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News stand: What the papers say


Britain's Olympic athletes may be asked to wear anti-pollution filters during this summer's Athens games to prevent the city's smogladen air from affecting their performance.


Tony Blair's No 10 think tank is looking at replacing the greenbelt with a number of new national parks in a bid to free up land for housebuilding.

Ministers believe population trends demand new land be freed up for development. The think tank is also considering charges for driving in motorway fast lanes as a precursor to charging for full motorway user charging.

Supermarkets are using loopholes in the law to double the size of their stores without planning permission, making it impossible for local authorities to protect already ailing town centres. Stores have realised they can put an extra floor in their stores, doubling their retail area and escaping the need for planning permission because there is no visible change to the building outside.

A series of 12 earthquakes hit Papua, Indonesia, on Saturday killing at least 29 people and injuring more than 200. The Richter 6.9 events damaged the airport, main hospital, churches and houses.


Scotland's target of recycling 25% of its waste by 2006 will be missed. Councils managed to recycle only 7% of waste last year.

A £65M repair bill for the Forth Road Bridge threatens plans to upgrade the heavily congested link road. Bridge managers are warning they will cancel funding for the £30M upgrade to the A8000 while the bridge remains in a 'substandard' condition.


The European Commission is investigating the award, without tender, of a £1.4bn Romanian motorway contract to US contractor Bechtel. The 450km road would link Bucharest with Budapest in Hungary. Award of the contract to Bechtel took place following discussions between the US and Romanian governments.

The government is thought to be close to ruling on whether a £10bn rail freight scheme can go ahead. Freight company Central Railway wants to run truck shuttle trains from Liverpool to northern France, but needs permission to build a new rail line.

European Union countries will in future be able to finance large projects without having to include the amounts as part of their public debts, if they can show that the private sector company is carrying the risk under new procurement rules to be unveiled this week.


The Labour Party this week expelled one of its founding trade unions, the Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers Union (RMT), for allowing its members to belong to other political parties.

The UK's most famous steam locomotive, the Flying Scotsman, is up for sale. Fears are growing that it will be shipped abroad or end up in a museum.


Irish authorities have been criticised by the Environmental Protection Agency for failing to introduce adequate measures to prevent water pollution in rivers and lakes. Nearly 40% of lakes and rivers breach European Union water quality standards.

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