4 hours ago
The former US treasury secretary Hank Paulson illustrates the mistrust between Washington and Moscow, now being played out in the Crimean stand-off
HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins calls on the government to "accelerate" the northern section of the £50bn high-speed rail project.
Vodafone agrees to buy Spanish cable operator Ono for 7.2bn euros ($10bn; £6bn), in a deal aimed at expanding its interests in Europe.
Asian shares 'brush off' worries about the referendum in Crimea, but analysts warn of huge movements of money back into Russia in anticipation of sanctions.
The inclusion of a valuable database of postcodes and addresses in the Royal Mail flotation is criticised by an influential group of MPs.
Online takeaway service Just Eat aims to raise £100m from listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange.
What's that all about? That's what we asked when we browsed the "What's New" section of the HMRC website. The tax authorities have pondered how to levy duty on stuffed stylised giraffes. See if you can understand their reasoning. By the way, they have decided it is a toy.
Petr Baron, former boss of VAB Group, says Europe will be reluctant to disrupt financial links to Russia. European banks are exposed to Russia to the tune of $200bn, he says. "I don't think that anyone wants to see anything go wrong with those loans, because that could seriously affect the banking system and derail the recovery."
The heads of Russia's two energy giants, Rosneft and Gazprom, are among the names suggested as possible targets of European sanctions, Petr Baron, former boss of VAB Group in Ukraine, tells the BBC. But he says political figures rather than businesses are likely to be the focus of the measures.
Tonight's Panorama asks why so many A&E doctors in the UK prefer to emigrate to Australia. The answer is pretty obvious you may think. But it's interesting to hear from the horses' mouths, so to speak. Tonight at 20:30, on BBC One.
Online takeaway service Just Eat aims to raise £100m from listing its shares on the London Stock Exchange. It makes its money by charging commission on orders placed through its website and mobile app. It says revenues were up 62% last year and the flotation is the next stage in its "growth and development".
European markets have levelled off a bit after rising earlier this morning. The FTSE 100 is up 0.5%, while the Dax is up 0.8% and the Cac 40 is up 0.7%. On the FTSE it's house builder Persimmon that is leading the risers, benefitting from the extension to Help to Buy announced yesterday by George Osborne.
"Shane Smith looks like the type of man who enjoys getting into fights in rough bars... you wouldn't want to spill his pint. Looks can be deceptive, however, as through brains rather than brawn Mr Smith has built up a personal fortune of $400m (£240m)." Read Will Smale's profile of the boss of New York-based Vice Media here.
Miles Shipside of the property website Rightmove says the average London asking price of £552,000 is staggering, but says prices are rising outside of the capital's most exclusive areas. "Interestingly the prime central London boroughs actually fell collectively by 1.3% this month - that's the boroughs over £1m," he says. "So it's the rest of London that is looking better value."
New York has overtaken London as the world's top financial centre - that's according to the Global Financial Centres Index, albeit with a "shaky, statistically insignificant" two-point lead, according to Michael Mainelli, chairman of Z/Yen Group Ltd., which compiles the index. London has been hit by a series of scandals including Libor and the developing Forex probes. Unlike New York of course.
tweets: "Housebuilder shares all up. Imagine having the government secure snr mgmt bonuses every year for the rest of the decade."
Sir David Higgins is formally presenting his HS2 report now in Manchester. You can watch the coverage live here.
Morrisons says West Yorkshire police have arrested one of its employees this morning as part of an investigation onto the theft of data from its payroll system. We reported the theft on Friday. At the time, Morrisons said the data theft didn't look like the work of an outside hacker.
More must be done to ensure that the international financial system can withstand "frequent destabilising crises" says a deputy governor of the Bank of England. Jon Cunliffe, in a speech today, says: "I do not think we can say with confidence now that we could resolve a failing global giant."
tweets: "Supermarket #Morrisons confirms an employee has been arrested as part of investigation into theft of data from its payroll system @BBCNews"
It is a good day to own shares in house building firms. George Osborne's promise to keep the government's Help to Buy scheme going to the end of the decade has boosted their share prices. Shares in Persimmon are up 5% at 1,380p, Bovis are up 4.9% at 897p, Taylor Wimpey are up 4% at 121p, Bellway are up 3.6% at 1,600p, and Barratt Developments are up 3.8% at 428.
