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Civil Engineering in the paper today - Wednesday 7 January 2008

British engineers are preparing to harness the giant pressures found inside the hundreds of gas pipelines that criss-cross the country to generate clean electricity. . . .

Work to place small turbines inside the gas network will start later this year at Beckton, east London - The Guardian

Plans to surround a Rio de Janeiro slum with a 650-metre-long concrete barrier have been criticised by environmentalists and human rights activists. Brazilian authorities say the R$1m (£300,000) "ecobarrier", which will encircle part of the Dona Marta slum, is intended to protect the nearby Atlantic rainforest from illegal occupation as well as to improve security and living conditions for slum residents - The Guardian

The Department of Transport is secretly running an empty bus across London to exploit a legal loophole after closing several sections of railway - The Times

President Bush is to create the world's largest marine protection area in the Pacific Ocean. Mining and commercial fishing will be banned across 195,000 square miles that includes three "marine monuments": the Mariana Trench, the deepest on the planet, Rose Atoll in American Samoa and seven islands strung along the Equator in the central Pacific - The Times

Drivers of "gas guzzling" cars face higher on-street parking charges under council plans. Motorists with four-wheel drives and other highly polluting vehicles will pay up to £1.90 an hour to park at a meter - The Daily Telegraph

The main long-distance passenger train operator on the London-Glasgow west coast main line is demanding assurances on the reliability of track, overhead lines and signalling after its services were disrupted by a second day of failures. Virgin Trains yesterday held an urgent meeting with Network Rail, which owns the infrastructure, to voice its concerns, which follow the near-completion of a £9bn upgrade of the route - The Financial Times

The US Treasury department yesterday banned any Americans from taking part in a construction project in Beirut, accussing Hizbollah of using the project to raise funds for terrorism. The $370m (£248m) Waad (Promise) Project is centred around rebuilding the suburb of Dahiyeh, a Hizbollah stronghold that was devastated during the 2006 war with Israel - The Financial Times

THE Welsh Assembly Government is preparing to give financial support for a £1bn project to tackle an impending landfill crisis in South Wales. Five South Wales local authorities have been lobbying Cardiff Bay ministers for months in an increasingly bitter battle over the costly scheme to incinerate the region’s rubbish, which they argue has become crucial as tips run out of space. The councils – Cardiff, Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan – have argued that in England the costs could have been met through direct financial support and PFI credits provided by the Westminster Government - Western Mail

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