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Civil Engineering in the news today - Wednesday 17 December

The US Federal Reserve moved deeper into unchartered waters yesterday, heralding further unconventional measures to support the economy as it slashed interest rates from 1% to virtually zero...

...In a historic statement, the US central bank said it would target a record low interest rate, expressed as a range between zero and 0.25%. It said it expected to keep rates at ultra-low levels "for some time" and vowed to use "all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable growth and to preserve price stability" – Financial Times

The way that the pedestrians walk caused the Millenium Bridge's "wobble", scientists have discovered. The effect of hundreds of people attempting to keep their balance on the crossing ensured that the bridge kept moving, new research shows - The Daily Telegraph

Construction of The Shard, one of London's most striking developments, looks set to go ahead after a sovereign wealth fund agreed to provide the bulk of the funding. Qatari Diar Real Estate is to provide a facility to LBQ Ltd, the Jersey-based holding company behind the development, and take a seat on the board in return - The Daily Telegraph

The value of commercial property loans in breach of their agreed terms more than trebled in six months as rapidly falling real estate prices hit a heavily leveraged sector struggling under almost £208bn of debt – Financial Times

Boris Johnson plans to make almost £1bn of cost savings across the Greater London Authority, Metropolitan Police and Transport for London. The London Mayor will today announce plans for efficiency savings of £103M in 2009-10 and a total of £979M by 2012 when he unveils a 57-point recovery plan - Financial Times

The Eurozone has plunged deeper into recession this month, putting the 15-country region on course to report its worst quarter on record by far, a closely watched survey showed yesterday - Finacial Times

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic is to withhold about £100,000 from the airport operator BAA after last week's runway closure at Gatwick airport. Branson said BAA had been "highly incompetent" when cold weather forced the closure, affecting thousands of Virgin passengers - The Guardian

Britain's busiest train operator has warned it could seek a cut in services if the economic downturn hits demand for travel, amid mounting evidence the rail franchise model is under severe pressure. Keith Ludeman, chief executive of Go-Ahead, said he would consider cutting services on its Southern, Southeastern and London Midland franchises if conditions deteriorated - The Guardian

Sea levels will rise much faster than forecast because of the rate at which glaciers and ice sheets are melting, a study has found. Research commissioned by the US Climate Change Science Program concludes that the rises will substantially exceed recent forecasts - The Times

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