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In the papers today - August 30

Thames Water is to cut a quarter of its workforce over the next four years, but insists that workmen who are dealing with leaking pipes will not be affected.

The company confirmed yesterday that it plans to make 1,200 staff redundant as part of a cost cutting programme, as revealed in The Times earlier this month.

Back-office staff and middle managers are expected to bear the brunt of the job cuts, which are designed to make the water company more attractive to potential buyers The Times

The supposed defenders of the British countryside are dodging and defying their own rules to permit development in beauty spots, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. Weakened planning laws have opened the way to new roads, quarrying, wind farms and other invasions of wild landscapes, in spite of a battery of legal measures intended to protect plant and animal life as well as peaceful solitude.Serious damage is imminent to two national parks and seven officially designated areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs), says the CPRE, which has posted a list of 'nine jewels in the crown' under threat The GuardianActivists yesterday blockaded the front and rear entrances of a nuclear power station in Hartlepool, Teesside, to protest at the government's recently proclaimed support for a new boost for nuclear energy. About 20 arrived at 8am as a shift was starting work, draped a banner reading 'No More' on a fence, locked themselves to welded-together tubes, and lay down across roads.Earlier this year the government said nuclear power could make a 'significant contribution' to future energy needs. The Hartlepool action is part of a campaign to highlight the drawbacks of traditional sources of power and to stress the need for global reduction in energy use and the development of renewable sources The GuardianEver had a journey to work that made you want to dynamite a bottleneck? A long-suffering Washington commuter took the ultimate revenge after 28 years when he blew up the US capital's most detested bridge, scene of the country's worst gridlock (Catherine Philip writes). Dan Ruefly, an electrician from Maryland, won the right to push the detonator button in a hotly contested competition to find the worst trip across the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over Potomac. Commuters travelled miles to watch Mr Ruefly destroy a half mile section of the bridge, which is being replaced The TimesThe driver of a car had a lucky escape when his Citroen Saxo smashed through a crash barrier and was left dangling over the edge of a 40ft-high (12m) bridge.The man, who is believed to be in his twenties, lost control of the car as he drove along the A370 in Bristol just after 7am. The vehicle spun 180 degrees as it crossed Plimsoll Bridge, crashing through the central reservation and across all four lanes of traffic before careering through the bridge's railings The TimesConstruction and leisure companies spend the least on training across all sectors, according to a study of mainly small to medium-sized ventures published today.The survey of more than 600 human resources managers by City & Guilds, the biggest provider of vocational qualifications, found almost two-thirds spent less than £10,000 a year on training The Financial Times

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