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Civil Engineering in the news today - Monday 19 January

Inquiries by maths experts about teacher training places have soared as the credit crunch has tightened, official data shows...

...By early January, almost 2,000 people interested in becoming, and eligible to train as maths teachers had made inquiries about starting courses this autumn, an increase in 40% compared to last year - Financial Times

Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister, and Yuliya Tymoshenko, his Ukrainian counterpart, struck a deal yesterday to end the gas war that cut supplies across Eastern Europe. They agreed the price that Ukraine will pay for Russian gas this year, but details must still be settled before the contract is signed today - The Times

Plans to strengthen the security of Britain's energy supplies by building more gas storage facilities are being threatened by the collapsing demand for salt in the chemicals industry. Two of Britain's largest gas storage projects are being built at saltmines in Cheshire close to a site at Runcorn where Ineos, Britain's largest private company, produces plastics and chemicals - The Times

Concerns for the financial health of the rail industry were mounting last night after figures confirmed a sharp slowdown in passenger growth. They came as the chief executives of the five largest public transport groups - Stagecoach, National Express, Go Ahead, Arriva and FirstGroup - prepare for a summit with transport secretary Geoff Hoon tomorrow, where the economic downturn will be on the agenda - The Guardian

Building materials group Wolseley is exploring a possible fundraising of up to £400m to reduce its £2.7bn debt, it was reported yesterday. It could raise money through a rights issue or a placement of shares with a private equity group - The Guardian

BAA is braced for offers well short of £2bn when at least five bidders meet today's deadline for first round bids for Gatwick Airport. The UK airports operator, which has put the Sussex airport up for sale before it was forced to dispose of it by the Competition Commission, is hoping to fetch at least £2bn for Gatwick - The Daily Telegraph

The number of planning applications being submitted to local authorities has fallen by up to 60% over the last year, according to a survey by the Planning Officers Society. The data, derived from snap-shot surveys of specific time periods in 2008 and 2007, show authorities such as Rushmoor Borough, which includes Farnborough and Aldershot in Hampshire, and New Forest have seen new planning applications fall by between 40% and 60% - The Daily Telegraph

More companies could be driven out of business if investors, trustees and regulators overreact to rocketing pension fund deficits, the CBI employers’ organisation warned on Sunday. Tumbling stock markets in the wake of the credit crunch saw deficits in final salary pension schemes hit by more than £200bn in December - Financial Times

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