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Civil Engineering in the papers today - Monday 8 December 2008

Barack Obama yesterday spelt out his plans for the biggest infrastructure investment in the US for half a century...
...The President-elect argued that with the economy reeling, his incoming administration could not afford to worry about a spiralling budget deficit - Financial Times

Barack Obama warned Americans yesterday that the US economic crisis will deepen next year, as he revealed the first details of a massive stimulus package that could ultimately exceed $1 trillion. The President-elect, giving the most extensive interview since winning the election a month ago, spoke the day after he announced the biggest public works construction programme since Dwight Eisenhower created the interstate highway system half a century ago - The Times

News that growing cracks have been observed in the pillars of the Brandenburg Gate has caused alarm in the German capital. The classical columns, which are synonymous with the ecstatic scenes of reunion after the Berlin wall was dismantled in 1989, are thought to have cracked under the strain of nearby construction work and because of shoddy restoration work carried out on it six years ago - The Guardian

More than half of councils are not prepared for the kind of floods that devastated thousands of homes last year, town hall chiefs admit. About 17,000 families were forced out of their houses by flooding in 2007. Since then, millions of pounds have been pumped into flood prevention. But a survey by the Local Government Association found that councils do not have enough funds to protect communities - Daily Telegraph

The slump in the commercial property market will be worse than the downturns of the 1990s and 1970s, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors - Financial Times

The value of UK commercial property will have more than halved by the end of the decade as rental demand continues to wane, according to a report out today. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors predicts that the commercial property market will see a fall of at least 16% in capital values in 2009 and up to 10% in 2010 - The Guardian

Small business leaders will warn ministers and banks today that large numbers of their members are thinking of throwing in the towel because of the economic downturn and the struggle to get better credit terms - Daily Telegraph

The UK and Germany are being pressed to agree a bigger subsidy to eastern European countries as France makes a last-minute effort to rescue an ambitious climate agreement - Financial Times

Traditional subjects such as history, geography and religious studies will be removed from the primary school curriculum and merged into a “human, social and environmental” learning programme as part of a series of radical education reforms. Under the plans, information technology classes would be given as much prominence as literacy and numeracy, and foreign languages would be taught in tandem with English - The Times

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