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News stand What the papers say

THE TIMES

A specialist rail crash investigation body will be set up to ensure swift action to improve safety after collisions.

The Railway Accident Investigation Branch, which will be created by a bill announced in the Queen's speech, will put rail on a par with aviation and shipping.

A new four or five runway airport at Cliffe in north Kent has received the backing of the Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group (SASIG), which represents more than 70 local authorities. Kent and Medway councils have resigned from SASIG in protest.

Amey has admitted that it could lose contracts worth up to £505M after Redcar & Cleveland Council asked it to retender for a critical contract.

Ministers are planning to scrap the centuries old system of degree classifications and replace them with a simple points score.

SUNDAY TIMES

Five people were killed and more than 30 injured when their coach plunged off the M25 in Buckinghamshire last weekend.

Lawyers, accountants and management consultants have been paid more than £1bn of taxpayers money to push through government public private partnerships, a study by the Labour Research Department has shown.

FINANCIAL TIMES

British Waterways has taken a 45% stake in a new public private partnership, WaterGrid, with a view to delivering various grades of water, including high-quality drinking water, to new developments and existing customers close to its 2,000 mile network of canals and rivers.

The number of companies bidding for private finance initiative contracts is set to decrease in the face of high bid costs and continued union opposition, a survey for the International Project Finance Association has revealed.

British Ports are up to a decade behind their European competitors and the problem could cost the UK trade, export orders and investment, industry leaders claim. The warning comes after four ships were turned away from Southampton, Britain's second busiest container port, this month.

DAILY TELEGRAPH

British Energy is heading for a Marconi style debt-for-equity swap which would leave the company largely in the hands of bondholders and banks. BE's financial problems stem partly from its inability to pay its £300M annual reprocessing bill, so a significant stake is likely to go to British Nuclear Fuels, the state owned reprocessing company.

THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

A government initiative to reduce holes in the road has instead led to an increase in their number, according to a report commissioned by the Department for Transport.

THE GUARDIAN

Higher education minister Margaret Hodge has raised the prospect of middle class families having to pay tuition fees of £15,000 for a typical three year university degree course.

THE SCOTSMAN

Managers of the troubled Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood are considering accelerating key parts of the work after it emerged that the project could fall nearly three years behind schedule.

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