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World News

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

  1. 13 December: Scientists at the CERN physics research centre said they had found signs of the Higgs boson particle, although they admitted they had found no conclusive proof of its existence. The researchers revealed the findings of the ALTAS and CMS experiments at the CERN centre near Geneva, where the Large Hadron Collider has been used to find traces of the elusive particle.
  2. 13 December: Canada announced it was withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, becoming the first country to pull out of the climate-change treaty. Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, which has close ties to the energy sector, said the treaty could penalise Canada by $14bn for not cutting emissions to the required amount by 2012.
  3. 16 December: India announced it would activate the first two reactors at the Russian-built Kudankulam nuclear plant. The power station in Tamil Nadu is one of many power projects planned to respond to huge electricity shortages, although it has faced local protest after the Japan Fukushima disaster in March.
  4. 23 December: An oil spill from a Royal Dutch Shell facility about 120km off the coast of Nigeria was the biggest spill in the country for more than 13 years. Shell said the spill, where under 40,000 barrels of oil had leaked into the ocean, had happened while a tanker was loading oil, leading to the complete shutdown of the company’s 200,000 barrel per day Bonga facility.
  5. 3 January: BP said it was suing contractor Halliburton to recover all costs and expenses for the clean-up of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Contractor Halliburton cemented the failed Macondo well. BP did not specify an amount and it was not clear how the latest suit differed from a previous one brought last year.
  6. 6 January: A Saudi-based computer hacker published details of thousands of active Israeli credit cards for the second time in a week. The hacker, who identified himself as OxOmar and a member of a Saudi Arabian hacking team, leaked around 14,000 credit card numbers in the first attack and 11,000 in the second.
  7. 6 January: Japan’s nuclear reactors will be limited to a 40-year life, with exceptions to the limit being rare, under planned legislation to be submitted to Parliament. The draft plan also makes it mandatory for utilities to prepare for severe nuclear accidents.
  8. 10 January: The UK government approved the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail project. Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced extra tunnelling for sections of the 140-mile route between London and Birmingham in an attempt to appease opponents of the controversial scheme. The link between the UK’s two biggest cities would form phase one of the project, with phase two, taking HS2 to Manchester and Leeds, being completed around 2032/33.
  9. 16 January: Debris from Russian Mars probe, Phobos-Grunt, plummeted into the Pacific Ocean. Pieces of the spacecraft fell into the sea 1,250km west of the coastal island of Wellington, Chile, media reported. Phobos-Grunt never made it out of Earth’s orbit after its launch on 9 November last year.

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