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In The Papers Today - 11th June 2008

More than 100 people were feared dead last night sfter a Sudan Airways jet exploded after veering off a runway as it landed at Khartoum airport. Civil aviation officials said that, of the 203 passengers and 11 crew on board, 103 passengers and 10 crew members had survived - The Independent

Shares in Barratt plunged by nearly 20 per cent yesterday as gloomy predictions cut a swathe through through housebuilders stocks. Persimmon fell by 9.6 per cent, Taylor Wimpey 15.6 per cent. But Barrett went into freefall, closing down 24.2 per cent at 91.5p, trading as low as 83.5p at points - The Independent

More than £400 million was wiped off the combined value of Britain's "big seven" quoted housebuilders yesterday as fears intensified that Barratt Developments and Taylor Wimpey may be forced into huge debt-for-equity swaps. The latest fall in share prices leaves the combined market value of the big seven at less than £4billion - The Times

Devastated and abandoned after the earthquake last month, the town of Beichuan was engulfed by torrents of muddy brown water after the Chinese Army drained a dangerously unstable lake created when landslides blocked a river. Swirling waters swept trees and vehicles towards the town where 8,600 of the 13,000 residents were killed in the earthquake on May 12, which has left nearly 87,000 dead or missing and millions without homes - The Times

A drugs trial was aborted yesterday after jurors were caught playing a Sudoku puzzle while evidence was being given. The case at Sydney District Court had been running for 66 days and cost A$1m (£500,000) - The Independent

Electricity generators need to lead the move away from fossil fuel dependence, leaving oil and gas to plastic manufacturers and other industrial users, according to the head of the world's biggest wind energy group. Ignacio Sanchez Galan, executive chairman of Iberdrola of Spain, says technological advances in renewable sources such as wind and solar generation meant the power industry was better equiped to wean itself of oil and gas - The Financial Times

US corn production could fall more than expected this season because of the impact of heavy rains on planting and yields, a senior US agriculture official has warned. The US is world's largest corn exporter and accounts for 70 per cent of global trade. Any shortfall is likely to push corn prices higher, analysts said - The Financial Times

The world's largest cattle ranch has been forced to sell its livestock and mothball opeations because of the severe drought gripping much of Australia. Anna Creek station, which is bigger than Israel, normally supports 16,000 cattle but the Big Dry - the worst drought for a century - has exhausted the land, forcing the herd to be cut to less than 2,000 - The Daily Telegraph

Energy companies are being offered a hidden subsidy to build nuclear power stations through the proposed funding of waste disposal, says the government's former adviser on the issue. Gordon MacKerron, who until recently chaired the committee on radioactive waste management, attacked as "frankly not credible" ministerial assurances that operators of the new reactors would meet the full costs of waste disposal - The Financial Times

Boris Johnson criticised London 2012 organisers yesterday, warning that plans for the legacy left by the Olympic Games were too vague. In the first sign of tensions between the London mayor and Olympic planners, Mr Johnson said there was no clear vision for the east London site after the Games, even though billions of pounds were being poured into the area - The Financial Times

Italian energy group Eni is paying £210m to take control of a North Sea field which it plans to turn into Britain's biggest gas storage facility. Eni is buying Tullow Oil's 52% stake in the Hewitt Unit field, taking its overall stake to 89% - The Guardian

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