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World News

A round-up of this month's engineering news from around the world with a special focus on energy and climate change.

1. 19 November

More than 44 million hacking attempts were made on Israeli government websites since Israel began its Gaza air strikes earlier in the month. Attempts on defence-related sites were the highest, and most attacks were said to have been from Israel and the Palestinian territories.

2. 20 November

The Russian Soyuz capsule landed safely in northern Kazakhstan, with a trio of astronauts returning from a four-month stint on the International Space Station. The crew had conducted a number of experiments, including tests on radiation levels at the space station and research into the effects of melting glaciers and seasonal changes on Earth’s ecosystems, Nasa said.

3. 23 November

Australian scientists ‘undiscovered’ a phantom island in the South Pacific during a geological expedition. Sandy Island, supposedly mid-way between Australia and the French-governed New Caledonia, was found not to exist when researchers travelled to its location, despite it being identified on Google Earth, marine charts and world maps.

4. 27 November

A portable 3D-imaging camera has been developed to help British troops in the field at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. The device, developed by medical technology firm Ekyona, is designed to build a 3D image of a wound, with special software allowing it to measure trauma accurately. The Eykona camera is also being used to treat military casualties at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

5. 27 November

A Swedish energy company treated commuters to ultra-violet light therapy as the country plunged into a long, dark winter. Umea Energi installed ultra-violet lights at about 30 bus stops in the northern Swedish town of Umea, about 600km north of Stockholm. The company’s marketing chief said it was to give commuters “a little energy kick as they are waiting”.

6. 28 November

A small-scale ‘cyber city’ was launched in New Jersey to train US military cyber warriors. The NetWars CyberCity was developed by the SANS Institute to help the military learn how to defend against online attacks and how to secure a city’s vital physical infrastructure. The city fits into a 6x8ft area and comes complete with a bank, hospital, water tower, train system, electric power grid and coffee shop.

7. 28 November

The United Arab Emirates announced it would invest $1.3bn in BP’s North Sea oil fields. Abu Dhabi National Energy Co (TAQA), owned 75 per cent by the government, said the deal followed a constructive dialogue between the oil and gas industry and the UK Treasury. TAQA is the largest investor from the UAE in the UK, having invested over $3bn in four years, including $1.2bn of tax payments.

8. 4 December

Qatar University said it was researching sustainable aviation biofuels made from marine organisms. The state-backed £7.8m biofuel project is the only one of its kind in its region and aims to produce affordable, sustainable biofuels that do not use valuable arable land and that can be produced efficiently in the punishing climate of Qatar. These fuels could provide an alternative source of energy for the airline industry.

9. 10 December

Japan Atomic Power Co announced it might have to decommission one of its nuclear reactors after seismologists found the plant was sitting over an active faultline. The Japanese government does not allow nuclear plants to be situated over active faultlines and the shutdown of the plant in Tsuruga could be the first permanent shutdown of a nuclear unit since the Fukushima disaster last year.

10. 11 December

Jaguar Land Rover signed a preliminary deal to build a plant in Saudi Arabia. The carmaker, owned by India’s Tata Motors, is looking at the possibility of making 50,000 Land Rovers a year at a Saudi plant. JLR has seen huge demand over the past year for its luxury SUVs and sedans from emerging markets including China, Russia and the Middle East.

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