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London First is a body set up about 20 years ago by the London business community to promote the city as a place to do business and to lobby for the improvements – particularly to infrastructure – which everyone knows we urgently need but which government seems incapable of planning for.

Basketball: Handy intervention foils brave Chester

THE UNDERDOGS nearly had their day at Birmingham's NEC yesterday where the Uni-ball Trophy holders, Manchester Giants, came back from 12 points down in the fourth quarter to defeat Chester Jets 83-82 and reach the semi-finals.

The Sweeper: Song Sheet

Addicks fans sing Wings

Nuclear waste fed into Thames stream

BRITAIN'S nuclear weapons facility was fined pounds 17,500 yesterday after admitting that for almost two years until February this year it illegally discharged radioactive waste into a stream feeding the Thames.

Thames is `unsafe for millennium party' claim

FEARS HAVE been raised about safety on the Thames in London, ahead of millennium celebrations in which the river will play a central role.

Thames Water expands into America with pounds 575m agreed takeover of E'town

THAMES WATER rejected yesterday suggestions that it was overpaying in its haste to expand internationally after unveiling an agreed pounds 575m takeover of the fourth biggest publicly-owned water company in the US.

Outlook: Thames flows west in search of regulatory relief

WELCOME TO Soprano country. The New Jersey mafioso must have seen the limeys coming; Thames Water has agreed to cough up big time without a severed horse's head even in sight. That at least was the interpretation the market placed upon Thames' decision to fork out a whopping pounds 577m for E'town - no, lamentably not another Internet venture but America's fourth biggest publicly-quoted water company.

Letter: Care on the streets

Sir: Deborah Orr's article "If you're on the street, you need more than soup" (16 November) makes some pertinent points about the way in which voluntary agencies work with the homeless and I strongly support her view that hostels have to find ways of accommodating the most difficult of people, including drug users who are unable or unwilling to stop using. She is also quite right to point out that giving food and money to people on the streets is not a long-term solution to ending rough sleeping in this country.

Marchioness families furious over Prescott's `broken promise'

SURVIVORS AND families of victims of the Marchioness disaster yesterday renewed their 10-year fight for a public inquiry, saying they had been misled by the Government.

Go-Ahead may be stripped of Thames Train franchise

SENIOR RAIL industry executives believe it is increasingly likely that the bus and rail group Go-Ahead will be stripped of its Thames Train franchise following the Paddington disaster last month in which 31 people died.

Basketball: Ford claim will spur on Riders

DERBY STORM have some way to go before justifying the claim of their coach, Martin Ford, that they are the "best team in the championship", but his words will have pride of place in the Leicester City Riders' locker room before tonight's game.

Investment column: Thames Water still offers value despite short- term profits ebb

IT WOULD hardly strengthen Thames Water's appeal to Sir Ian Byatt, the water regulator, to post stellar financial results just three weeks ahead of the completion of his review into the industry.

Dead man thought racism was `routine', inquest told

ONE of the last people to see a young Asian student alive told his inquest yesterday that his friend had not taken a violent racist attack seriously because it was nothing out of the ordinary.

Basketball: Towers hit by licence crisis

LONDON TOWERS' plans for the new season were thrown into disarray last night when the Basketball League issued temporary licences for only nine players out of their squad of 12, after discussions failed to resolve the conflict over how many of their players can be fitted under the salary cap.

Millennium Wheel may not be able to stand upright on New Year's Eve

THE MILLENNIUM Wheel, one of the showpieces of the capital's celebrations, may not be ready for its 31 December deadline.

Millennium wheel delay

London's 450ft millennium ferris wheel will be erected on the banks of the Thames at least 12 days late. Engineers are trying to solve a fault that stopped it being raised last week.
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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?