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In the papers today - Wednesday 3 September

Environmental concerns such as energy efficiency have been pushed to the bottom of the agenda for UK companies as cost becomes increasingly crucial in the more difficult economic climate...

Rental cost is the key factor in the decision to take office space in central London, with energy efficiency and green issues cited as the least important consideration, according to research by Knight Frank, the property consultancy - The Financial Times

Ireland's public finance deficit tripled in the eight months to the end of August as the housing and construction slowdown hit tax receipts, posing an increasing threat to Dublin's European Union commitments on fiscal discipline. The budget deficit was €8.4bn ($12.2bn, £6.8bn), compared with a €2.8bn deficit in the same period last year. Tax receipts were 9.4 per cent behind the revenue achieved in the same period last year - The Financial Times

Vast greenhouses that use sea water for crop cultivation could be combined with solar power plants to provide food, fresh water and clean energy in deserts, under an ambitious proposal from a team of architects and engineers. The Sahara Forest Project, which is already running demonstration plants in Tenerife, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, envisages huge greenhouses with concentrated solar power (CSP), a technology that uses mirrors to focus the sun's rays, creating steam to drive turbines to generate electricity - The Guardian

A British mining engineer has escaped from house arrest in The Gambia where he was awaiting trial on charges of illegally exporting uranium. Charlie Northfield was smuggled across the border to Senegal by agents for a British security firm - The Times

Almost two million weary evacuees from Hurricane Gustav prepared to return home yesterday with the unsettling knowledge that they may have to hit the road again because of another storm. With Tropical Storm Ike ripening into a hurricane that could again threaten the US Gulf Coast, evacuees complained of hurricane fatigue after what the New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, called the "mother-in-law . . . .of all storms" - The Times

Shares in housebuilders rallied after the Government unveiled measures to boost Britain's troubled housing market. Stocks across the sector advanced amid hopes that the measures, which include a year-long stamp duty holiday on homes worth up to £175,000, will boost housebuilders' fortunes - The Times

Shares in Scott Wilson rose more than 5% after the engineering consultant said that work on everything from the design of the A421 from Bedford to the M1, to the Grand Mosque in Bahrain, gave it confidence of meeting market expectations. The company said that demand remained strong at home and abroad and its order book was healthy - The Times

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