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Unilever has announced plans to ditch PricewaterhouseCoopers after 27 years and is set to move its  £18 million a year audit to rival KPMG.

A Weekly Digest of The World's Financial Press: The Economist

On the proposed merger between Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia

700 jobs to go at East Midlands

POWERGEN yesterday said 700 jobs were to be cut over the next two years at East Midlands Electricity under its restructuring plans for the regional supplier.

GOING DOWN: Smiths Industries

SHARES of Smiths Industries fell 15 per cent, on disappointment that first-half profit growth came only from its aerospace business. This grew by 42 per cent, but the other two businesses, which produce ventilation and other industrial equipment and hospital supplies, saw little growth.

US may ease merger rules

THE UNITED STATES will consider raising the thresholds for mergers that must be notified to its competition authorities, easing the way for takeover activity.

Byers to take politics out of merger decisions

SWEEPING PLANS to take the politics out of merger decisions by allowing independent competition authorities to rule on whether takeover bids should be blocked or allowed through were unveiled yesterday by the Government.

Football: League snubs fans' plea

THE PREMIER League has rejected calls from fans' groups to oppose BSkyB's proposed pounds 623.4m takeover of Manchester United. The Football Supporters' Association and the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association want the League to back their fight against the satellite broadcaster.

UK claws back electricity deal

THE pounds 1.9bn takeover of London Electricity by the state-owned group Electricite de France ran into trouble yesterday after the Government asked Brussels to hand back responsibility for investigating the deal to the UK competition authorities.

Outlook: London Electric

LONDON ELECTRICITY is about to swop one foreign owner, Entergy of Louisiana, for another, Electricite de France - or at least that is what EdF hopes, for EdF is a foreign bidder with a difference. It is owned by the French state. Under the previous Government, any such takeover would have fallen foul of the "Lilley doctrine" - named after Peter Lilley, the former Trade and Industry Secretary. This dictated that no privately owned British company could be bought by a state owned foreign one, since it would amount to a back door nationalisation, and one by an overseas country to boot.

United fans want EU to block Sky takeover

KAREL VAN MIERT, the European Competition Commissioner, has incurred the wrath of British Sky Broadcasting after weighing into the debate over the television group's takeover of Manchester United.

Football: Clubs to hold Murdoch talks

THE PREMIER League is arranging a meeting of all of its clubs - with the exception of Manchester United - to look into the implications of Rupert Murdoch's takeover bid at Old Trafford.

Podium: Nobody wants to buy British TV

A short extract from the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture, given in Edinburgh

Oftel losing the 'David and Goliath' battle

UNDERFUNDING and poor training have left telephone regulator Oftel unable to protect customers in its "David and Goliath" battle with the big telecommunications firms, MPs warned today.

Outlook: At war over street furniture

FROM this side of the fence, it looks like the Napoleonic wars, Agincourt, Poitiers and Crecy all over again. The story so far. More Group, Britain's leading poster advertising company, last month agreed a pounds 441m takeover bid from Clear Channel of the US. Embarrassingly, this bid was then topped by JC Decaux, a family-owned French company which just happens to be one of More Group's more aggressive competitors, particularly in the fast growing market of advertising on street furniture.

Network: Bytes - Microsoft battles in and out of court

Following newspaper reports, based on leaks, that the US Justice Department - currently engaged in an antitrust suit with Microsoft - says it has enough evidence to press a new, larger case against the software company, Senator Patty Murray last week asked the Attorney General, Janet Reno, to confine the Justice Department's activities to the courtroom. "By allowing officials to leak selectively such information to the media, the department's credibility is undermined and assurances of fairness and confidentiality are questioned," she said.

Reed calls off pounds 18bn link-up with Wolters

Reed Elsevier, the Anglo-Dutch publishing group, yesterday shocked the stock market when it called off its proposed pounds 18bn merger with Wolters Kluwer, the Dutch group after the deal ran into opposition from European competition authorities.
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travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss