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Backstage computer hitches last week led to a mid-performance cancellation at the Royal Opera House where software is straining to move 27 scene-changing wagons (each carry 10 tonnes of scenery) and six stage elevators (each weighing 18 tonnes).

Car production has hit its highest level in 27 years with 1.79 million cars built in the uk last year. But only one-third of the cars were sold in the uk, with the remainder exported.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors is threatening to withdraw accreditation from university courses in surveying unless they lift entry requirements - numbers entering the profession have dropped by an estimated 80 per cent since the late 1980s.

House building in the last three months of 1999 was up 10 per cent on the previous years at 46,200.

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