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Saddam Hussein's £96 million bunker under one of his Baghdad palaces has three-tonne doors, 4.5m thick walls and 5.4m thick reinforced-concrete ceilings, according to the German security consultant who planned it, Karl Esser. It can house 50 people, has a 180m escape tunnel to the River Tigris and can withstand a Hiroshima-sized nuclear bomb exploding 230m away.

One in five firms plans to sack staff because of this month's rise in National Insurance contributions that will cost business £8 billion.

The British Chambers of Commerce also says 11 per cent of firms have considered leaving the UK because of red tape and tax, believing they hamper productivity.

Foundations expert Roger Bullivant is claiming a world record after boring 36,590m of piles in one week. The Burton-on-Trent-based company hopes the feat will win it a place in the 2004 Guinness Book of Records.

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