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In the papers - Thursday 31 January

Almost £150M has been paid to consultants working on the London 2012 Olympics, it was disclosed last night...

...Olympics minister Tessa Jowell said that £50.5M was spent by the Olympic Delivery Authority in 2006-7 on consultancy services and so far £94.3M has been spent during 2007-8 - The Daily Telegraph

Almost half of leading companies failed to find suitable graduates to fill vacancies last year despite record number of students leaving university, a report shows today. The Association of Graduate Recruiters found that engineering firms and government recruiters were the worst hit, failing to fill about two thirds of positions - The Daily Telegraph

Britain's first "Ikealand" opened its metal-panelled pine doors yesterday in an experiment designed to spread the company's off-the-shelf principle from wardrobes and sofas to entire houses. The first of 93 flatpack homes designed and equipped by the house hold goods store went on show in Gateshead on Tyneside, where scores of would-be buyers are being vetted to ensure that their savings and income are modest enough to qualify - The Guardian

Bales of heather fell from the sky onto a peak plateau in the Peak District yesterday, in the latest attempt to halt what scientists believe is a dangerous emitter of carbon dioxide. Instead of acting as a natural store, or sink, for CO2, peat bogs such as the district's Bleaklow are leaking the gas, a process which experts put down to exposure to 200 years of pollution, overgrazing and fire - The Guardian

Tens of millions of internet users across the Middle East and Asia have been left without access to the web after a technical fault cut millions of connections. The outage, which is being blamed on a fault in a single undersea cable, has severely restricted internet access in countries including India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and left huge numbers of people struggling to get online - The Guardian

A team of Australians has constructed a laboratory in the Antarctic in order to preserve the ice-encrusted hut built by Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson in 1911. The laboratory will serve as a base for experts to conserve artifacts frozen for nearly a century after being left behind by the young adventurer and his team at the end of their ill fated expedition - The Guardian

Warmer waters in the north Atlantic have made hurricanes stronger and more frequent in the past decade, according to a study by British scientists. The finding has raised fears that global warming could unleash more devastating storms in the region, if sea temperatures continue to increase - The Guardian

The man responsible for raising £8.3bn for the Treasury by selling off some of the country’s most controversial assets is poised to receive a bonus of £766,200 for successfully winding up British Nuclear Fuels. Mike Parker, chief executive of BNFL, which used to own Westinghouse, the nuclear reactor maker, as well as Sellafield, could receive the bonus before the end of the financial year, The Times has learnt - The Times

Mervyn King accepted a second five-year term as Bank of England governor yesterday, ending months of speculation that he could pay the price for the botched Northern Rock bail-out - Financial Times

Top salaries paid by local authorities have rocketed with 12,600 staff now paid as much as or more than an MP's salaryof £60,277, according to a report by the taxpayers' Alliance - Financial Times

Eight states yesterday hammered home their opposition to European Commission proposals to split the power generation and distribution arms of European Union utilities by proposing strengthened national regulators, without breaking-up ownership - Financial Times

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