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Here are two brief news articles from the 05/24/04 Edition of Civil Connection:

Cement Market

Supply shortages in certain geographic locations -- Southwest Florida, parts of the West, and Texas in particular -- are slowing construction projects that require large amounts of concrete. Supplies of imported cement have tightened. This is likely because of increased development in cement-producing nations, such as China and Thailand, which means they're keeping more of their cement at home. Some in the industry also have cited shipping as a source of the problem. As is inevitable in a shortage, the price of cement has risen sharply as supply has dwindled. Bob Albano, vice president of the Nevada region for Florida-based Rinker Materials told the Las Vegas Business Press: "I've been in this business for twenty-seven years and I have never seen anything like this. We've had three announced [price] increases from January to the summer and freight increases on top of that. These were significant increases. Several of our competitors ran out and we are on an allocation, day-to day." If the shortage isn't alleviated, it could impact the pace of construction this summer throughout the United States. However, some are predicting that the shortage could last a year.

Iraq's New Leader is a Civil Engineer 

A civil engineer has been sworn in as the new president of Iraq's provisional government. Ghazi Mashal Ajil al-Yawar accepted the challenging position last week to lead the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council following the murder of his predecessor Izzedine Salim.

Al-Yawar was scheduled to take over the rotating role of president of the council on June 1, but Salim was killed on May 17 during a suicide bomb attack outside the Coalition Provisional Authority's headquarters in Baghdad. The blast killed seven Iraqis and wounded five Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers.

"We will not retreat from the march to which [Salim] devoted all of his life, the march toward freedom for our people, the march toward building a democratic and unified Iraq," al-Yawar told reporters in Iraq. The new president will lead the Iraqi Governing Council until the scheduled handover of his country's leadership to an interim government at the end of June.