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In the papers today - Friday 7 March 2008

Shanghai's local government has backed off construction work on a new electromagnetic train line until at least next year after the proposed development triggered mass protests...

...Han Zheng, Shanghai's mayor, said yesterday that the new line, which has prompted a series of protests from people living near the planned track, was not on the list of big projects to be started this year - Financial Times

The Grand Canyon is being flooded with 300,000 gallons of water per second in an attempt to save a rare fish from extinction. But the plan to protect the humpback chub is controversial because it involves emptying water from Arizona's drought stricken Lake Powell reservoir, created in 1963 when the Glen Canyon Dam was built on the Colorado River - The Times

Britain's biggest commercial property developers are threatening to take the roofs off buildings in an attempt to circumvent changes to business rates, The Times has learnt. Ian Coull, chief executive of Segro, which owns £4.4bn of industrial property, said that he was ready to leave his large new developments without a roof to avoid paying rates on empty buildings - The Times

Moves to close the observatory at Jodrell Bank were described as disastrous and absurd by its celebrated founder. Professor Sir Bernard Lovell called for the proposals to cut funding for an array of radio telescopes to be scrapped - The Times

The rush towards biofuels is threatening world food production and the lives of billions of people, the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser said yesterday. Professor John Beddington put himself at odds with ministers who have committed Britain to large increases in the use of biofuels over the coming decades - The Times

Pakistan's national electricity provider shut off power to Karachi, the country's largest city, yesterday because of an unpaid bill, leaving more than 15M people without electricity for much of the day, officials said. The Pakistan Electric Power Company pulled the plug at around 8am because of the money owed it by the local municipal power authority, and by mid-afternoon about 70% of the city was still waiting to be reconnected - The Guardian

Taylor Wimpey, the UK's second largest house builder, yesterday declared a small loss for 2007 following close to £300m worth of write-downs on its trading in the United States. Taylor Wimpey, formed following the merger last July of Taylor Woodrow and George Wimpey, said it lost £19.5m last year, compared with a profit of £406m in 2006, calculated on a like-for-like basis - The Independent

Ofgem, the energy regulator, has launched an inquiry into the regulatory regime for the UK's gas and electricity regulatory networks. The two-year consultation will be the first for 20 years and will assess whether the current framework is suited to the increasing demands placed on the country's energy networks amid Government directives requiring new, green generation plants and wind farms that will need to be connected to the network - The Independent

Alistair Darling was under mounting pressure yesterday to scrap plans for a rise in fuel duty after official figures showed pump prices are rising at the fastest rate on record - Daily Telegraph

A new "super diploma" worth four-and-a-half A-levels will be announced today, in a move that will be seen as a Government attempt to lure middle class children towards the controversial vocational qualifications - Daily Telegraph

Ministers have hit out at Britain's consumer regulators as an official review is launched to investigate why people have not been protected from alleged profiteering by utility firms, banks and companies - Daily Telegraph

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