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In the papers today - July 17th

Peers are handing out exclusive access to the Houses of Parliament to lobbyists and pressure groups, who pay them thousands of pounds a year, The Times has learnt.
Lord Berkeley, a Labour peer, gives a pass to Neil Stevens, the development and communications manager of the Rail Freight Group, whose clients include Maersk, the container shipping line. Lord Berkeley received £37,292 to act as chairman for the group, plus expenses - The Times Critical upgrade work on the London underground could be scaled back before the 2012 Olympics because of the financial crisis at Metronet, a Transport for London board member has warned. This could make it difficult for the tube to cope with the increase in customers - The Guardian A strong earthquake struck central Japan, killing at least eight people, injuring hundreds and causing a fire and radioactive leak at the world's biggest nuclear power plant. The 6.8-magnitude quake levelled buildings, derailed trains and buckled roads after it struck about 10 miles off the coast of Niigata yesterday - The Independent

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