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More flats are being built in the UK than detached houses for the first time, according to the National Federation of Builders.

Flats made up 37 per cent of completions in the first quarter of 2003 compared with 27 per cent for individual houses.

Confidence in Britain's construction industry has reached an 18 month low.

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply's Construction Confidence Index dropped from 75.7 in April to 73.3 in May, its lowest point since the immediate aftermath of 11 September 2001.

Latest Home Office figures from its 'designing out crime' initiative, Secured by Design, show that when a company or housing estate implements the project's recommendations the risk of crime is cut by 70 per cent.

The latest installment in JK Rowling's Harry Potter series is set to smash records in the Far East.Book company Pensing Distribution has already taken pre-orders for 150,000 copies of the book in Singapore alone, worth £3 million.

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