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Civils in the papers today - Friday 20 March

Architects are joining the ranks of benefit claimants at a faster rate than any other profession, according to a Guardian analysis of figures for the last 12 months…

Other jobs related to the construction industry, including managers, surveyors, engineers, bricklayers, carpenters and scaffolders, also feature prominently among the 20 professions that have seen the biggest increases in benefits claimants - Guardian

The Competition Commission further disrupted the government’s airport expansion programme yesterday by ordering the break-up of BAA in a move that could push back the opening of a second runway at Stansted. The watchdog told Britain’s dominant airport owner to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh. Christopher Clarke, chairman of the inquiry, said the disposal of Stansted could further delay a planning inquiry that has already been put on hold by ministers pending the outcome of the commission’s own report - Guardian

The first of the major projects for the Cultural Olympiad, the slew of arts projects linked to the London Olympic Games in 2012, was launched yesterday. Artists Taking the Lead is a series of 12 commissions planned to come to fruition in 2012. Reaction from artists was mixed for the project, which is funded to the tune of £5.4M by the arts councils of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - Guardian

BAA may appeal against the Competition Commission’s ruling that it must sell both Gatwick and Stansted airports, as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow, within the next two years. In a long anticipated report intended to increase choice for both passengers and airlines, the competition regulator also stipulated that the operator, owned by Spanish group Ferrovial, must sell the airports in sequence, starting with Gatwick, then Stansted, followed by its choice of Scottish airport - Times

UK airports are going through the biggest shake-up in their history. The dismantling of BAA, the world’s biggest airports operator, ordered on Thursday by the Competition Commission, will for the first time put the ownership of the country’s leading airports in different, largely private, hands - Financial Times

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said that if property prices fall by 30 per cent from their peak - as is likely - two million homeowners and 500,000 buy-to-let investors will be in negative equity. This would mean that one in four homeowners with mortgages and half of buy-to-let borrowers may be unable to sell their properties or remortgage until property prices rise - Telegraph

Tajikistan on Thursday started building a railroad to connect its capital Dushanbe to a bridge on the Afghan border, a key link in the projected NATO supply route through the former Soviet Union. The United States plans to transit non-military supplies for its troops by railroad through Russia and ex-Soviet Central Asian states. A formal agreement with Tajikistan, the ultimate link of the new transit path is still to be signed - The Times

The £2.7 billion plan for a new runway and terminal at Stansted will be delayed for several years and may be abandoned, after the Competition Commission decided to force BAA to sell the airport. BAA’s monopoly in southeast England is to be broken up within two years, letting passengers choose between three big airports, each with a different owner. BAA will have to sell Gatwick first, then Stansted and, finally, either Glasgow or Edinburgh, meaning that Scottish passengers will also have more choice. The sales must be completed by March 2011. The Gatwick sale is under way and is scheduled to be completed this summer - The Times

Colleges could go bust after being plunged into debt by a failed government building programme. The Learning and Skills Council approved £3 billion for rebuilding, but has now said the money is no longer available - The Daily Telegraph
BAA may appeal a Competition Commission ruling that will force the company to sell three of its UK airports within two years in what could amount to fire sales. The competition regulator yesterday instigated the biggest ever break-up of a  British company, ordering the airports operator to sell Gatwick, Stansted and either Edinburgh or Glasgow airports in three sequential disposals - The Daily Telegraph

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