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What the papers say

News stand

Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott is under pressure to vet city plans for former green belt land near Newcastle airport after software house Sage announced plans to join the proposed 455ha Great Park scheme with a big additional development.

Aston Villa Football Club has received Birmingham City approval for a £23M expansion of its stadium from 39,000 seats to 50,000, plus a new hotel and conference centre.

Japanese bank Nomura is tipped as favourite in the shortlist of consortia bidding to buy the Millennium Dome in 2001. Nomura plans to pay about £100M for the structure, possibly to create a 'soap opera theme park' with the BBC. Other bidders include the Sports Dome consortium, Ove Arup, Australian developer Lend Lease and property company London Merchant Securities.

China is to build a giant water transfer scheme from the subtropical monsoon south to the parched northern Yellow River basin. State Planning Commission confirmation does not include timing and route details.

Road safety would improve with faster lorries, according to the Freight Transport Association. It wants the country road limit raised from 40mph to 50mph to cut dangerous overtaking by frustrated car drivers.

Road tolls are good for you, claims Warwick University's Professor Andrew Oswald. Industry and commerce would gain more from reduced congestion than would be lost in the cost of implementation.

Ten out of 27 millennium projects nationwide are late, parliamentary auditor of public spending Sir John Bourne has confirmed. Of those, two are as much as nine months behind: Portsmouth Harbour renaissance and the Glasgow Science Centre. An eleventh project has been cancelled.

Brent Council may not give the new £475M Wembley Stadium planning permission despite the recent Government go ahead for the football and rugby venue. Serious doubts about parking and public transport must be addressed, council leader Paul Daisley has said.

London should have a 20mph speed limit, as in Holland, according to the Slower Speed Initiative which claims speed kills more people than drink.

A twin-valved air-filled rubber road hump, developed in Israel, deflates for slow drivers but bounces fast cars.

Much run down housing is so bad that it must be demolished, a Government funded study concluded. Professor Ian Cole of the Centre for Regional, Economic & Social Research in Sheffield saysmoney should be used to encourage people to move to prosperous cities instead of improving bad areas.

Local authorities are failing cyclists. Most are not introducing the package of measures needed to double cycle riding by 2002 as set out in Government's nationalcycling strategy.

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