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In the papers - Tuesday, 13 May 2008

A shortage of skilled workers is jeopardising ambitious ministerial targets...

... to build millions of homes, revamp schools and deliver on time Olympics' facilities, the Chartered Institute of Building has warned - Financial Times

The prospect of Britain's first national rail strike in 14 years was raised yesterday as the industry's biggest union announced a ballot of 17,000 workers. Such a strike would cripple train services across the country and could be called during half term week, possible affecting the holiday plans of thousands of families – The Daily Telegraph

Estate agents reported most widespread decline in house prices in more than 30 years yesterday. More than eight in 10 have experienced a drop in prices this year, with only one per cent reporting a rise, a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey found – The Daily Telegraph

The concentration of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has reached its highest level, according to researchers in America. Figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show CO2 levels of 387 parts per million – The Daily Telegraph

Britain is basking in the warmest May since records began in 1772 with temperatures on the south coast soaring over 80F (27C) yesterday. The average temperature from May 1 to 10 was the highest noted since meteorologists started gathering precise daily data – The Daily Telegraph

Plans for new "eco-towns" across the country suffered a setback yesterday when councillors in the home town of Shakespeare unanimously rejected an embarked site. Hundreds of banner-waving protesters gathered outside the meeting in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwicks to voice their disapproval of a proposed settlement for up to 20,000 people at nearby Middle Quinton – The Daily Telegraph

Rescuers struggled this morning to reach victims of the devastating earthquake that killed thousands of people in central China and trapped thousands more in the rubble of collapsed factories. Road rail air and phone links to the epicentre of the 7.8 magnitude shock were cut hampering relief efforts and the flow of information on the scale of the catastrophe – The Guardian

The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere has reached a historic record high according to figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – TheGuardian

Confidence in Britain's housing has sunk to its lowest level for more than 30 years, figures to be published today will reveal, as property prices continue to fall and mortgage lenders restrict home loan finance. The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says that 95 per cent more surveyors reported a fall in house prices in April than a rise, the worst figure it has reported since it began publishing monthly property market surveys in January 1979 - The Independent

From schools and shopping centres to railways and recycling plants, buildings of all shapes and sizes are eligible for the World Architecture Festival Awards, which, with a shortlist of more than 250, will make up the profession's biggest awards programme when it is held in Barcelona in late October. Unlike most architectural honours, which tend to be decided behind closed doors and are therefore hard to enter for anyone without an already well established international reputation, the new award will be open to any building completed since the beginning of 2007 - The Independent

A disasterous harvets of long-stemmed wheat straw for thatching has forced English Heritage to relax its guidelines on traditional materials. Britain has an estimated 60,000 thatched properties, of which about half are listed - The Times

Poor economic figures yesterday revealed inflationary pressures are rising to levels not seen in nearly 20 years and new data due this morning are expected to show important parts of the economy are stagnating - Financial Times

Inflation has replaced unemployment as the most pressing short-term problem facing the oil-rich Gulf economies, which are reaping the benefits of record oil revenues but do not have the tools available to cap rising prices, the IMF warned yesterday - Financial Times

BP has abandoned plans to build a pioneering plant to capture and store carbon dioxide in Australia, the second such project the company has axed - Financial Times

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