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Wolseley is planning to launch a long-awaited £1bn ($1.4bn) rights issue as soon as the end of the week in an attempt by the company to dig its way out from under its £3bn debt pile.

Wolseley close to launching £1bn rights issue

David Fickling

Surveyors for Nationwide Building Society have been pushing down their valuations of new-build houses, according to an internal document seen by the Financial Times.

Nationwide cut new build valuations

The governor of Florida would go to court to guarantee his right to permit offshore oil exploration around Florida’s coasts.

Florida to get tough over oil drilling ban

Senior Conservative MPs are urging David Cameron to push for the licensing of legal opium farming in Afghanistan as he pays a surprise visit to the country today.

Back Afghan opium legalization, Tories urge

Two children who escaped from an Australian detention centre will today bring unprecedented legal action before the British courts.

Detention centre boys sue Straw

Tininge's tents and palm-frond shelters are home to hundreds of refugees from the Pacific's most brutal and enduring conflict.

Solomons refugees tell of atrocities

East Timor risks becoming "another Haiti" because of an attempt by Australia to exploit offshore oil and gas reserves between the two countries, according to its president.

Timorese fury at 'immoral oil grab'

The government of the Pacific country of Vanuatu is to appeal to Britain and France for compensation for 19th century "slave voyages" to the sugarcane fields of Queensland and Fiji.

Pacific islands appeal for 'slave voyages' pay

Crest Nicholson will announce a deal with its lenders that will see it exchange £630m ($913m) of net debt for a 90 per cent stake in the company.

Crest Nicholson in debt-for-equity swap

Plans by the government to save money by spinning off work to private sector companies risk being derailed by ballooning public sector pension liabilities, says the UK outsourcing industry.

Pension costs deter outsourcers