The figures and surveys show that the UK is finally recovering from a very long recession. Is it real? Have you noticed yet? The BBC's Hugh Pym and George Alagiah have been asking if Britain really is recovering.
Amidst the welter of news this morning, our eye has been caught by this story in the Guardian: Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20%. It reports some Oxfam research that suggests the richest five families in the UK hold more wealth than the poorest 20% of the entire UK population. Drawing on research by Forbes magazine, it says the five families are: The family of the Duke of Westminster, David and Simon Reuben, the Hinduja brothers, the Cadogan family, and Mike Ashley who owns Sports Direct (and Newcastle United).
European markets are all up quite sharply this morning. In the first hour of trading the FTSE 100 is 0.4% higher. The Cac 40 in Paris and the Dax in Frankfurt are both up 0.8%. Shares in house builders have risen after George Osborne announced over the weekend that the government's Help to Buy scheme would be extended until 2020.
Lee Hopley, chief economist at EEF - the manufacturers trade body - tells Ben Thompson that energy prices are a major concern for industrial companies over the next few months. "Energy prices are looking increasingly uncompetitive," she says, and manufacturers would like to see George Osborne do something about that in this week's Budget.
Gazumping is getting even more aggressive, the Financial Times reports, especially in London where property prices are rocketing. The paper says sellers are now asking buyers to pay tens of thousands of pounds over the agreed price just days before completing, because they know demand is massively outstripping supply. "It's now very common and a depressing factor of [the] market," says one estate agent.
Andrew Sentance, former Monetary Policy Committee member and now PwC adviser, says the government's Help to Buy scheme combined with low interest rates is self-defeating. He tells the Today programme that the scheme is helping push up house prices beyond the reach of first-time buyers.
blogs: "There is a cynicism in the relationship between Russia and the US, being played out in the Crimean crisis, which is deep, rooted in history and shows that the triumph of capitalism over communism wasn't the end of the power game between these two nations."
Sir David Higgins is doing the rounds. He's on the Breakfast sofa defending the need for HS2. The existing West Coast Main Line is "a Victorian railway system", he says. "It's very expensive to maintain, it breaks down and will always break down. There is no other country in Europe with this ageing infrastructure that hasn't replaced some of it with modern-day railways."
Toyota has halted production at two factories in India amid a row over wages. Workers in the factories outside Bangalore have been negotiating a wage increase for the last 10 months. The stoppage could hit production - India makes around 700 cars a day for Toyota.
tweets: "Online takeaway food service Just Eat confirms plan to float in London, says 2013 revenues £80m, "underlying EBITDA" £30m"
tweets: "Sir David Higgins of #HS2 confirms he has ruled out any link to HS1 - so no Eurostar trains north of London. @bbc5live"
Steph McGovern is speaking to John Roberts, chief executive of ao.com - a Bolton-based company that sells things like fridges online. It's now valued at more than £1bn after listing on the stock market. He says he launched the company after a friend bet him to do it in a pub 14 years ago. Back then the internet was still mostly on dial-up, but they still did £80,000-worth of trading in the first month.
"Employee engagement"? The wonderful Dilbert stabs management pretensions in the back. In fact, he stabs them right in the chest.
Sir David Higgins says spending on the HS2 project must be balanced with investment in the existing rail infrastructure in the north of England. "Two and a half hours from Liverpool to York is a disgrace," he says. He points out that £38bn will be invested over the next few years in existing rail links in northern England.
Sir David Higgins, the boss of the HS2 project, is on 5 live. He says the proposed link between HS1 and HS2 in London should be reconsidered. "If you do it, do it properly," he says. "Let's scrap this [link], it's a £700m saving."
Ebbsfleet will become a garden city, with an extra 15,000 new homes, the Chancellor George Osborne said yesterday. But is he indulging in the politicians' old trick of regurgitating old news? Hugh Ellis of the Town and Country Planning Association tells the Today programme that "It is not clear at the moment whether this is over and above the existing allocation of homes that are in Ebbsfleet or whether this builds on a plan that is about 10 years old."
