<strong>FANANCIAL TIMES</strong><br /><br /><strong>NATIONAL EXPRESS BID RETHINK</strong><br />The Cosmen-CVC Capital Partners team bidding for National Express is looking for ways to make its offer more attractive after the rejection of a conditional all-cash 450p takeover proposal. Stagecoach, a rival transport group that had been in exclusive discussions with the Cosmen-led consortium about buying some of the assets of National Express, was yesterday locked in talks with Cosmen, the Spanish family that already owns 18.5 per cent of the bus and rail company.<br /><br /><strong>SHOESOURCE FOR RUSSIA</strong><br />Payless ShoeSource, whose stores dot malls and streets across the US, is to open its first stores in Russia next year under a deal with MH Alshaya, the Kuwaiti group. Collective Brands, the holding company for both Payless and StartRite shoe brands, said it expected five stores to open in Russia next year, increasing to 90 within five years. <br /><br /><strong>HSBC FUNDS SUFFER</strong><br />HSBC’s Geneva-based private bank saw clients withdraw more than $4bn (£2.5bn) from its hedge fund portfolios in the first half of the year, underlining the acute pressures facing the industry. The bank, which caters primarily to high net-worth individuals, said in a statement it had seen investors pull about SFr4.2bn ($3.9bn) from hedge funds in net terms between January and the end of June. At its peak in September 2008, the division had an estimated $46.28bn in assets under management.<br /><br /><strong>WEB BOOK DEAL FOUGHT</strong><br />The German government yesterday became the first foreign administration to ask a US court to block a deal between Google and US authors and publishers about web access to old books, saying it would “irrevocably” weaken global copyright law.<br /><br /><strong>THE TIMES</strong><br /><br /><strong>DEFENCE COMPANIES UNITE TO FIGHT BUDGET CUTS</strong><br />Britain’s leading defence companies made a pre-emptive attack against possible government budget cuts yesterday as they sought to highlight the industry’s value to the economy.<br /><br />The Defence Industries Council (DIC) released a report highlighting the beneficial impact that its members have outside their traditional role of supporting the Armed Forces and protecting British troops. <br /><br /><strong>MOTORISTS HIT BY FUEL DUTY RISE</strong><br />Motoring groups yesterday attacked the 2p rise in fuel duty, saying that motorists were being treated as a “soft target” for tax rises.<br /><br />They fear that rising global oil prices could push the price of a litre up by 5p, which would see the typical family spending £120 a year more on petrol.<br /><br /><strong>The Daily Telegraph</strong><br /><br /><strong>MANDELSON FACES EMBARRASSMENT OVER KETECH</strong><br />The Government’s investment arm has begun investigating how a taxpayer-funded scheme rescued a company without noticing that one of its subsidiaries had failed to pass on thousands of pounds of its employees’ pension contributions. Lord Mandelson’s Business Department said its agency, Capital for Enterprise Limited, was seeking answers from one of the £75m fund’s two managers, Octopus Capital.<br /><br /><strong>GOLDMAN’S LLOYD BLANKFEIN TOPS VANITY FAIR POWER LIST</strong><br />Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs has been the named the most influential person in the “new establishment” in Vanity Fair magazine’s annual ranking of the top 100 power players in the information age.<br /><br /><strong>WALL STREET JOURNAL</strong><br /><br /><strong>AMERICAN AIRLINES TO CUT JOBS</strong><br />AMR’s American Airlines is cutting 921 flight attendant jobs as it deals with a continuing downturn in traffic and lower revenue. Separately, Southwest Airlines said it will temporarily halt flights on three routes early next year as it deals with a decline in air traffic and tries to bend its schedule to fit seasonal demand.<br /><br /><strong>CHINESE DEVELOPERS RACE TO LAUNCH IPOS</strong><br />China’s property developers and their Wall St backers are rushing to raise billions of dollars in initial public offerings, rescuing real-estate investments that just months ago were considered victims of the economic crisis. Shanghai-based Glorious Property is scheduled to seek listing approval in a hearing before the Hong Kong stock exchange’s listing committee tomorrow.