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In the papers today - 4 January

Britain's biggest train company is scrapping its most reliable trains more than a decade earlier than scheduled, replacing them cheaper trains that break down twice as often. South West Trains will send 120 Class 442 carriages into storage in sidings next week despite protests by Passenger Focus, the national rail passenger watchdog. - Times
Rescuers found a six-year-old boy and 11 other survivors clinging to an oil rig yesterday, days after an Indonesian ferry sank, leaving more than 400 dead or missing, navy officers said - The GuardianBMED, the loss making airline chaired by Lord Hesketh that flies under British Airways colours to some of the most dangerous parts of the Middle East, is poised to change hands in a £30M rescue deal financed by the Lebanese Mikati family - The TelegraphMotor manufacturers and their suppliers will have to restructure through alliances and mergers to cope with overcapacity and poor financial performance, according to a report from management consultant KPMG - The GuardianLeading industrialised countries want Britain to explain its decision to halt an Serous Fraud Office investigation into the award of Saudi Arabia's Al Yamamah to BAE Systems, the arms maker - The Financial TimesA leading estate agent says the property market has peaked, claiming an influx of sellers 'motivated by greed' is increasing the supply of homes for sale and creating a vicious circle that will send prices lower in 2007. The Financial Times Copper prices fell below £3,000 a tonne for the first time in nine months yesterday, under pressure from rising stockpiles and a change in investor sentiment - The Financial Times Beijing's ancient hutong laneways, which once fanned out around the city forming a network of passageways lined with courtyard houses are being lost to redevelopment. Only a third of the hutongs still exist, a survey by the Beijing Institute of Civil Engineering & Architecture has showed. Many hutongs are over 700 years old. - Independent

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