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News stand What the papers say

Rail authorities are investigating reports that an 'Indiana Jones style' commuter hitched a ride by clinging to the outside of a train in north London. The man could not find space to board the train at Oakleigh Park station and instead held on to the back for the next 11km miles at speeds of up to 90km/hr.

The Statistics Commission has demanded further clarification from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) over its latest statement on the accounting treatment of Network Rail. The ONS has clashed with the Commission over whether Railtrack's successor should be considered a private company, as the ONS believes, or included on the government's books.

Women account for only three per cent of the 1,200 applicants to join the body that will oversee Network Rail. The 1,200 applications will be reduced to 100-120 members who will act as the Nation's watchdog on Network Rail.

A large area of farmland is to be returned to the sea for the long-term benefit of wildlife.

More than 88ha of new saltmarsh will come into being when the spring tide rushes through four breaches made in the sea wall at Abbotts Hall farm on the Blackwater estuary near Colchester. The project is part of a nationwide initiative to restore the country's declining coastal wetlands.

The CBI and Engineering Employer's Federation have urged the Chancellor to reform the Climate Change Levy in his prebudget report later this month.

They claim the levy has cost the manufacturing sector £143M in the first year of operation.

Airport operator BAA has warned it may be unable to move head with its £8bn airport investment programme unless the Civil Aviation Authority backs significant increases in landing charges. The CAA is due to make a recommendation at the end of this month on the five year price caps to be applied from April. Chief executive Mike Hodgkinson said that acceptable outcomes would mean work could begin in the New Year on Heathrow's £3.5bn Terminal 5.

Hundreds of stone slabs that cover the surface of the new walkways flanking London's Hungerford Bridge have come loose, and dozens have cracked. The problems have emerged six months after the first walkway opened and just six weeks after the second, west facing bridge was put in use.

Four thousand homes in Midlothian are to be geothermally heated using water from abandoned mines at Monktonhall Colliery. Experts believe water from these mines would be a cheap and efficient source of heat and power for the thousands of houses, businesses and community facilities to be built in Midlothian in the next 20 years.

Householders should be able to make and use their own electricity and sell any surplus back to the National Grid within 50 years. The approach would use super-efficient micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems that simultaneously generate both heat and electricity using burnable fuels in a single process.

The National Gallery unveils plans this week for the first phase of its £100M refurbishment. This will include reopening a long-closed entrance to lead visitors into a covered atrium. Work is due to start next March and to be completed by November 2004.

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