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News stand What the papers say

New York Times

A tape recording which has just emerged of firefighters' radio transmissions inside the World Trade Center twin towers has revealed that they reached much higher levels than was previously thought. Two firefighters reached the area where the plane hit the building on the 78th floor in the South Tower, one by climbing the stairs with another using an elevator. Another who reached the upper floors escaped after rescuing an injured woman.

The Independent

The chief executive of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) Norman Askew has been given a £75,250 pay rise despite the firm recording record losses of £2.3bn. BNFL justified the 18% pay rise which takes Askew's salary to £509,000 because management had 'met their targets for improving the operating performance of the business'.

A raft of takeover deals helped Bill Alexander, the chief executive of Thames Water, to almost triple his pay to £1.4M from £572,000 in 2000 in the last financial year.

Thames Water had doubled its customer base to 50M.

Transactions included a £4.8bn deal to acquire the US water giant American Water Works.

Targets to improve air quality have been lowered because they would have been too difficult to achieve, environment minister Michael Meacher has said. The targets require councils to reduce levels of pollutants to improve the health of thousands of people with breathing problems.

Financial Times

An investigation by the Financial Times has found that Railtrack's bill for employing consultants has hit £225M. Consultants, ranging from former British Rail employees to project management consultants, clocked up the bills which are said to have shocked new chief executive John Armitt, who will also head up Railtrack successor Network Rail.

Contracts for water supplies to large commercial, industrial and public sector customers are to be opened to wider competition under government proposals just published. The plans would give new water industry competitors rights to buy water and use the pipe networks of existing suppliers.

Controversy is growing over the decision to rip up the Commonwealth Games stadium's athletics track and hand over the £110M publicly funded facility to Manchester City Football Club.

10,000 seats are to be added to the stadium.

The Times

Wessex Trains has resurrected two 1950s diesel locomotives to help meet demand for a seaside route. The two Class 31 locos will ply the route from Westbury in Wiltshire to Weymouth in Dorset two minutes faster than the firm's modern sets.

Daily Telegraph

Tens of thousands of homes on flood plains could become unmortgageable because insurance companies will refuse to provide cover for them. An agreement with the government under which insurance companies undertook not to withdraw cover expires at the end of the year.

Irish Independent

Ireland is to set up a specialist traffic police corps to combat the country's high road death rate. Around 450 die on roads in the Irish Republic annually, a rate of twice the UK's. The new corps is expected to double the number of speeding fines, while a penalty points system for driving offences comes into force in October for the first time.

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