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World News

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

  1. 19 January: Wikipedia’s 24-hour blackout of its English-language content site was hailed a success by its founders. The blackout was organised as a protest against two Bills aimed at stopping copyright infringement working their way through the US government.
  2. 20 January: General Motors regained its title as the world’s top-selling automaker from Toyota in 2011. GM said it sold 9.026 million vehicles globally last year, up 7.6 per cent from 2010, with its Chevrolet brand setting a sales record of 4.76 million vehicles.
  3. 23 January: Research In Motion’s new leader Thorsten Heins said the BlackBerry maker did not need seismic change. Heins, who took over as CEO after former co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie bowed to investor pressure and resigned, said he would focus on a consumer push and a smooth delivery of its products, rather than allowing a churn of innovations to disrupt the rollout, as in the past.
  4. 25 January: Apple posted record quarterly results after it sold 37 million iPhones worldwide in the last three months of 2011. iPhone sales more than doubled in the 14 weeks to December 31, which included the launch of the latest model the iPhone 4S, and helped Apple’s net profit more than double to $13.06bn.
  5. 3 February: EU regulators wrote to Google asking the company to halt the introduction of its new privacy policy, as they said they needed to examine Google’s plans more thoroughly before the search group’s policy came into effect on March 1. In January, Google said it was simplifying its privacy regulations, consolidating 60 guidelines into a single policy that will function across all its services, including YouTube, Gmail, and Google+.
  6. 3 February: Anonymous hackers posted a protest against Greece’s EU and IMF-inspired austerity policies on the country’s justice ministry website. “You have joined the IMF against your people’s acquiescence... democracy was given birth in your country but you have killed it,” said a two-minute video in English posted on the website, which said it was from Anonymous.
  7. 6 February: Google and Facebook removed content from some Indian domain websites following a court-directive warning them of a crackdown ‘like China’ if they did not take steps to protect religious sensibilities. Google and Facebook are among 21 companies ordered to develop a mechanism to block material considered religiously offensive, after private petitioners took them to court over images deemed offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
  8. 7 February: China said it hoped the EU would pay attention to its concerns about the airline emissions fee scheme. The European Commission says the scheme is needed to tackle growing aviation emissions. China’s Foreign Ministry said the country would “consider taking necessary steps in accordance with the way things develop to protect the rights of our nationals and our companies”. The comments came a day after China banned its airlines from joining the scheme without its permission.
  9. 9 February: The European Aviation Safety Agency ordered the entire global fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos to be checked for cracks inside the wings. The EASA first ordered “a detailed visual inspection” of a third of the planes last month, but has now extended the checks to the entire fleet of 68, currently flying with seven different airlines.
  10. 9 February: The UK government confirmed it was halving solar subsidies paid to households who install solar panels from March, and announced plans to further cut solar subsidies from July. Campaigners said the proposals would leave the solar industry “dead in a ditch”, putting thousands of jobs at risk. Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “We are proposing a more predictable and transparent scheme as the costs of technologies fall.”
  11. 13 February: The European Space Agency’s new light launch vehicle, Vega, successfully performed its first flight. Vega lifted off at 10:00 GMT from a new launch pad at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Designed to provide Europe with a competitive and efficient launch capacity for scientific and Earth observation payloads, Vega is compatible with payload masses ranging from 300kg to 2500kg, depending on the type and altitude of the orbit required by the customers.

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