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News stand What the papers say

Beleagured US utilities giant TXU is selling its UK energy generating and retail business to German owned Powergen for £1.37bn. TXU said plunging UK retail prices made it impossible to make money.

The world is likely to experience serious water shortages within the next few years because of heavy and unsustainable use of fresh water. The International Food Policy Research Institute and the International Water Management Institute warn that by 2020, depletion and contamination of aquifers and rivers worldwide will result in a 10% fall in cereal crop yields.

A new runway at Heathrow would bring only half the capacity gain the government expected unless extensive additional space for aircraft parking was provided, airport planners have discovered.

Arsenal has admitted that its new football stadium will cost £100M more than first expected. Providing affordable housing, improving local transport, rebuilding a waste recycling centre and other issues involved in building the new 60,000 seater stadium have pushed the price up from £200M to £300M.

George Wimpey has become the UK's biggest house builder by striking a £297M deal to buy Laing Homes. Wimpey plans to slash overheads by £8M, but will not say how many redundancies will be made.

French climber Alain Robert, aka Spiderman, managed to scale three quarters of London's 240m One Canada Square tower at Canary Wharf before wind and rain foiled his bid for the summit.

Robert used the tracks up and down which window cleaning and maintenance cradles travel for purchase.

Ford motor company is planning to mass produce hydrogen fuel-cell cars by 2010, and anticipates sales overtaking those of petrol cars by 2020.

The government is to drop schemes for upgrading the rail network and force people to travel by bus instead. Transport secretary Alistair Darling said the railway had only a limited role to play in solving congestion because it is expensive and will take several years to upgrade. Buses are cheaper, more flexible and can be provided swiftly.

A new web portal, Hole World, has been set up to allow firms that are about to dig up the roads to share the information with other utilities. Utilities spend about £5.4bn a year on street works, digging more than 4M holes. By allowing firms to co-ordinate their works, Hole World could save utilities £800M a year and cut down traffic delays, which are estimated to cost UK business £4bn a year.

Richard Bowker, chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, is planning to ditch rail franchises in favour of short term service contracts. The move is seen as a step towards renationalising the railways.

Property giants Stanhope and Chelsfield are teaming up to build £3.5bn of housing, schools, commercial, retail and industrial space on 60ha of land surrounding the Channel Tunnel rail terminal in Stratford, east London. The scheme, phased over 15 years, would be as large as the Canary Wharf development.

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