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World News

A round-up of this month's news from around the world

21 March

Russia’s nuclear chief Sergei Kiriyenko said there could be a deal with Delhi to build two nuclear reactors in the near future. Russia’s ability to restart long-delayed work at India’s Kudankulam nuclear plant had paved the way for a new deal, he said. “The resolution of the political dispute over the first two reactors paves the road to sign the agreement on the third and fourth [nuclear] generators.”

22 March

The IET said the government must introduce a proper strategy for solving crucial transport issues. A holistic approach was needed instead of looking at roads, rail and other areas separately, it said. The warning came after UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced in the Budget that a national road strategy would be developed.

23 March

Brazil oil regulator ANP said that an oil spill off the coast of Rio de Janeiro last November was not due to negligence by Chevron or drill-rig operator Transocean. The Chevron spill of 2,400 to 3,000 barrels at the Frade oilfield never reached beaches and was quickly controlled. An ANP official said that the accident was caused by mistakes and project errors, but the agency report would not use the word “negligence”.

3 April

Microsoft decided to close its European software distribution centre in Germany and relocate to the Netherlands after patent disputes with Motorola Mobility. The move came ahead of a German court decision on a lawsuit brought by Motorola against Microsoft for allegedly infringing a video technology patent, where the worst case scenario could see Microsoft being banned from distributing some of its biggest products such as Windows 7 from Germany.

4 April

Strong winds delayed engineers being able to inspect a gas leak at Total’s Elgin platform. The leak was reported on 25 March and forced the evacuation of all 238 workers from the platform. The team of engineers consisted of staff from Total and US specialist company Wild Well Control. Relief efforts were pushed back to later in the week after the engineers were not able to reach the platform because strong winds were blowing the gas cloud towards where a helicopter would land, a spokesman for Total said.

10 April

Facebook is to buy photo-sharing application Instagram for $1bn. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it was an “important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users”. The deal is expected to close this quarter.

12 April

Sony is to cut 10,000 jobs, which amounts to about 6 per cent of its global workforce. Sony chief executive and president Kazuo Hirai said Sony would turn around its TV business, which has lost money for eight years, by March 2014. Sony would also expand its business in emerging markets and medical equipment.

13 April

North Korea confirmed its long-range rocket launch had failed, crashing into the sea between the Korean peninsula and China after flying for just a few minutes covering a little over 100km. The controversial launch was in breach of United Nations sanctions and had drawn international condemnation as well as threats to tighten sanctions aimed to stop North Korea developing nuclear weapons.

13 April

Japan gave the go-ahead for two idled nuclear reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui prefecture to be restarted. The two units, operated by Kansai Electric Power Co, were the first to be declared safe to restart since the Fukushima crisis last year. Government ministers agreed the restart was necessary to avoid power shortages in the summer.

16 April

Australian airline Qantas announced it would investigate the potential for producing biofuel for aviation after operating the country’s first flight between Sydney and Adelaide powered by a fuel derived from recycled cooking oil. Shell will provide technical support to the feasibility study, which Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said would explore the conditions needed for a sustainable aviation biofuel industry.

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