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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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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform