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In the papers today - 11 December

Engineering group Amec is expected to write off more than £100m from its books as part of a strategic review this week that it hopes will help turn the company round.
The write-off will be Amec's third, and its scale is likely to shock the City. It will also put pressure on the company as it is being stalked by US private equity firms Texas Pacific and First Reserve - The Daily Telegraph Tata Steel, the Indian company that launched a bid for Corus in October, dramatically raised its offer for the Anglo-Dutch steel group last night. Corus and Tata issued a joint announcement revealing Tata has agreed to pay 500p a share for Corus, a significant increase on its previous offer of 455p - The Independent More than 3,500 Australian firemen battled the worst bushfires in 70 years in Victoria yesterday as the state experienced its hottest December day in more than half a century. Soaring temperatures, strong winds and the worst drought on record created 'nightmare conditions' for towns across the state, with fears that there could be fatalities unless the blazes are brought under control - The Daily Telegraph The revival of coal as part of the energy mix will be underscored today with the unveiling of a proposal for the first coal-fired power station to be built in the UK since long before the bitter 1984-85 miners' strike. Eon, the German owner of Powergen, the energy supplier, will say it has submitted a planning application for a 1,600MW coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent, the site of an existing coal plant. The new plant would cost at least £1bn to build and would be ready to start generating power when the old Kingsnorth plant closes down, in about 2015 - The Financial Times A British astronaut was celebrating his first day in space yesterday after a spectacular shuttle launch that turned the Florida night sky to day and sealed a new dawn for Nasa. Nicholas Patrick and six crewmates streaked into orbit at 17,500mph after dismal weather conditions suddenly cleared over Cape Canaveral to allow Nasa's first night-time launch in four years - The Times A British defence minister arrives in Washington today in an attempt to save a collaborative deal with the Americans on the £140 billion Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive military programme in history. The visit by Lord Drayson, the Minister for Defence Procurement, comes before a looming December 31 deadline for Britain to sign up for the next stage of the proposed new jet aircraft's development- The Times

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