From the newsroom

Introduction: Upstart Xstrata makes a multi-billion dollar approach for Anglo-American, the establishment mining company; the turf battle over banking regulation intensifies in the UK; the Iranian authorities tighten a noose around the opposition; and Michael Jackson, the Peter Pan of pop, dies in California, aged 50.

Award watch: Barney Jopson’s articles on the political and economic impact of water aid in Asia and Africa won a distinguished mention in despatches in the Martha Gellhorn prize.

And if you missed the Financial Times or ft.com this past week, you would have missed the following top ten items:

The Budget is one of the key events of the year in the UK, and one that has many people turning to the FT for news and analysis. So we are always on the lookout to do something new.

Last year it was the Budget podcast, which was a mixture of news and analysis, ready to be listened to on the afternoon of the Budget – ideal for that tube journey home. It will run again this year, available from 4pm on the day.

This year we are going to run a live blog in the style of Alphaville’s Markets Live during Alistair Darling’s speech. Three of our most lively writers, Robert Shrimsley, Jamie Chisholm and Matthew Vincent will be providing the commentary, available on our Budget blog.

We will also be providing video analysis, the latest news from our industry specialists, and later in the day a Budget calculator.

Everything you’ll need will be at www.ft.com/budget

The FT’s deputy editor Martin Dickson rounds up the best of the FT and ft.com

This update has to start with the reporting highlight of the week – Jamil Anderlini’s brave and brilliant account of China’s ancient petitioning system and how it is not working, despite being an important outlet for protest in a one-party state under growing economic pressure. Jamil’s analysis was the result of months of painstaking interviews with petitioners from the provinces who had tried and failed to get redress. The three-part video and interactive graphic that accompanied the story is powerful and in parts very moving. Production plaudits to Du Juan, Ed Cheng, Richard Edgar and Cleve Jones.

Hubdub.com, a news prediction site, has been comparing the predictions for 2008 made by assorted media organisations – and awarded the FT’s “crack corp of pundits” top marks.

If that success makes you want to take another look what we think lies ahead in 2009, you can find that here.

by Paul Murphy, FT Alphaville editor

FT Alphaville has been refreshed! Our hyper-active financial blog has taken on the new FT.com livery and we’ve also introduced some important new improvements to functionality.

Jamil Anderlini, FT correspondent in Beijing, won print/web feature of the year at the UK Foreign Press Association Awards for his multimedia reporting on Chinese peasants’ demands for land rights.

Of particular note is that Jamil’s coverage combined text and video, using each to their advantage – text for depth and analysis, video for immediacy.

Credit, too, to Du Juan, who did the filming, and to Darryl Thompson and Fang Wang in London who edited the footage into a tight narrative.

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