World News

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

10 July

Russia’s version of Wikipedia was closed in a one-day protest against amendments to the country’s information law. It said the amendments could become a “basis for real censorship on the Internet”. Supporters of the amendments say changes are necessary to protect children from harmful sites.

17 July

Security experts Seculert and Kaspersky Lab said they had uncovered a cyber espionage campaign targeting Iran and other Middle Eastern countries. More than 800 victims had been targeted by the operation, which was the first such campaign using communication tools written in Persian, the experts said. Mahdi Trojan lets remote attackers steal files from infected PCs and monitor emails and instant messages.

18 July

The United Arab Emirates gave the go-ahead for construction work to begin on the country’s first nuclear power plant. A consortium of South Korean companies led by Korea Electric Power Corp would build and operate four nuclear 1,400MW reactors, with the first expected to start operating in 2017.

31 July

India was hit by a second day of power cuts. Coal miners were left trapped, train travellers stranded and hospitals were plunged into darkness from the outage, which stretched from Assam, near China, to the Himalayas and north-western deserts of Rajasthan. Power minister Sushilkumar Shinde blamed the system collapse on some states drawing more than their share of electricity from the over-burdened grid.

3 August

The IET’s annual skills survey said businesses were finding it harder to recruit engineers than in 2011. The report, which surveyed 400 organisations in the UK, found there was demand for new recruits but employers were struggling to find staff.

6 August

Nasa’s Curiosity rover landed safely on Mars, to start its search for clues about possible past life in a crater that might have once been filled with water. Curiosity will spend two years exploring Gale Crater, an unusual three-mile high mountain consisting of what appears to be sediments rising from the crater’s floor.

9 August

A small Australian town is asking Xstrata to pay it at least A$100m if the company decides to go ahead with a coal mine in the area. Wandoan, with a population of 380 people, would use the money to pay for some of the infrastructure needed to host a mine including an airport, roads and water and sewerage networks, said Ray Brown, the mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council.

10 August

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Google would pay $22.5m to settle charges it bypassed the privacy settings of customers using Apple’s Safari browser. The deal ends an FTC probe into allegations that Google used ‘cookies’ to trick the Safari browser on iPhones and iPads so it could monitor users who had blocked such tracking. The settlement did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing and Google was not required to admit any liability.

13 August

IBM opened a research lab in Kenya, which it hopes will save the country money by developing technology to improve delivery of public services. IBM said it would invest a “significant” amount, but did not say how much. Kenya would contribute $2m annually over five years.

13 August

The Olympic Park is set to reopen to the public from 27 July next year. The newly named and new-look Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has been earmarked to become a leading centre for technology, design and research which could generate more than 4,000 jobs.

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