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UK warns it may not buy electricity from an independent Scotland

By Karolin Schaps LONDON (Reuters) - Britain may not buy electricity from an independent Scottish state if imports from alternative markets are cheaper, the UK government has warned, putting further pressure on Scotland five months before its independence vote. A Scotland split from Britain would have to rely on electricity exports to the United Kingdom to sell excess renewable energy generation because its grid is connected only with England and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland.

UK services firms hit new export high in first quarter: BCC survey

By William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) - British services firms reported the fastest growth in exports on record in the first quarter of 2014 and manufacturers also got off to a strong start to the year, a survey showed on Tuesday. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said its quarterly economic survey suggested the pace of economic recovery would continue in the short term. But more needed to be done to make sure companies had access to finance in the future, the BCC said in a statement.

BT hires new TV boss from Sky Italia

LONDON (Reuters) - BT has hired a former BSkyB executive to lead its expanding television and sport business, an area where the two companies are battling for British customers. Delia Bushell, currently chief commercial officer at Italian pay TV company Sky Italia, will join the company in July as Managing Director of BT TV and Sport, BT said on Monday. She replaces Marc Watson who is stepping down after seven years and helped to lead BT's expansion into sports rights, challenging BSkyB's long dominance of the sector.

General Dynamics says U.S. Army denied armored vehicle protest

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp said on Friday that the U.S. Army denied its protest about the terms of multibillion-dollar competition for a new armored vehicle, which General Dynamics said were skewed to favor its rival, BAE Systems Plc. General Dynamics spokesman Pete Keating said the company would study the Army's ruling and decide on the next steps to take.

British Prince George's first tour stifles Australia/NZ republicans

By Belinda Goldsmith and Thuy Ong LONDON/SYDNEY (Reuters) - He may still be in nappies but Prince George embarks on his first official tour this weekend as Britain's younger royals ride a wave of popularity that is expected to dampen republican movements in Australia and New Zealand. The eight-month-old prince, third-in-line to the British throne, will accompany his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a three-week tour of the two former British colonies.

Britain, France sign anti-ship missile deal

Britain and France will develop new anti-ship missiles in a £500-million project that stems from a major defence cooperation agreement, Britain's Ministry of Defence said Thursday. The multi-national group MBDA has been awarded the contract to produce the helicopter-mounted missiles, which use sophisticated homing technology to attack small and medium-sized targets. The Royal Navy will use them on its new Wildcat helicopters.

Richard Branson eyes move into cruise ships

British multi-billionaire and founder of the Virgin group, Richard Branson, is looking to move into cruise shipping, he told the German business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday. "We want to move into the cruise-shipping business with Virgin in the next few years," Branson said. "We are already in negotiations with shipyards in Italy and Germany on the construction of big ships for Virgin Cruises," he said, adding that the chances that a German company could win a contract were "very good."

Britain sells more shares in rescued Lloyds Banking Group

Britain's bailed-out Lloyds bank moved closer back into the private sector on Wednesday after the government sold more shares for £4.2 billion, clawing back taxpayers' cash in order to slash state debt. The latest sale reduces the state's holding from 32.7 percent to 24.9 percent. Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has sold an extra 7.8-percent Lloyds stake to institutional investors for the equivalent of $6.9 billion or 5.0 billion euros, it said in a statement.

Britain sells more shares in rescued Lloyds Banking Group

Britain's bailed-out Lloyds bank moved closer back into the private sector on Wednesday after the government sold more shares for £4.2 billion, clawing back taxpayers' cash in order to slash state debt. The latest sale reduces the state's holding from 32.7 percent to 24.9 percent. Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition has sold an extra 7.8-percent Lloyds stake to institutional investors for the equivalent of $6.9 billion or 5.0 billion euros, it said in a statement.

Disgraced British ex-bank chief admits he "sinned"

A disgraced British bank chief who quit amid drug allegations has admitted that he had "sinned", in his first interview since the scandal broke. Paul Flowers, ex-chairman of the crisis-hit Co-operative Bank who is currently on bail in connection with a "drug supply" probe, told the BBC late on Tuesday that the last few months had been "hellish". "I am in company with every other human being for having my frailties and some fragility exposed," he told the Newsnight television programme.
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