WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

US TREASURY URGES DEBT ACTION
Senior Treasury department officials have issued their starkest warnings yet that if Congress does not quickly raise the US debt limit to avoid a default, investors will punish the country and further damage its fiscal position. Neal Wolin, deputy Treasury secretary said: “In the current context of the global recovery and other headwinds, this is not something we can afford to let happen.

HESTER IN FOR LONG HAUL AT RBS
The chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland has told senior colleagues that he will stay in the job for up to eight more years, scotching rumours that he could quit within 18 months. Stephen Hester has come under steady pressure from politicians and some elements of the media, largely over his own pay deal and the level of bonuses distributed to staff.

HARGREAVES TO PUSH FOR ONLINE RIGHTS EXCHANGE
A revolution in copyright law could make the UK as important a centre for the distribution of digital content as it became in financial services after the Big Bang, the government will be told this week. The Hargreaves report on intellectual property will urge the government to create a digital rights exchange, a one-stop online shop for clearing the use of copyright content, to “make the UK the best place in the world to do business in digital content”.

IRAQ SET TO MISS OIL OUTPUT GOALS
Iraq will miss its target to quadruple its oil production by 2017, say senior industry executives and western officials, dealing a blow to hopes that surging output from the country would lower global oil prices by the middle of the decade. Baghdad last year outlined its ambition to produce more than 12m barrels a day within six years

THE TIMES

LEGAL EAGLES COULD SCOOP £4M FROM IPO
More than 1,700 partners in Britain’s elite “magic circle” law firms would be in line for an average windfall of £4m if their firms were to float on the stock market, analysts have calculated. Regulations due to come into force in October will allow non-lawyers to own shares in legal practices for the first time.

VIRGIN MONEY TO OPEN “LOUNGES”
Virgin Money will open four customer “lounges” in big cities this year. Customers will be able to have a coffee or put their feet up in the outlets, which are intended to provide a service rather than as a way to sell more financial services products. Sceptics may draw comparisons with previous banking fads, such as Abbey National’s decision a decade ago to put coffee shops in its branches.

The Daily Telegraph

BAE SETS UP TANZANIA PANEL
BAE Systems, Britain’s biggest defence company, has set up an internal panel to allocate the £29.5m it agreed to donate to Tanzania as part of its settlement with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). The British Government was understood to have been keen for BAE to give the money directly to the Government of Tanzania. However, the company has created a six-person panel to decide how it should be spent.

LABOUR ATTACKS POLICE PLANS
Plans by chief constables to forcibly retire long-serving police officers as they battle with budget cuts will cost the taxpayer more than keeping them on, Labour has claimed. Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said the forced retirement of an estimated 2,000 officers with more than 30 years of service this year could cost millions of pounds.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
EUROPE

TAKEDA BID MAY SPARK M&A WAVE
Takeda Pharmaceutical’s planned acquisition of Swiss rival Nycomed for up to $14bn is likely to spur more Japanese companies to seek overseas deals in the fragmented pharmaceutical sector. But the Japanese industry’s track record with megadeals has been spotty, given the high prices paid for foreign targets with little synergy to show for it, bankers and analysts say.

TWO OTHER REACTORS DAMAGED
Substantial damage to the fuel cores at two additional reactors of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex has taken place, operator Tokyo Electric Power said yesterday, further complicating the already daunting task of bringing them to a safe shutdown while avoiding the release of high levels of radioactivity. a similar meltdown of the core took place at unit number one.