<strong>FINANCIAL TIMES</strong><br /><br /><strong>VW BRACED FOR “ZERO GROWTH” IN CAR MARKET</strong><br />Volkswagen warned yesterday that it could face flat sales in 2010 as Europe’s largest carmaker reported a sharp profit drop in the second quarter. The third-biggest carmaker behind General Motors and Toyota said it expected “zero growth” in the car market next year.<br /><br /><strong>PRIVATE EQUITY SUFFERED ITS WORST YEAR ON RECORD IN 2008</strong><br />The private equity industry suffered its worst year on record in 2008, as its investment lost almost 30 per cent of their value, according to research published yesterday that underlines the woes of the once mighty buyout groups. One-year returns for the private equity industry fell 27.6 per cent last year, far more than the 9.1 per cent drop suffered in 2002 after the dotcom bubble burst.<br /><br /><strong>CHILCOT WILL CALL BLAIR TO TESTIFY IN PUBLIC</strong><br />A long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war began yesterday with its chairman pledging to publicly cross-examine Tony Blair, former prime minister, and pull no punches with his findings. Sir John Chilcot, a former civil servant who is heading the inquiry, ruled out a “whitewash” and insisted he would not “shy away” from making plain criticisms where necessary.<br /><br /><strong>SHOP VACANCIES SOAR ON HIGH STREET</strong><br />The number of vacant shops on the high street has more than doubled in the past year, according to a report, reflecting the savage effects of the recession on retailers. One in 10 shops in large towns and cities now lies vacant – up from 4 per cent in the middle of 2008. Apart from retailers closing shops, the number of premises opening has halved over the past 18 months.<br /><br /><strong>THE TIMES</strong><br /><br /><strong>FUND MANAGER HERMITAGE CAPITAL HOPES US COURT ACTION WILL LINK RUSSIAN BANK TO FRAUD</strong><br />Hermitage Capital, a London fund manager, has started legal proceedings in the US that will seek to connect Renaissance Group, a leading Moscow investment bank, to alleged fraud and money laundering involving the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Russian Treasury.<br /><br /><strong>EU SETS PERMANENT TAX ON CHINESE STEEL PIPES</strong><br />The EU will apply a five-year duty on imports of Chinese steel pipes in a move to try to protect EU steel manufacturers. European steel producers including ArcelorMittal say Chinese steel companies have an unfair advantage because the Chinese government restricts exports of raw materials, which drives down manufacturing costs, and subsidises them.<br /><br /><strong>The Daily Telegraph</strong><br /><br /><strong>KEYDATA CHIEF FAILS TO BLOCK FSA PROBE</strong><br />The High Court has rejected an attempt by Keydata founder Stewart Ford to block the Financial Services Authority (FSA) from accessing a computer server containing personal financial information. Ford had asked the Court to prevent the FSA and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), administrators of the collapsed investment firm, from accessing the company’s server.<br /><br /><strong>IMF DELAYS ICELAND PAYMENT</strong><br />The International Monetary Fund has delayed handing over the second tranche of Iceland’s emergency bail-out loan. It is thought to be linked to the political row over compensation for Britain’s Icesave customers, as opposition grows in Iceland to the terms of a loan from Britain to help the country cover the liability.<br /><br /><strong>WALL STREET JOURNAL<br /></strong><br /><strong>TAX EVADERS FLOCK TO IRS TO CONFESS THEIR SINS</strong><br />Wealthy taxpayers have inundated the Internal Revenue Service in recent weeks with requests to come clean for past tax evasion, amid a government crackdown on undeclared income from overseas accounts. The volume has been so great that the IRS issued a streamlined, three-page form for taxpayers seeking entry into its voluntary-disclosure program.<br /><br /><strong>FORD TO SLOW VOLVO UNIT SALE</strong><br />Ford has slowed the bidding process for its Volvo unit in an effort to get a better price for the Swedish car brand, according to a person close to the US company. The person said Ford has decided to wait for General Motors to wrap up its sale of Adam Opel, and is hoping to invite a loser in that two-way bidding race to bid for Volvo.