World News graphic

World News

A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a regional focus on Japan.

21 September

Apple’s iPhone 5 hit stores around the world, with long queues forming outside shops in London, Sydney, Tokyo, Paris and New York. The new phone is thinner and lighter than previous models, can use 4G, has a larger, 4in screen, and comes with a number of software updates.

24 September

Foxconn closed a plant in northern China after around 2,000 workers rioted at a company dormitory. Foxconn said the cause of the dispute was under investigation and appeared not to have been work-related. Foxconn assembles Apple’s iPhones and makes components for top global electronics companies.

1 October

Nokia announced a deal that would give Oracle’s customers access to its mapping services. The Finnish phonemaker had also recently signed mapping deals with Groupon and Amazon after buying the world’s largest digital mapping firm Navteq in 2008. Analysts said the deal with Oracle broadened the large enterprise market for Nokia’s location services.

2 October

ArcelorMittal announced it was closing two mothballed furnaces at its Florange plant in north east France. The steel and mining company has given the French government a two-month window to try to find a new buyer before it shuts down the site. The company said the closure would affect 629 workers out of a total 2,700 at the plant, but it would try and move as many as possible to new jobs.

5 October

Scientists in Australia launched the world’s fastest radio telescope in a far-flung cattle station in a western Australian state. The A$152m Australia Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder will ‘listen’ to radio waves from the cosmos that might give astronomers insights into the beginnings of the Universe.

10 October

The SpaceX commercial cargo ship landed on the International Space Station. SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship took two-and-a-half days to reach the ISS. It was carrying supplies for the crew, including a freezer to ferry science samples back and forth between the station and Earth, and on the way up was packed with ice cream - a rare treat for an orbiting crew.

10 October

A £28bn merger between BAE Systems and EADS collapsed. The world’s largest defence and aviation merger was called off after the governments of France, Germany and Britain failed to reach agreement over the deal.

11 October

Royal Dutch Shell faced a lawsuit from four Nigerian villagers that sought to make Shell and other corporations responsible for pollution from three oil spills between 2004 and 2007 in the Niger Delta. Filed in a local court in The Hague, the plaintiffs were four Nigerian farmers and fishermen, and campaign group Friends of the Earth. Shell said the pollution was caused by oil thieves and believed it had played its part in clearing up.

15 October

The UK government asked Virgin to keep running the West Coast rail line for around nine to 13 months, while it runs a new competition for an interim agreement. A 13-year franchise deal, due to commence in December, had originally been granted to FirstGroup ahead of Virgin Trains, but the government was forced to pull the award earlier this month when it discovered serious flaws in the way it had run the process.

15 October

A new radar developed by the European Space Agency that is designed to test methods for finding orbital debris that can be hazardous to space navigation was installed in Spain. The radar would be used to develop future debris warning services, boosting safety for European satellite operators.

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