The bid for a "Style City" super-casino at the National Exhibition Centre has emerged as a front-runner in an independent inquiry commissioned by the Government. Blackpool, seen as favourite to win the competition for a regional super-casino, was ruled out of the race because it does not have enough space.

The conclusions are in a report from planning consultancy Roger Tym & Partners for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, although Government officials insisted no decisions had been made about where the super-casino will go. The report says the planned number of casinos could be increased but also warns of associated problems, including crime, and "dramatic and negative" effects which might be irreversible in some areas.

CBI director general Sir Digby Jones, who is stepping down in the summer, has laid out how Birmingham should be run while insisting he would have no interest in standing for elected mayor. He has also revealed he is writing what is likely to prove an explosive book about his time at the head of one of Britain's top business organisations.

Despite rubbing shoulders with some of the world's leading politicians and gaining the respect of both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, Sir Digby said he had no ambition to go into party politics. There has been much speculation that Birmingham could eventually follow London and others down the route of an elected mayor.

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We're living in the fourth richest nation on Earth. Our quality of life has never been better. Wages are higher. Unemployment lower. But are we happy?

Apparently not. Surveys show over the last half a century there has been a significant increase in depression. Crime - an important indicator of social dissatisfaction - has risen. Divorce rates are higher, trust in others has fallen, and most people believe behaviour among the young has got worse. So what's the problem?

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Hardy Eustace will bid to join the racing greats at Cheltenham today when he goes for glory in the Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle.

Only Hatton's Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then and Istabraq have managed three triumphs in the blue riband and Dessie Hughes' star is a 6-1 chance to join that elite group. In attempting his fourth successive victory at the Festival - he also won the Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle in 2003 - he will be sporting a visor for the first time.