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Civil Engineering in the news today - Friday 13 February

Gordon Brown is set to take the unprecedented step of using taxpayers' money to fund big private finance deals in order to accelerate building plans stalled by the credit crunch....

...Taxpayers’ cash is to be injected into big PFI deals such as the M25 motorway widening project in a bid to get such multi-million-pound deals off the ground in the face of the banks’ reluctance to lend - Financial Times

Lord Foster, Britain's most successful architect of recent times, is to lay off almost 350 employees as his global design empire feels the bite of the economic downturn. The designer behind the Swiss Re "gherkin" skyscraper in London, the world's largest airport at Beijing and plans for the first ever zero-carbon city in Abu Dhabi has abandoned his pledge that his practice would not cut staff - The Guardian

Healthy and profitable European companies will find it hard to refinance their debt over the next two years, putting them in danger of being pushed into administration, because banks are still wary of lending money, restructuring lawyers warned yesterday. Thousands of European companies with about £780 bn of corporate loans due to be refinanced this year may find the doors of their banks shut, forcing them to pay more for their debt, or to raise new equity - The Guardian

The collision between an American communication satellite and a defunct Russian military probe on Tuesday has created an expanding cloud of debris that now threatens several other unmanned spacecraft in nearby orbits, Russian officials said yesterday - The Guardian

New orders in the building industry fell by more than a quarter in the final three months of last year, suggesting a sharp deterioration in business investment that is likely to cut deeply into the UK economy this year. Construction orders were down by 26%, but the fall was even greater when a jump in volatile infrastructure orders was excluded, figures from the Office for National Statistics show - Financial Times

One of the UK's most valuable train orders is likely to go to a Japanese manufacturer after the Department for Transport yesterday named a consortium headed by Hitachi as its preferred bidder to build and maintain new long-distance express trains. The victory of Hitachi's consortium, known as Agility Trains, will come as a bitter disappointment to Bombardier Transportation, which runs the UK's only existing train manufacturing plant, at Litchurch Lane in Derby - Financial Times

All homes in the UK will have near to zero carbon emissions in 40 years, the government pledged on Thursday, under a new draft heat and energy-saving strategy that will require a massive increase in home insulation. Ed Miliband, secretary of state for energy and climate change, said cavity wall and roof insulation would be provided to all properties by 2015, requiring 400,000 households a year to be fitted - Financial Times

India’s dreams of matching China’s double-digit economic growth have dimmed. Six months ago, the country’s industrialists and government ministers appeared confident that a growth trajectory as powerful as China’s was almost in reach. The "Indian century" had arrived; growth rates stubbornly stuck at 3.5% for decades were forgotten - Financial Times

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