The FT leads today saying the IRA has begun decommissioning some of its illegally held weapons ...
The FT leads today saying the IRA has begun decommissioning some of its illegally held weapons stockpile in a historic move that on Tuesday night pulled the Northern Ireland peace process back from the brink of collapse. An IRA statement declaring that it had begun decommissioning "to save the peace process" was confirmed within hours by the independent arms monitoring body, which issued a statement saying it had witnessed the IRA putting a quantity of arms, ammunitions and explosives "completely beyond use".
According to the FT the London Stock Exchange will build a new electronic system to enable investors to trade shares and futures contracts together if it wins the race to buy the Liffe derivatives exchange. A new trading system, which would require the scrapping of its own Sets electronic platform, is the centrepiece of the LSE's bid for Liffe, for which it is expected to make a formal offer on Wednesday.
The Times notes that the American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last night blocked Diageo and Pernod Ricard's $8.15 billion (£5.7 billion) joint acquisition of Seagram, the Canadian drinks group, claiming that the deal posed a serious threat to competition in the US rum market. But Diageo, the British food and drinks company, is to offer to put its Malibu coconut rum brand on the auction block in an effort to secure regulatory approval.
The Times also writes that Glaxosmithkline (GSK), Europe's largest drugs group, yesterday launched one of the UK's biggest share buybacks to date with a pledge to spend up to £4 billion on its own stock. The buyback, which has already been approved by the group's board, was announced as GSK revealed strong third-quarter results, showing sales up 12 per cent to almost £5 billion.
Hopes of further cuts in UK interest rates were given a substantial boost last night, reports the Times, when Kate Barker became the fifth member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in six days to signal a desire to see lower borrowing costs. Ms Barker voiced her concerns about the strong pound and the weakening global economy and suggested that concerns about the impact of rate cuts on the UK's economic imbalances were overstated. The former CBI chief economist added that if the Bank of England had failed to cut rates over the summer, the British economy would be coping less well with the September 11 attacks.
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