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In the papers today - 13th June 2008

The Tories lent strong support to a government drive yesterday to encourage investors to build a multi-billion pound fleet of new nuclear reactors 'as soon as possib;e' in the UK. Senior nuclear energy figures attending a London conference hosted by John Hutton, the business scretary, sought assurance about the degree of political risk attached to the plans to fast-track new nuclear plants - The Financial Times

Tanker drivers yesterday rejected last-minute pleas from Gordon Brown to call off a strike, which will halt deliveries of fuel to about 1,000 Shell garages. Len McCluskey, assistant general secretary of Unite, the drivers' union, said Shell garages would start to run out of petrol 'almost immediately' and all of the oil companies forecourts would be affected within 24 hours - The Financial Times

Boris Johnson is to slash the cost of his predecessor's planned delegation to this Summur's Beijing Olympics, it emerged yesterday, as he chaired the first meeting of the Olympics Board and pledged to impose tight financial controls on the 2012 Games. Declaring that some aspects of the capital's presence in China in August 'would have had marginal value to Londoners', the London mayor will axe £1.2m from a projected £4.6m - The Financial Times

Saudi Arabia has unveiled plans to develop large-scale overseas agricultural projects to secure food supplies, revealing that Riyadh is in discussions with Ukraine, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkey and Egypt. Abdullah al-Obaid, the deputy agriculture minister, told the Financial Times the government was planning to set up projects of at least 100,000 hectares in several countries to grow crops such as wheat, corn, rice, soyabeans and alfalfa, a feed for livestock - The Financial Times

Babcock & Brown became one of the biggest Australian stackmarket casualties of the credit crisis after its shares fell 28 per cent yesterday on feras the investment group would be forced into negotiations with bankers over debt repayments. The decline dragged the Group's market capitalisation below A$2.5bn (£1.2bn), breaching a critical threshold that triggered a 'review clause' in the A$2.8bn debt facilities Babcock agreed only three months ago - The Financial Times

EDF, France's electricity monopoly, could be prepared to nudge up its £11bn ($21.4bn) bid for British Energy, but only if the board of the UK nuclear group moves quickly to recommend the offer. The French nuclear power operator has signalled that it intends to walk away from the process if a deal cannot be reached by the end of the month - The Financial Times

Communities are to be offered jobs and other 'bribes' to accept nuclear waste, it has emerged. Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, urged councils and other groups to provide an 'essential service to the nation' by offering sites to bury a share of Britain's stockpile of radioactive material. Mr Benn said communities could expect jobs and 'other benefits' in return for taking on a burial site – The Daily Telegraph

Another contender for British Energy has turned its back on the nuclear power operator in a new blow for the Government. Spanish power company Iberdrola yesterday ruled out a bid for the FTSE 100 company, which is 35pc owned by the British Government, citing the price as a deterrent - The Daily Telegraph

Gordon Brown has signalled he wants Britain to play a major role in the race to build an extra 1,000 nuclear power stations across the world as part of his vision for ending the global 'addiction to oil'. The Prime Minister, who will be flying to Saudi Arabia for an emergency oil summit next week, said in spite of the risks of terrorism, Africa could build nuclear power plants to meet growing demands for energy - The Independent

The Burma cyclone has devastated the health sector, leaving up to 35,000 pregnant women in urgent need of medical care. William Ryan of the UN Population Fund said more than 100 women were giving birth every day in the cyclone hit area - The Independent

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