Labour establishment choice.&rdquo;<br /><br /><strong>WALL STREET JOURNAL<br /><br />CERBERUS CAPITAL MANAGEMENT IS TURNING TO GUNS AND BULLETS<br /></strong>The private-equity firm is in advanced preparations for an initial public offering of Freedom Group, said people familiar with the situation, hoping to sell shares in a little-known company it has built into a dominant player in the red-hot rifle-and-ammunition business.<br /><br /><strong>AD FIRMS BACK YAHOO-MICROSOFT SEARCH DEAL</strong><br />The world&rsquo;s largest advertising companies pressed the US Justice Department to sign off on a pending Internet-search deal between Microsoft and Yahoo, saying the deal was good for competition in online advertising. A letter to the department was signed by the chief executives of ad giants WPP, Omnicom Group and Publicis Groupe SA urged the DoJ to finish the review.