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In the papers - Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Europe's 30 most important transport projects will cost far more than first thought, making it uncertain how some financially strapped governments will find the necessary funds, according to an independent study...

...The report, prepared by PwC, the professional services firm, for the European parliament blames the €40bn ($63bn, £32bn) cost overrun on poor project management, planning difficulties, changes in specification, lawsuits and lack of funding – The Financial Times

The price of all things steel, from refrigerators to cars to saucepans, is set to surge after an agreement was struck yesterday that will triple the price of coking coal, the fuel used to make the metal. The accord between Posco, Asia's third-largest steel maker, and Australia's top miners BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto will push the price for coking coal from the $98 per tonne it cost last year to more than $300 per tonne this year - The Independent

The government is to create a super-watchdog for public transport by giving the role of bus passenger champion to Passenger Focus, the defender of rail commuters' rights. Passenger Focus will conduct
research on bus services in England and report passengers' concerns to central government and local authorities - The Guardian

D1 Oils said yesterday it was in advanced talks with major shareholders about a cash injection to secure the future of the struggling biodiesel firm. Shares in a business designed to poineer the use of the jatropha plant as a green fuel soared by 16 per cent to 43p as the City saw a chance for D1 to stabilise its finances - The Guardian

The Spanish prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will today outline how he believes his re-elected socialist government will save Spain from economic crisis. In a speech to the Spanish parliament as he begins his second term, Zapatero will announce an ambitious programme, which will pour millions of euros into building 150,000 affordable homes a year in an effort to create jobs in a construction sector that is heading for a recession after a decade long boom - The Guardian

The north East is set to become key to Britain's hopes of boosting its production of renewable energy after E.On submissted plans to build one of the largest ever wind farms in the country and the Government gave the go-ahead to pilot a tidal project in the Humber estuary. But E.On's plans must first overcome objections from the Ministry of Defence, which fears that the 83 turbines to be situated five miles off the coast of East Yorkshire will interfere with radar defences - The Daily Telegraph

Passengers at Heathrow's Terminal 5 have been reduced to sleeping in cardboard boxes as British Airways' woes intensified. The flagship £4.3billion building began to resemble a shanty town after the cencellation of more than 100 flights at the weekend left thousands of passengers stranded - The Daily Telegraph

A disputes panel is to preside over Olympics construction rows between London 2012 and contractors, in an attempt to avoid the kind of protracted court battle that held up completion of Wembley stadium and led to spiralling costs. The Olympic Delivery Authority will today announce it has established an independent dispute avoidance panel to seek pragmatic solutions to construction rows – The Financial Times

New York's state assembly rejected a proposal by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor, to introduce a congestion charge for motorists in some parts of Manhattan. The 150 member assembly decided not to vote on the initiative – The Financial Times

This year Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica, and Sam Laidlaw, chief executive, made their way to an appointment at Whitehall. On the agenda was a potential takeover of British Energy, the UK's nuclear operator. The two men approached the government to see if it would give preferential treatment to a British bidder. An announcement by the government in January to allow a new generation of power stations had sparked interest in British Energy from several utilities. As the owner of most of the sites for new reactors, British Energy is key to government plans for a nuclear renaissance – The Financial Times

British entrepreneurs netted tens of millions of pounds before the new capital gains tax rate came into force on Sunday. High-profile executives such as Sir Ken Morrison, Sir James Dyson, and Clara Furse sold off shares or moved them into family trusts last month before the new rules began to bite - The Times

The government said yesterday that it would not stand in the way of a foreign-led takeover of British Energy on strategic grounds. As shares in British Energy, which is 35 per cent owned by the government, soared yesterday amid continued speculation about a possible £10 billion takeover approach, a spokeswoman for the Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform said that it was "not UK energy policy to encourage national champions" - The Times

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