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Thursday newspaper round-up: Amazon, RBS, Thomas Cook…

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Amazon faces fresh questions over its tax status; public could buy RBS shares at a loss; Thomas Cook to raise £400m through share issue.

The Guardian says that Amazon is facing new questions about its tax status in the UK after an investigation by the paper suggested that the online retailer is “pushing the tax rulebook to its limits to minimise its tax bill”.

RBS could be privatised through a sale of shares to the public at an initial loss to the taxpayer, according to Prime Minister David Cameron, The Telegraph reports.

The Times says that Thomas Cook is to launch a £400m rights issue on Thursday in an attempt to reduce its £1.5bn pile of debt. The paper says that the group is trying to capitalise on a share price that has surged more than 500% since December.

The Financial Times reports that the pace of Japanese economic growth in the first quarter was its fastest among the Group of Seven countries at 3.5 per cent. “Solid growth in consumer spending and exports suggest[s] the expansionary policies of Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, are delivering quick and tangible results,” the paper says.

Standard Life Investments has attacked the board of RSA after the top-10 shareholder said it was “surprised and disappointed” by insurance firm’s move to reduce its dividend by 33%, The Independent writes.

Energy Minister Michael Fallon has said that the shale gas programme in the UK is to “accelerate” with the government launching Britain’s 14th onshore licensing round next year, The Telegraph reports.

“George Osborne has asked business leaders to hold their nerve and continue backing the government’s austerity measures after the Bank of England gave the first signal since the financial crash of a sustained economic recovery,” writes The Guardian.