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Up to 5,000 people are feared dead in northern Afghanistan after an earthquake measuring six on the Richter Scale struck earlier this week. Aftershocks in the region have hampered relief efforts by emergency aid agencies.

The Treasury this week announced tax breaks for research and development.

Airport operator BAA has won planning permission for extension of Heathrow Express and the Piccadilly Line Tube links to Heathrow Terminal 5.

Two seven year Managing Agent Contractor (MAC) trunk road maintenance contracts were awarded by the Highways Agency this week. Optima Infrastructure Management - a joint venture between WS Atkins and Accord Jarvis won the £25M Area 11 MAC for Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. The AMScott joint venture between Alfred McAlpine Asset Management Services and Scott Wilson has won the £20-25M Area 7 MAC covering Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire.

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