* Service sector cuts jobs at record pace in January (Sean Farrell, The Independent Online)
The UK’s service sector shed jobs at a record pace last month, adding to expectations of another hefty interest-rate cut from the Bank of England today.
* Eurozone retail sales fall again (BBC News)
Eurozone retail sales fell in December amid shrinking consumer spending, while November figures were revised downwards to show a bigger decline than expected.
* Food prices start to creep back up retail figures show (Harry Wallop, Telegraph)
Since Autumn of last year the price of most food had started to fall from their record highs, as the cost of global commodities came down, especially wheat and milk.
* In the World (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Colombian rebels free a 5th hostage VILLAVICENCIO, Colombia – Leftist rebels yesterday freed a former governor they had held for more than seven years. Alan Jara, 51, beamed as he stepped from a helicopter into the embrace of his wife and son.
* Bank of England must act fast to stop plunging inflation (Ashley Seager, Guardian Unlimited)
The Bank of England ‘s monetary policy committee begins its latest monthly interest rate meeting today with a widespread expectation in the City that it will cut the Bank rate another half a percentage point, taking it to a new all-time low of just 1% .
* Trevor Fisher: A storm is brewing over effort to reform A-levels (The Independent Online)
The reform of A-level, being attempted for the second time in a decade, raises serious questions. The first attempt, called Curriculum 2000, led to front-page headlines at the start and sustained criticism. The changes broke the A-level into modules and introduced AS exams, but led to complaints about the number of exams students were doing, and the number of A grades they achieved. Top univers…
* Kill the coupons! (Orange County Register)
Kill the coupons! Columnist Jon Lansner thinks economy will look better with fewer freebies, twofers, etc.
* Squeezed by rising costs, grocers fight back (Newsweek)
A year ago, when the cost of commodities such as wheat, oil and corn was soaring, grocers grudgingly accepted price increases from Kellogg, General Mills, H.J. Heinz and other food manufacturers. The strange thing is, those price tags never came back down, even when commodity prices collapsed in the fourth quarter of 2008. As a result, grocers have little cheer to offer their shoppers at a time…
* Geithner: Speed Is Key to Recovery (Michael M. Phillips, Wall Street Journal)
WASHINGTON — If there is one thing U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner learned from watching Japan sink into a decade-long economic quagmire, it’s this: Don’t dither.
* Now Russia gets caught in the credit crunch (Mathieu Robbins, The Independent Online)
The Russian economy, already pummelled by falling oil prices, trade disputes with neighbours and fleeing investors, took another step towards the abyss yesterday as the country’s credit rating was downgraded. Russia is the first G8 nation to have suffered a downgrade since the start of the global financial crisis.