Office-flat conversion rules to ease
Developers will be able to convert office buildings into blocks of flats without asking councils for permission under radical changes to the English planning system designed to speed up the delivery of new homes. The plan’s aim is to increase the country’s housing supply at a time when building figures are approaching an historic low. But the City of London, which fought a vigorous rearguard action against the proposals, will be promised an exemption from the change when it is announced within days.
Brussels tables tighter EU media laws
Media outlets across Europe face being tightly regulated by independent agencies with sweeping powers to investigate complaints and enforce fines if the recommendations of a Brussels-appointed panel become law.
Aon mulls bonus deferral backtrack
Aon, the insurance broker, is considering following Goldman Sachs and backtracking on a plan to defer UK bonus payments to allow hundreds of highly-paid employees to avoid the 50 per cent income tax rate.
Data-hungry customers a fact of Life
The competition for data-hungry consumers was stepped up yesterday by Phones4u, which has launched a mobile phone brand for 4G services. It is calling its fledgeling mobile phone service “Life”.
AstraZeneca gets cold shoulder in US
Health insurers and doctors in the United States are turning up their noses at AstraZeneca’s much-vaunted new heart drug Brilinta, according to broker Société Générale.
The Daily Telegraph
The FT to axe staff in digital shift
The Financial Times is to axe 35 jobs as part of plans to make “a big cultural shift” from a traditional print news organisation to a digitally focused “networked business” in a bid to compete with social networks and information-gathering services like Google. The newspaper has been relatively successful in charging for online news content, but editor Lionel Barber said it needs to make “wrenching” changes to adapt to increasing competition from non-traditional news sources.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
Thai tycoon to win Fraser & Neave
Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi is poised to win control of Singaporean conglomerate Fraser & Neave after rival bidders led by Indonesia’s Riady family backed down yesterday, ending a months long stalemate in one of Southeast Asia’s largest-ever takeover battles.
Last Berlusconi hearing scheduled
A judge yesterday set the last hearing in former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s trial on prostitution charges for 11 March.