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Civil engineering in the news - Thursday 11 December

The recession in the industrialised world will be longer and deeper than forecast so far and could spread to emerging economies such as China and India, both the OECD and the European commission warned yesterday...

...Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, OECD chief economist, and Marco Buti, EC director general of economic affairs, both indicated that the projected recovery may be postponed until later in 2010 - The Guardian

The £12M defences of the most heavily guarded power station in Britain have been breached by a single person who, under the eyes of CCTV cameras, climbed two 3m razor-wired, electrified security fences, walked into the station and crashed a giant 500MW turbine before leaving a calling card reading "no new coal". He walked out the same way and hopped back over the fence. All power from the coal and oil-powered Kingsnorth station in Kent was halted for four hours, in which time it is thought the mystery saboteur's actions reduced UK climate change emissions by 2%. Enough electricity to power a city the size of Bristol was lost - The Guardian

European leaders gather in Brussels today for a crunch summit, acutely divided over how to deliver on pledges to combat global warming almost two years after declaring they would show the rest of the world how to tackle climate change. The EU is split between the poorer east and the wealthy west. Germany says that most of their industries need not pay to pollute, Italy says it cannot afford the ambitious scheme, and Britain says that the package on the table could result in huge windfall profits for companies - The Guardian

Individual payments of up to £1M have been handed out from the public purse as a "golden goodbye" to directors at the loss-making nuclear holding group BNFL, according to the latest set of accounts. David Bonser, executive director for human resources and a key figure in the development of BNFL's troubled Thorp reprocessing plant, received £1,046,350 compensation for ending his employment last month. That was on top of an annual salary and bonuses worth £577,112 for the 12 months to March 31, 2008 - The Guardian

Jaques Gounon, chief executive of Eurotunnel, the operator of the rail link, said yesterday he was confident that full services, which include Eurostar passenger trains, would resume from mid-February after the completion of the repairs, which are expected to cost €60M (£53M) - Financial Times

The economy is deteriorating even faster than the Treasury forecast as recently as two weeks ago, prompting fears the public finances will slide even deeper into the red in the coming years. The outlook is so worrying that the Treasury has joined the Bank of England in considering how to operate both monetary and fiscal policy, should the Bank's benchmark rate fall to zero - Financial Times

The £12bn plan to centralise the military's training programme has suffered another setback following the withdrawl of property company Land Securities from the consortium picked to take forward the project at the beginning of last year - Financial Times

The future of road pricing is in the balance, with towns and cities across Britain awaiting the result of Manchester's referendum tomorrow before deciding whether to press ahead with pay-as-you-drive schemes. The level of response to the postal only vote in areas of the city where congestion charging is unpopular, such as Trafford and Thameside, has alarmed supporters of the scheme - The Times

The Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France will reopen completely on February 15, when work to repair damage from a fire is completed, according to Jacques Gounon, the Eurotunnel chief executive. The rail link has been partially closed since the incident on September 11, with overall operating losses estimated at £96M, he said - The Times

Laing O'Rourke, the huge construction company, faces a potential winding-up order in the Irish courts after a clash with John Magnier, The Times has learnt. Mr Magnier, the Republic's seventh richest man, is considering requesting a "cease trade" order after Laing O'Rourke failed to pay £3 million awarded to him in a court ruling last week - The Times

Corus is in negotiations with unions over a temporary 10% pay cut for its 25,000 UK employees as the troubled Anglo-Dutch subsidiary of Tata, the Indian steel group, campaigns for state support from the Government. It is hoped that a pay cut of 10 per cent for six months - currently being discussed with union leaders fromCommunity, Unite and GMB - would be enough to prevent the closure of one of the company's factories in Newport, Wales - The Times

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