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In the papers today - 18 October

Management failures at a Whitehall Agency have forced it to take on extra staff when it had been expected to cut jobs as part of the government's efficiency drive.
This has added £387M to the cost of a new scheme for paying subsidies to farmers in England. A report from the National Audit Office said that the Rural Payments Agency has planned to cut 1,800 of its 3,950 staff, but at the last headcount there were 4,329 staff in the Agency - The Financial Times The steel industry looked set for a shift in favour of the developing world last night with Tata of India breaking months of speculation with a £4.1bn indicative offer for Corus, the former British Steel group. The offer of 455p per share was lower than expected but - if accepted - could still bring windfall profits to any UK steel workers who bought in to the company when its shares were down at 19p - The Guardian British Airways is looking at the A380 aircraft as part of a £7bn overhaul of its long-haul fleet, despite delays to deliveries of the Airbus super plane. BA opened the tender process to replace 34 Boeing planes yesterday and has invited the US aircraft manufacturer, and Airbus, to submit proposals - The GuardianExecutives at Thames Water are likely to share almost £2m after the UK's largest water supplier was sold by its German owner RWE to the Australian bank Macquarie for £8bn. The key men at the centre of the deal include Jim Forbes, former chief executive of Scottish and Southern Energy, who became chairman of Thames on 1 July to help mastermind its sale.Thames water's new owners may not have the resources to repair the regions failing network of leaking pipes and provide a secure supply for the future, critics warned. Industry experts say Macquarie bank has borrowed so much for its £8bn takeover that there will be little spare cash for much needed investment - The Daily Telegraph In an effort to demonstrate utility, oil ministers from the organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will meet in Qatar on Thursday to try and convince oil markets that they can decisively act to stem the slide in prices. On the surface, OPEC has all but agreed to cut production by 1M barrels a day. But there is tremendous scepticism among traders and analysts that the cartel can agree how to allocate the cut among its members, undermining the group's position - The International Herald TribuneTelevisions with wasteful standby settings and DVD players that never switch off will be banned by regulations to be proposed by Brussels tomorrow to force households to cut energy use by 20% - The TimesImposing green taxes on flights would benefit the economy because they encourage people to take holidays in Britain rather than spending money abroad, according to a report by Oxford University The Times

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