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BRUSSELS, Oct 9- British Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said on Tuesday he expects BAE Systems and EADS. to announce before the London stock market opens on Wednesday whether to seek more time for talks on a $45 billion merger.
PARIS, Oct 9- Ratings agency Standard& Poor's downgraded French mutual insurer Groupama's debt by five notches to "CC" from "B", citing the company's recent decision to skip a coupon payment.
LONDON, Oct 9- Royal Bank of Scotland will offer at least 30 percent of shares in its insurance business Direct Line at a price of between 170 pence and 177.5 pence per share, sources close to the transaction told Reuters on Tuesday.
*Sources say UK, France propose broad state voting cap. *Germany said to maintain demand for parity with France. PARIS/ LONDON, Oct 9- France and Britain made a breakthrough over state shares in a merger between EADS and BAE Systems, making an extension of a deadline for negotiations more likely but putting the two nations on a collision course with Germany.
*NATO seeks ways to make scarce funds go further. *NATO chief calls for rises in defence spending post-austerity. BRUSSELS, Oct 9- NATO ministers wrestled on Tuesday with how to prevent austerity-driven defence cuts in many member countries from undermining the power of the 63- year-old Western alliance.
NEW DELHI, Oct 9- India should scrap a law that taxes asset transfers retrospectively, a government panel recommended in a draft report that could save Britain's Vodafone.
*Allegations have put BBC in spotlight. LONDON, Oct 9- Jimmy Savile, the late BBC TV star at the centre of a child sex scandal that has shaken Britain's state-funded broadcaster, may have abused up to 25 victims some as young as 13 over four decades, police said on Tuesday.
LONDON, Oct 9- Britain's Serious Fraud Office said blowing the whistle on crime won't guarantee freedom from prosecution as the fraud-buster seeks to restore its credibility after embarrassing setbacks. The SFO's new head David Green took up the reins in May and is refocusing the agency to pursue a more aggressive and targeted crime-fighting strategy.
UK small caps close down 0.1 percent, outperforming a 0.5 percent decline on both the blue chip FTSE 100 index and the mid-caps. Shares in Carclo add 6.2 percent in four times their average daily volumes after the British specialty plastics company forecast a "much stronger second half" for operating profit.
LONDON, Oct 9- The board of Britain's BAE Systems. met on Tuesday ahead of a pending deadline in talks over a proposed $45 billion merger with Airbus parent EADS, a source familiar with the talks told Reuters.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke start a two-day visit to India. *India Power Minister to address press at Economic Editors Conference. *India oil minister and company officials at Economic Editors Conference.
LONDON, Oct 9- BP's billionaire partners in TNK-BP, Russia's third-biggest oil producer, said they could sell or list their 50 percent stake in the business, plunging the venture's plans into further confusion, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
Reckitt Benckiser admitted that it had failed to disclose that its chief executive had pledged more than 7 million pounds of shares as collateral for a personal loan more than two years ago.
LONDON, Oct 9- Britain should defer spending cuts planned for next year if growth turns out to be much weaker than forecast, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.
LONDON, Oct 9- Advertising on the internet and mobile phones in Britain generated a record-high 2.59 billion pounds in the first half of 2012, an industry survey showed on Tuesday.
LONDON, Oct 9- British retail sales posted a solid rise last month as Britons splashed out on sturdy shoes and warm clothes, the British Retail Consortium said on Tuesday, raising the chances of a more lasting economic recovery.
LONDON, Oct 9- Scientists have found two distinct genetic "signatures" for prostate cancer that may help doctors predict which patients have aggressive tumours, and designed experimental blood tests to read those genetic signs like barcodes.
LONDON, Oct 8- The decline in British house prices eased unexpectedly in September and surveyors forecast that sales would pick up in the wake of government efforts to make mortgages more readily available, a survey showed on Tuesday.
LONDON, Oct 8- A man was arrested on Monday on suspicion of defacing a painting by the Russian-American artist Mark Rothko in London's Tate Modern museum. The 26- year-old was detained at about 9 p.m. in connection with a case of criminal damage, London's Metropolitan Police said.
By Matt Falloon and Guy Faulconbridge. BIRMINGHAM, England, Oct 8- Britain's Conservatives would slash government spending on welfare by 10 billion pounds a year if re-elected, finance minister George Osborne said on Monday, though he offered few ideas on how to bring the economy out of recession.