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News stand What the papers say

The Independent

Four in 10 British pupils aged 14 or 15 cannot add up properly, according to a Unicef study published this week on literacy, maths and science standards in 24 developed countries.

A bill to tackle towering leylandii hedges is being considered by MPs, because the trees have sparked a number of disputes between neighbours.

BBC political correspondent Andrew Marr has said he is 'highly suspicious' of why Brunel did so well in the BBC's Great Britons poll.

'If you look at the pattern of voting there is a very interesting trend.

After programmes that have nothing to do with Brunel there was always a huge surge of votes in his favour.'

Daily Telegraph

Road journey time has increased by an average of 16% over the past four years and more than 30% on the busiest stretches of motorway, a report from driver information group Trafficmaster has revealed.

A builder in Oxford dug up the speed hump outside his house this week because he claimed traffic noise caused by the hump was keeping him awake. His drastic action was brought on when his repeated complaints to the local council about the noise were ignored.

The Times

Trafalgar Square may feature a glass pavilion inspired by the Parisian Louvre if £30M plans to transform the square into a grand piazza are approved by London mayor Ken Livingstone.

The new glass structure will open up the vast underground vault of St Martins-in-theFields.

An alliance of 14 airlines has told the UK government that if a new airport was built in Cliffe, north Kent, they would be prepared to move there. The Star Alliance, which includes United Airlines, Lufthansa and British Midland, controls a quarter of the global air market.

The Business

WestLB, the German investment bank, has approached water regulator Ofwat about creating a new £300M water company in Kent and East Sussex. WestLB wants to merge its own company, Mid Kent Water, with Vivendi's Folkestone & Dover and Southern Water's area in north Kent.

Financial Times

A government consultation paper has identified the Thames Estuary as one of three areas that will be a priority for offshore wind developments. The other areas are the Greater Wash in East Anglia and the north west coastline stretching from the Solway Firth to North Wales.

The Guardian

Britain will plunge into a deficit of up to £20bn, Chancellor Gordon Brown was expected to admit this week in a speech ahead of the Pre-Budget Report.

Since the start of this year the value of stock markets has fallen by 22% in the US and Britain, 25% in Japan, 32% in France and 40% in Germany.

Snobby Brits must learn to love plumbers and recognise trades as a potential career choice to plug skills shortages, government officials are expected to say at this week's Confederation of British Industry conference.

Experienced plumbers can earn up to £30,000 a year and up to £50,000 if selfemployed.

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