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In the Papers today - 19th May 2008

Boris Johnson faces a funding crisis which threatens to paralyse London's public transport system and overshadow his term as the capital's mayor, according to sources close to the financial negotiations...

...Senior transport figures say the £16bn Crossrail project will stifle investment in the aging tube network, by creating a funding hole of up to £5bn - The Guardian

More than 220 wind farm projects are awaiting approval despite ministers' promises to speed up inquiries to aid the fight against climate change. The companies behind many schemes have waited up to five years for approval - The Guardian

Britain needs to act urgently to prevent an acute shortage of skills in strategic sectors of the economy, John Denham, the secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills warns today - The Guardian

Britain's leading power generating companies have put rivalries aside to draw up plans to counter the expected wave of protests against a proposed new generation of coal-fired power plants. More than 40 security and 60 media executives from the "Big Six" energy companies, as well as an array of independent generators including Drax, met in London to discuss how to prevent demonstrators disrupting their planned expansion - The Independent

A new pricing system for Britain's rail network has been criticised by unions and passenger groups, who accused train operators of introducing fare increases "by the back door". The new system, partially introduced yesterday, was supposed to make buying tickets easier by reducing the number of reservation types available to just three. But passenger groups warned that a number of train companies had already used the changes to scrap some of their cheapest fares by cutting the number of off-peak services and said that many more may follow suit when wider changes take effect later this year - The Independent

Cars promoted as eco-friendly were criticised yesterday for pumping out up to 56 per cent more carbon dioxide than the manufacturers claim. Three models, including the Honda Civic hybrid, performed so badly in tests that their environmental claims were dismissed as a gimmick - The Times

The public was given a rare chance to dangle deep inside Britain's largest known underground chamber, Gaping Gill, at the weekend. The Bradford Potholing Club winched more than a hundred people one by one into the cave through a pothole in North Yorkshire - The Times

Burma's military rulers have invited Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, to visit the country for talks, amid tentative hopes that the regime could be poised to allow a greater flow of foreign relief to millions of cyclone survivors – Financial Times

The World Health Organisation said yesterday that the area of China hit by an earthquake last week was at risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases because of the lack of safe water and cramped living conditions. The warning came as an aftershock caused panic in parts of the Sichuan province and underlined the dangers still facing rescue workers as they gradually shift from trying to find survivors to dealing with the large number of bodies that are still buried – Financial Times

Chinese officials promised yesterday to punish those responsible for shoddy building work which is being blamed for the thousands of children who died in the Sichuan earthquake. In Beichuan, a county which was largely destroyed, children's bodies were clearly visible trapped in the rubble of a middle school where 1,000 people died – Daily Telegraph

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