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What the papers say

News stand

One of six groups bidding to take over the Millennium Dome has pulled out. City of the Future, which had planned to use the Dome, is believed to think the bidding process is too costly. Germany has joined Japan in banning mixed oxide reprocessed fuel deliveries from Britain's BNFL. The move follows revelations that quality control documents for shipments from Sellafield reprocessing plant had been falsified. German orders worth £1.2bn over ten years could be threatened.

A former London Transport economist has called for only one Tube line to be privatised at a time. David Osmon says further lines should be privatised only if London Underground cannot match the service improvement and cost savings achieved on privatised lines.

The Arctic ice cap is shrinking by 24,000km2 every year and is down to an average 1.5m thick, says the Worldwatch Institute. Arctic sea ice has lost 40% of its volume in the last 30 years. The Antarctic has lost three great ice sheets completely and two more are expected to break up soon after losing 15% of their area in the last 19 months.

A large scale model of a winged train said to need one quarter the power of high speed Maglev prototypes is being tested in Japan. The 8.1m long model 'Aerotrain', developed by Tohoku University Institute of Fluid Science, uses the wing-in-ground effect to fly along close to the ground on a high pressure 'cushion'. Vertical wing elements use the same effect to guide the train between walls of the 'track'.

Bioremediation bacteria used for digesting hydrocarbon soil contaminants have been produced by genetic engineering in the US. And scientists testing them over two years kept track of

them using another inserted gene that made them fluorescent. It is asserted that none escaped from the soil trials at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

A major power station in Lots Road in Chelsea is to be converted into 500 luxury flats overlooking the Thames in a £350M redevelopment scheme.

As much as £2.5bn may be offered by the Government to firms modernising London Underground because fare revenues and borrowings may not match the costs. Modernising costs are expected to be £500M annually for 15 years.

A £20bn airport on the Welsh side of the Severn estuary has been proposed by European Airport Consortium. It would handle 30M passengers each year.

Government could fund schools and hospitals directly without breaking Treasury public spending borrowing constraints, says a report into Private Finance Initiatives by the Institute for Public Policy Research.

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