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In the papers today - 21 July 2008

Network Rail's 101 members have forced the company to pay for a review of its corporate governance, arguing that it must improve its accountability...

The members, who were supposed to act as a proxy for shareholders when Network Rail took over the UK's tracks and stations in October 2002, have grown increasingly frustrated over their limited powers to exert influence on the board, which is chaired by Sir Ian McAllister - The Daily Telegraph

Network Rail chiefs took "quite extraordinary" bonuses despite a "catalogue of management failings" that caused misery for passengers, a parliamentary report has found. The heads of the infrastructure company are condemned for their "widespread complacency" - The Daily Telegraph

The biggest school building programme in a generation is on course to produce billions of pounds worth of "mediocre" facilities, an audit conducted by the government's own architecture watchdog has revealed. An estimated eight out of 10 designs for secondary schools proposed under the £35bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) initiative are "mediocre" or "not yet good enough" and less than a fifth are considered "good" or excellent" - The Guardian

More than 500 people joined hands to form a "chain of hope" around Tewkesbury Abbey, Gloucestershire , yesterday after last summer's floods. The 12th century abbey, which was surrounded by water, became a symbol of the flooding - The Guardian

Imposing an emissions trading scheme on airlines flying through Europe has "no chance" of succeeding and could incite a trade war with the United States, the global trade body for commercial carriers has warned. Giovanni Bisignani, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (Iata), said that the European parliament's vote to include airlines in a carbon trading scheme from 2012 would trigger a confrontation with non EU countries - The Guardian

The government's rail strategy lacks ambition and should be sent back to the drawing board as high fuel prices force motorists out of their cars, according to MPs. The transport select committee said the transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, had ducked the issues of high-speed rail and the electrification of the existing network when she unveiled a five-year plan for the railways last year - The Guardian

Yesterday the Conservatives said that they planned to offer employers a £2,000 bonus — on top of money they already receive — for taking on and training apprentices as builders, plumbers and electricians. With a goal of training 100,000 apprentices in total, an incoming Conservative government would need to find another £200M at a time when the public finances are under severe strain - The Times

Beijing’s normally smog-shrouded skyline was clearly visible on Sunday as the government’s last-minute Olympic pollution controls went into effect across the city and nearby districts. For the next two months, car drivers will be allowed to use their vehicles only on alternate days – depending on whether their registration plate ends in an odd or even number – in an attempt to reduce Beijing’s notorious congestion and air pollution. Work on the city’s tallest building, the China World Trade Tower III, was suspended on Sunday as a construction ban went into effect, and numerous polluting factories in wide areas surrounding the Chinese capital shut temporarily or reduced output in order to help clear the air during next month’s games - The Financial Times

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