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News stand - What the papers say


Growing numbers of thrill-seekers are risking their lives by leaping across rooftops and performing high-rise acrobatics after being inspired by a BBC trailer and the film Spiderman. The phenomenon, popularised by Frenchman David Belle who in a BBC trailer performs a handstand on rooftop railings 40m above the pavement, has spawned several clubs in the UK.

The £280M Scottish parliament building project at Holyrood, Edinburgh, has suffered another setback after it was disclosed it will not open until September 2003, four months after the target date.

An asteroid the size of a football pitch and large enough to raze a major city missed the Earth by just 120,000km last Friday, a distance considered by astronomers to be 'a close shave'.

Archaeologists are claiming that monks at Rievaulx Abbey, Yorkshire, were working on a prototype blast furnace capable of producing industrial quantities of cast iron before they were evicted by Henry VIII.

By halting the monks' research, the Reformation may have delayed the Industrial Revolution by 200 years.

The government's controversial climate change levy is failing to encourage enough companies to save energy, according to a survey by London Electricity. Only 37% of respondents said they had reduced energy consumption as a result of the levy.

A £100bn strategic plan for London published on Monday by mayor Ken Livingstone will fail unless developers are given incentives to build on brownfield land, planning experts have warned. The draft London Plan envisages a 700,000 increase in population to 8.1M, 460,000 new houses and high density office development equivalent to 75 new Canary Wharf towers.

More than 500 people were killed and 1,600 injured in an earthquake that hit Iran early on Saturday. The earthquake, measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, destroyed at least 60 villages around the town of Avaj, 240km from capital city Tehran.

Amtrak, the US railway company, is to be systematically shut down unless Congress puts up £140M to cover immediate running costs. An audit carried out by newly appointed Amtrak president David Gunn reveals that there is only enough capital to keep the national rail network running until mid-July.

China is mounting a vast operation to clean up contamination in areas that will be inundated by the Three Gorges reservoir once the huge hydroelectric dam on the River Yangtse is complete. Dumping of municipal and industrial waste has been largely unregulated, and chemical and radioactive contaminants from the numerous abandoned factories flanking the Yangtse is thought to be widespread.

At least 200 people were killed Monday when a passenger train collided with a freight train in central Tanzania.

More than 800 sustained serious injuries. The passenger train was climbing a steep incline when its locomotive failed. It rolled backwards into an approaching freight train.

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