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In the papers - Tuesday 19 February 2008

Commodity prices were on another high last night after a 65% increase in iron ore costs was agreed by top steel makers...

...The ground-breaking iron ore contract was won by Vale of Brazil after tough negotiations with Japanese and Korean steel companies including Nippon, Sumitomo and Posco - The Guardian

Universities are in more debt than at any point in the past decade despite raising billions of pounds through tuition fees, the Guardian has learned. Institutions are borrowing millions to meet ambitious plans to upgrade their campuses, with students demanding better facilities because they pay fees, university finance leaders said - The Guardian

Work on giving the Forth Bridge its last coat of paint for at least 20 to 30 years is being accelerated, Balfour Beatty the engineering group, has promised to try and complete the most famous painting job in Britain by 2012 and finally consign the famous bon mot "like painting the Forth Bridge" to history. The 118-year old 1.5 mile long bridge with its gigantic 1,700 foot girder spans has a unique status – as a feat of Victorian engineering feat and its reputation as a structure where painters and paintbrushes set to work again as soon as they had finished a five year task - Daily Telegraph

Balfour Beatty yesterday set 2012 as the date for the completion of the painting of the Forth Rail Bridge. The engineering group has been blasting off layers of paint from the bridge since 2002 and replacing them with a special coating designed to last 30 years - The Independent

The investment group 3i Infrastructure admitted yesterday it is behind a takeover approach for the UK wind-farm developer Novera. Novera said on Friday it had received a takeover approach that may lead to a cash offer at 90p a share, or £112m - The Independent

Evidence on how to make the £40bn-a-year market in outsourced government services work better is being sought by a government inquiry into the scale, scope and potential for growth in the private supply of public services - Financial Times

Moves to extend the rights to ask for flexible working to millions more parents could risk alienating employers, causing them to refuse all requests for part-time work, John Hutton, business secretary, will warn today - Financial Times

Executives at Halliburton, the US oil industry services company, and Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil group, will be called to give evidence to Brazilian police this week following the theft of computer equipment containing secret information on recent discoveries of potentially enormous oil and natural gas deposits - Financial Times

The price of steel is set to rise after Asian and European producers agreed to pay up to 71% more for iron ore in term-contract rates beginning on April 1 - the second largest annual increase - Financial Times

The price of cars fridges and buildings will rise this year after steel makers agreed a dramatic increase in the price of their raw materials - The Times

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