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In the papers today - Friday 15 December

Britain was accused of caving in to pressure from Saudi Arabia after the government intervened to end a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry into bribery allegations against BAE systems. The SFO's decision to abandon its investigation into the Al Yamamah oil-for-arms contracts came under fierce attack from opposition peers and leading international lawyers - Financial Times
Ministers have reaffirmed their proposals to enlarge Heathrow and Stansted, but insisted that the projects would only go ahead if environmental concerns could be addressed. The government's refusal to abandon plans for major airport expansion came under fire from a wide green alliance ranging from Friends of the Earth to the Conservative Party - The Independent The government is set to scrap GNER's £1.3bn franchise agreement to operate the East Coast Main Line railway and will invite new bids from rival operators. In the next few days the Department for Transport (DfT) will announce plans to re-let the franchise, but will allow GNER to continue to run it on a 'temporary management agreement' basis for the time being - The Times

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