WHAT THE OTHER PAPERS SAY THIS MORNING

FINANCIAL TIMES

BP, TOTAL AND STATOIL SECURE ANGOLA RIGHTS
A new exploration frontier off the coast of Angola that may be similar to oil fields found in Brazil is to be opened after the government of the African country awarded drilling rights to some of the world’s largest energy groups. Britain’s BP, Total of France and Norway’s Statoil all secured licences to explore in Angola’s pre-salt deposits

PAUL SMITH SMARTENS UP PROFITS
Paul Smith, the fashion designer famed for his smart suits and signature rainbow stripes, has notched up a 31 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, according to accounts filed in Companies House yesterday. At a time when mainstream high-street retailers are feeling the pinch, retail groups at the luxury end of the spectrum continue to outperform, evidenced in Paul Smith’s pre-tax profits of £27.4m in the year to June 30.

RELIEF FOR LOCKHEED MARTIN AFTER AWKWARD YEAR
The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s win in Japan means Lockheed Martin can let out a deep sigh of relief. The year has been an uncomfortable one in the limelight for its Joint Strike Fighter programme. JSF is Lockheed’s most important venture and also one of its most ambitious.

VALE LOOKS TO SELL ITS IRON ORE CARRIERS
Vale is looking to sell off its large iron ore carriers amid fierce opposition from Chinese shipowners and embarrassing teething problems, as the second-largest mining company shifts its focus back to core projects. José Carlos Martins, Vale’s executive director for iron ore and strategy, said the Brazilian company would sell its so-called Valemaxes if it could take long-term leases on them.

THE TIMES

FIRST GOOGLE EARTH AND NOW THE SUN
Google has teamed up with US private equity group KKR for its latest foray into renewable energy, investing $94m in four solar farms that will provide power to 13,000 homes in California. It is the online search and advertising group’s first investment in a solar project, which supplies electricity directly into the grid.

CAMERON TRIP TO AFGHANISTAN TROOPS DERAILED BY DUST STORM
David Cameron’s annual Christmas trip to say thank you to thousands of British troops in Afghanistan was disrupted yesterday after a dust storm forced his military plane to be diverted. The most severe weather conditions to hit Helmand province this year left the Prime Minister with no choice but to abandon plans to visit Camp Bastion and surrounding areas.

The Daily Telegraph

PAYMENTS BY F1'S ECCLESTONE WERE A BRIBE, JUDGE RULES
Multi-million pound payments made by Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone relating to the sale of the sport in 2005 amount to a “bribe” according to a High Court judge. The statement was handed down against Gerhard Gribkowsky, the German investment banker accused of accepting £27m in alleged bribes from Ecclestone.

OBAMA OPENS FIRE AS REPUBLICANS REJECT PAYROLL TAX COMPROMISE
President Barack Obama has waded into the Congressional battle over a payroll tax cut extension for the first time, demanding that House Republicans pass a compromise bill that has already cleared the Senate. Republicans said they were refusing to back a bipartisan Senate deal that would have extended the cut for another two months.

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

UPS CHARTS AN EU FLYAROUND
European officials, to the anger of foreign air carriers, have set up a controversial program to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from the world's jetliners. United Parcel Service already has a plan to sidestep it—which will probably end up creating more carbon. The US air-cargo giant may reroute flights to cut the cost of the European plan.

A $3BN DEAL ENDS SPANISH FEUD
Spain's largest oil company rescued one of the country's biggest construction firms in a sign of how the collapsed property market continues to take a toll on some of Spain's heavily indebted companies. Madrid-based Respol said it would spend €2.6bn to buy 10 per cent of its own shares from its largest shareholder, Sacyr-Vallehermoso, which was facing the maturity of a €4.9bn loan.