Adam Parsons on Radio 5 live says there are now growing rumours that Vodafone is interested in making a bid for ITV or Sky in the UK after its acquisition of Ono in Spain. He says the company has a huge pile of cash to spend after selling its stake in US firm Verizon earlier this year.
Smiths News, the company that delivers newspapers to newsagents, is changing its name - to Connect Group. The firm says the change reflects the fact that it does rather more these days than just distribute newspapers and magazines - including interests in education and the book publishing market.
A committee of MPs has criticised the government for selling the national database of postcodes when it floated the Royal Mail on the stock market. Public Administration Committee chairman Bernard Jenkin tells the Today programme: "As soon as you start charging for data it is wrapped up in licenses, it is bureaucratised, it costs, and that slows down the development of our information economy."
The Ono deal will boost Vodafone's European presence, and is its second acquisition in six months. "The combination of Vodafone and Ono creates a leading integrated communications provider in Spain and represents an attractive value creation opportunity for Vodafone," said Vodafone boss Vittorio Colao in a statement.
Vodafone has announced a deal to buy Spanish cable company Ono for a total of 7.2bn euros (£6bn).
5 live's Stephen Chittenden is in Ebbsfleet on the Thames Estuary this morning, where Chancellor George Osborne wants to build the UK's first "Garden City" for more than a century. He speaks to Jeremy Kite from Dartford council, who says he's very pleased with the announcement, but says: "It's like the Elvis song - a little less conversation, a little more action please."
Guinness has pulled out of sponsoring New York's St Patrick's Day parade because gay and lesbian groups have been excluded, Reuters reports. "Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all," a statement issued by parent company Diageo said. The New York board of the Ancient Order of the Hibernians is in charge of organising the annual parade.
The Financial Times reports that foreign exchange trading teams at several big banks have seen their bonuses put on hold amid the banks' own investigations into the possible manipulation of foreign exchange trades. Barclays, Citigroup and Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) have all frozen bonuses, the paper says, while internal investigations are ongoing.
Robbie Owen, a lawyer for Pinsent Masons who represents some of the opponents of the HS2 project, tells the Today programme that the Higgins report could be a turning point. "I think potentially a lot changes," he says. "It is the best articulation of the case for HS2 I have read since the project started in 2009."
Nina Schick, analyst at the think tank Open Europe, tells World Business Report that the EU could impose targeted sanctions on Russian individuals in response to its actions in Crimea. But she says the huge trade links between Russia and Europe mean there won't be sanctions on Russia as a whole.
Property sellers are cashing in on the revival in property sales by jacking up their asking prices. The property website Rightmove, which advertises most homes for sale, says the average asking price in England and Wales rose 1.6% in the past month to £256,000. That's 7% more than a year ago. In London the average asking price is a whopping £552,000.
Build HS2 quicker. That's the message from a report by the project's chairman Sir David Higgins. He also says the high-speed line, planned for completion in 2033, should be extended to Crewe earlier.
Alibaba - a sort of Chinese version of eBay - has announced plans to float on a US stock market. That's seen as a blow for Hong Kong, the BBC's Ali Moore in Singapore tells World Business Report. Hong Kong has stricter one-share one-vote rules compared to the US, she says, which has put Alibaba's management off. They want to retain more control over the company.
There's a very upbeat report this morning from the manufacturers trade body the EEF. A survey of its members reports strong growth due to rapidly rising exports. The EEF's chief economist Lee Hopley tells Wake Up to Money that "we've seen a solid upturn in activity in the first three months of this year... Definitely there's a clear expectation that things are going to strengthen over the coming quarter."
And good morning from me. Another gruelling day at the digital coalface awaits us. We love it really. Contact us this morning on email@example.com or on Twitter @BBCBusiness.
Good morning all. There's another report into the HS2 project up for discussion this morning, plus George Osborne and Ed Balls get the ball rolling ahead of Wednesday's budget. We'll be here until 13:00.
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Last Updated at 08:34 ET
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