PRESS DIGEST - British Business - Aug 30

Thu Aug 29, 2013 10:38pm EDT

Aug 30 (Reuters) - The following are the top stories on the business pages of British newspapers. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

The Telegraph

RISE IN US GROWTH RATE FANS EXPECTATIONS OF END TO QE

The US economy is growing much faster than thought, official figures showed, as the rate was revised up from 1.7 percent to 2.5 percent for the second quarter of this year.

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UK GAS IMPORTS HIT RECORD HIGH OF 1 TRLN CUBIC FEET IN FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2013

Britain's gas imports hit 1 trillion cubic feet in the first half of this year - the highest level on record - as North Sea production dwindled and cold weather boosted demand.

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The Guardian

JOSEF ACKERMANN RESIGNS FROM ZURICH AFTER FINANCE DIRECTOR'S 'SUICIDE'

Josef Ackermann, the chairman of Swiss insurance firm Zurich Insurance Group AG has resigned, citing pressure to take a "share of responsibility" for the death this week of the company's finance director, suspected to have killed himself.

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CO-OPERATIVE BANK REPORTS 709 MLN STG LOSS AMID UNCERTAINTY OVER BAD DEBTS PLAN

A thwarted attempt to become a major player in the banking industry earlier this year continued to haunt the Co-operative Group on Thursday as its bank reported a 709 million pounds loss and raised the prospect of a Northern Rock-style rescue if bondholders failed to back a 1.5-billion-pound restructuring bid.

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The Times

VODAFONE TO BRING DOWN CURTAIN ON US ADVENTURE WITH $130BN VERIZON DEAL

Vodafone Group Plc and Verizon Communications Inc are on the cusp of sealing one of the largest corporate transactions in history as the British company confirmed that it was in talks to sell its 45 percent stake in America's largest mobile phone operator.

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INVESTORS FLEE SERCO AS FRAUD CASES CAST SHADOW OVER FUTURE

Shareholders in Serco Group Plc, the prison operator and prisoner transportation group, made for an escape on Thursday after it was accused of fraud against the Ministry of Justice for the second time in six weeks.

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The Independent

BELARUS AND RUSSIA ROW OVER POTASH RAISES FEAR OF A TRADE WAR

The prospect of a trade war between Russia and one of its neighbours loomed larger on Thursday after Belarus ratcheted up the rhetoric against the Kremlin and hinted at further arrests of executives working for Russia's biggest fertiliser company.

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SAGE OF SOHO DECLARES ADVERTISING BOOMING BUT ATTACKS RIVAL MERGER

WPP Plc cheered the City on Thursday as its half-year profits surged almost 20 percent to 429 million pounds and the advertising giant promised to keep raising the dividend.

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