WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

E-PETITIONS SITE CRASHES ON LAUNCH
A new e-petitions website allowing members of the public to put forward motions for debate by MPs has crashed under the weight of 1,000 visitors a minute trying to register proposals on issues such as the return of capital punishment and leaving the European Union.

ICBC TO BUY 80PC OF STANDARD’S ARGENTINE ARM
China’s ICBC has agreed to buy 80 per cent of the Argentine operations of South Africa’s Standard Bank for $600m, according to people familiar with the plans. The deal is the most high-profile move by a Chinese bank into Latin America, a resource rich key trading partner, and is set to be announced after Jiang Jianqing, ICBC chairman, meets Cristina Fernández, the Argentine president, on Thursday.

BENEFIT REFORMS HIT CHILDCARE SUPPORT CASH
Ministers are locked in tense negotiations about the future of childcare benefits after the department for work and pensions calculated its plans for a universal system could leave a quarter of a million families worse off. Iain Duncan Smith, the work and pensions secretary, plans to put existing childcare benefits under a single benefit system called the universal credit.

KNIGHT CAPITAL TO CUT WORKFORCE BY SIX PER CENT
Knight Capital Group, one of the largest market-making firms in the world, has announced it will cut 6 per cent of its workforce as its restructures its business due to a broad decline in trading activity. At the same time, Chicago Board Options Exchange, the US options market, said it was slashing expenses despite seeing a boost in trading of its volatility indices.

THE TIMES

SOUTHERN CONVERTS PROVIDE VIMTO BOOST
Southerners’ growing thirst for Vimto drove a 20 per cent rise in first half profits at Nichols as the typically Northern drink poured south of the Watford Gap. Brendan Hynes, Nichols’ chief executive, said: “Going back to the sixties Vimto was a northern or Scottish brand but in recent years we’ve tried to broaden it out and make Vimto more national.”

MUSIC BUSINESS LEFT BEGGING FOR ENCORE AS CONCERT AND RECORD SALES FALL 7 PER CENT
The British music industry has long relied on lucrative tour revenues from rock dinosaurs like the Rolling Stones to offset sliding CD sales, but a slowdown in stadium gigs last year left the sector £215 million poorer. Industry revenues shrank almost 5 per cent in 2010 to £3.8 billion.

The Daily Telegraph

UN CRITICISES SHELL OVER OIL SPILLS IN NIGERIA
The United Nations has criticised Royal Dutch Shell for contributing to oil spills in the Niger Delta that will need the world's largest-ever environmental clean-up operation. The UN said ridding Ogoniland's rivers and drinking water of pollution could take 30 years and cost billions.

COUNCILS BEING URGED TO SELL OFF BILLIONS OF POUNDS OF ASSETS TO SAVE MONEY
The Department for Communities and Local Government published a list today of thousands of assets owned by 600 councils and public sector bodies. It includes shops, restaurants, pubs, golf clubs, theatres, hotels, football clubs and leisure centres. Many are highly valued by communities and provide cost-effective access to disadvantaged groups.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

SOUTHWEST PREPS FOR TURBULENCE
Southwest Airlines Co. posted a 44 per cent rise in its second-quarter profit but executives said they plan to cut flights next year as they fretted over high fuel costs. The largest carrier of U.S. domestic passengers said Thursday it doesn't think it can pass through more ticket price increases, after unrolling eight fare increases since mid-December to counter soaring fuel prices.

SHELL CONSIDERS REVERSAL OF HOUMA-TO-HOUSTON PIPELINE
Royal Dutch Shell said it is considering a reversal of its Houma-to-Houston pipeline system in order to provide additional crudes to the U.S. Gulf of Mexico refining complex. Such a move would reverse the existing Ho-Ho service to connect the Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, markets with the Louisiana markets.