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World News

E&T's pick of engineering news from around the world

  1. 8 June China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest consumer of energy, a report by BP said. China moved to the top in 2010 with 20.3 per cent of global demand, ahead of the US at 19 per cent.
  2. 9 June The UK government announced it is cutting incentives for new larger scale solar projects. Ministers have said they are concerned about commercial "solar farms" benefiting from feed-in tariffs designed to boost small-scale renewable energy, with more planning applications for large scale schemes submitted than expected. Energy and climate change minister Greg Barker said the move to reduce the subsidies was needed to prevent the system becoming "overwhelmed".
  3. 21 June BP reaches an out-of-court settlement with one of the companies it contracted for work on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The deal sees Weatherford pay BP $75m.
  4. 21 June The Paris Airshow kicked off in June with a large volume of sales, underscoring the recovery in commercial aerospace. European company Airbus dominated orders for single-aisle planes and won $14.4bn of custom while US rival Boeing took $9.3bn. Experts predicted that narrow-body planes, the backbone of the fast-growing budget airline market, would be a key battleground for orders between the two planemakers.
  5. 23 June The Netherlands becomes the first country in Europe to enshrine net neutrality in law by legislating open access for the Internet. A new law was passed banning telecommunications providers from blocking or charging customers extra for VoIP services such as Skype and other Web-based services like WhatsApp on smartphones. The Dutch legislation also included stricter regulations on the use of cookies in websites, which collect data about users to be used for focused online advertising.
  6. 27 June Rogue hacking group Lulzsec announced they were disbanding, after gaining widespread notoriety for attacking Sony, the CIA and British police unit SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency). The hackers said they had accomplished their mission to disrupt business and government bodies, after one last data dump including internal AOL and AT&T documents. Their dissolution came after Essex teenager Ryan Cleary, suspected to be connected to the group, was charged with a series of hack attacks.
  7. 29 June Google makes its boldest move to take on Facebook after introducing a new social network called Google+. Google's new social network is similar to Facebook – with profile and newsfeeds forming a central core. However, a user's friends or contacts are grouped into very specific circles of their choosing, versus the common pool of friends typical on Facebook.
  8. 29 June Japan hoped to get the green light to restart the first of its 35 nuclear reactors shut since the March earthquake and tsunami. The reactors have been shut for maintenance or kept idle since the earthquake triggered the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis. Tokyo hoped to win approval from local authorities to restart Kyushu Electric Power's 36-year-old plant in the town of Genkai by mid-July.
  9. 30 June EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger urged Germany to time its exit from nuclear power with the rest of Europe. Germany permanently shut down eight nuclear plants after the Japan Fukushima disaster and now plans to close the remaining nine reactors over the next 11 years. Oettinger said it was important to carefully time the shutdown to ensure stable energy provision.
  10. 1 July Russia may look to export nuclear power to Germany from a new generation of nuclear plants, Russia's country's atomic agency told a German newspaper. Rosatom deputy director general Kirill Komarov told the newspaper, a day after Berlin confirmed plans to stop using atomic power by 2022, that Russia could sell capacity from reactors in Kaliningrad on to the European Union.
  11. 4 July Japanese scientists announced they had discovered deposits of around 80 to 100 billion tonnes of rare earth metals in the Pacific Ocean. The deposits are in international waters in an area stretching east and west of Hawaii, as well as east of Tahiti in French Polynesia, and the researchers said they could be readily extracted from the Pacific floor. A chronic shortage of rare earths, crucial for making high-tech electronics, has encouraged mining projects in recent years.
  12. 5 July Bombardier is cutting more than 1,400 jobs in the UK after losing out to Germany group Siemens for supplying the Thameslink cross-London railway. The train maker said it would cut the jobs at its plant in Derby as a result of missing out on the contract and the completion of its current workload.

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