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Friday newspaper round-up: UK on brink of running out of gas

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Britain’s gas reserves could run out in 36 hours; large depositors in Cyprus to be hit with 40% losses; Co-op posts £600m loss.

The UK is on the brink of running out of gas with only two days’ worth left in reserves, according to The Times. Stocks have been drained recently as the country braces itself for unseasonably cold, wintry weather, the paper said. Storage facilities were only 10% full, down from 49% at the same point in 2012.

The Telegraph reports that Cyprus is looking to inflict losses of up to 40 per cent on large depositors only, saving all smaller deposits of up to 100,000 euros, in an effect to prevent an economic collapse next week. The move includes the restructuring or freezing of all assets held in two of its banks – the Popular Bank, known as Laiki, and the Bank of Cyprus.

The £600m loss registered by Co-Op Group has casted doubts on its deal to take over 632 branches being sold by Lloyds, according to The Guardian. The paper says the company was dragged into the red by its banking arm after a writedown of ITV systems, bad loan losses and claims for mis-sold payment protection insurance.

Martin Wheatley, the head of the new Financial Conduct Authority, has said that large multibillion-pound fines on banks don’t change behaviour “in an astonishing admission that the regulatory system is flawed”, writes The Times. He said even if fines were even greater, they would have virtually no impact.

Chancellor George Osborne admitted to the BBC Today programme that he has “not made as much progress as anyone, myself included, would have liked” on bringing down the national deficit, writes The Guardian.

Mexico has approved a telecoms bill “that seeks to curb the power of some of the country’s most powerful businessmen”, according to the Financial Times. The move goes toward introducing more competition into telecoms and television, creating a tough industry regulator.

Adam Crozier, the frontman of broadcaster ITV, saw his annual pay jump from £1.5m to £1.8m after the company reported a third successive year of an annual profits increase, reports The Independent. In addition to his salary and short-term bonus, Crozier received nearly £0.5m in shares and will get nearly another £1.0m as part of a long-term award.