Telstra will drastically slash the number of public pay
phones in country towns and capital cities as it accelerates a cost-cutting
drive to offset rapidly declining revenue from traditional businesses, reports
the Financial Review (not online). And
in doing so, says the paper’s Tony Boyd, Telstra chief Solomon Trujillo has
shown that nothing’s sacred.

Small wonder that Trujillo chose to go to the 3GSM
conference in Barcelona – the annual summit of the world’s booming mobile
telephone industry – rather than appearing before a Senate Committee last
Monday, says Michael Sainsbury in The Australian. He’s not the most popular man in town.

Over the next week or so, the latest bunch of general
insurers get their chance to prove to the market why they should attract
investment, says Stuart Oldfield on the Fin‘s
back page (not online) – “should make for a fascinating fortnight.”

And, as well as setting up its own taxi service, Macquarie Bank could be preparing a new assault on Fortress Europe? says The Oz‘s Robert Clow.

Qantas is going through a massive restructuring that is
likely to see thousands of jobs moved offshore or outsourced, the domestic air
market eventually move back to a two airline configuration, and a stable of
partly owned foreign-based operators emerge, says Rod Myer in The Age. But not without a legal fight from the unions.

Also in The Smage,
Malcolm Maiden is sifting through BHP
Billiton’s fabulously fat, 48% higher $US4.4 billion December-half profit for
the bad bits. And The Agereports that ASIC confirmed yesterday it was investigating legal
action against financial planners and the company directors involved in the
collapse of the Perth-based property developer, Westpoint Corporation.

Giant New York-style ads that shroud entire buildings are
set to make their debut in Sydney
as the company behind a huge Pitt Street Mall redevelopment tries to turn
rubble and dust into dollars and cents, says the SMH.

And in other news, at least three lawsuits were filed last week
in the US
against fast food giant McDonald’s, over its use of wheat and milk, to which
some people are allergic, as flavouring ingredients in French fries.

Peter Fray

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