WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

EU TO SPEED RECAPITALISATION OF 16 BANKS
European officials look set to speed up plans to recapitalise the 16 banks that came close to failing last summer’s pan-EU stress tests as part of a co-ordinated effort to reassure the markets about the strength of the 27-nation bloc’s banking sector. A senior French official said the 16 banks regarded to be close to the threshold would now have to seek new funds immediately

US FUNDS SLASH EXPOSURE TO EUROPEAN BANKS
The biggest US money market funds have slashed their exposure to Europe’s embattled banking sector to the lowest since at least 2006, underlining the spreading nervousness about the Eurozone’s indebted periphery. The 10 largest US money market funds reduced their short-term lending to European banks to just $284.6bn by the end of August, or 42.1 per cent of their total assets.

FUNDING FEARS HIT CHINESE PROPERTY STOCKS
Chinese property stocks suffered double-digit declines amid growing fears developers are losing access to funding and will be forced to slash prices. The trigger for yesterday’s tumble was a Reuters report that the Chinese banking regulator had ordered trust companies to assess their risks from lending to Greentown.

ALIBABA IN $1.6BN PRIVATE EQUITY DEAL
Alibaba Group employees and shareholders are set to be given the opportunity to cash out part of their stock in China’s largest ecommerce group by revenues, through a $1.6bn private equity deal. DST Global of Russia and California-based Silver Lake are leading a tender offer of almost $1.6bn for just under five per cent of Alibaba, valuing the internet group at $32bn.

THE TIMES

YES, MINISTER: BUSINESS CHIEFS GET BUDDY HOTLINE
Britain’s top 50 companies are to be given unprecedented access to government ministers in an attempt to spark life into the economy. Bosses of companies, including BP and GlaxoSmithKline, will be able to telephone directly to the top of Whitehall departments in new individually tailored relationships with senior ministers who will act as their “buddies”.

SORRELL IN LINE FOR £500,000 PAY RISE
WPP is proposing to award Sir Martin Sorrell, its chief executive, a pay rise of up to 50 per cent, taking his salary to £1.5m. The advertising supremo earns considerably more than his £1m base salary through the FTSE 100 advertising group’s share incentive scheme. Last year he received £4.2m through a combination of pay, bonuses and benefits.

The Daily Telegraph

HALIFAX LAUNCHES PREMIUM BONDS RIVAL
Halifax, Britain’s biggest savings bank, is taking on National Savings’ Premium Bonds – the nation’s favourite savings product – with the launch of a new monthly prize draw. Every month the bank will award cash prizes of up to £100,000 to randomly selected savers.

IRAN'S MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD SPARKS UN WALKOUT
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad sparked a mass walkout of diplomats at the UN after he attacked Western powers over the Holocaust and 9/11. The US delegation walked out yesterday when Mr Ahmadinejad said “arrogant powers” threatened anyone who questioned the Holocaust and the September 11 attacks on the United States with sanctions and military action.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

OBAMA LEADS UN SPARRING OVER MIDDLE EAST
Obama implored the UN to hold off the Palestinian push for statehood, saying there can be no “shortcuts” to peace, an admonition immediately spurned by Palestinian leaders who vowed to press ahead. However, the Palestinians also acknowledged Wednesday that it would take time for the Security Council to consider their request.

CHILE TO KEEP BELT TIGHT, WARY OF GREECE'S PROBLEMS
Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, facing protests by students seeking higher subsidies and other changes, said Thursday he sympathised with the demands but that the government needed to maintain fiscal discipline. “We agree with some of their basic demands but we can’t meet all the conditions,” Piñera said.