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Civil engineering in the news - Friday 2 January

From today, residents of the capital will feel the most direct impact yet of Boris Johnson becoming their mayor. As recession clouds gather, the rise in public transport fares he announced in September will come into effect, increasing the price of journeys by 6% overall - higher than the rate of inflation...

In November the first Transport for London (TfL) business plan published under Johnson announced a "new approach of realism" towards infrastructure projects, with several schemes being mothballed and jobs being cut to concentrate funds on long-term projects such as Crossrail, underground upgrades and preparations for the 2012 Olympics. Opponents, though, accuse him of inconsistency and not doing enough to help the poorer parts of the capital. Some of the infrastructure projects were seen as vital to regeneration while the fares rise will hit the lowest-paid hardest - The Guardian

Europe and America urged a rapid solution to Russia and Ukraine's new "gas war" last night amid fears that supplies to European client countries could be affected. Russia cut deliveries to neighbouring Ukraine early yesterday, the culmination of a long dispute over unpaid bills and prices for this year's supply. Ukrainian gas officials were swiftly dispatched to Moscow to try to keep negotiations alive after Russia's Gazprom monopoly reduced pressure in the pipeline network, which also carries about 80% of Russian gas consumed by other countries in Europe - The Guardian

There were growing fears in Israel last night that Hamas missiles could threaten its top-secret nuclear facility at Dimona. Rocket attacks from Gaza have forced Israelis to flee in ever greater numbers and military chiefs have been shaken by the size and sophistication of the militant group’s arsenal - The Times

Thai officials have slammed the lack of emergency exits and sprinkler systems in the Santika nightclub in Bangkok where as many as 60 party-goers lost their lives in the early hours of the New Year. The Thai press reported the club had only one fire extinguisher to cover three floors and as many as 1,000 revellers - The Times

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