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Wormfood - January 1st, 2013

News > Global News Digest

Happy New Year! On the first day of 2013, we take a look at a number of pressing global developments, and look back on a number of top discoveries, technologies, and headlines that shaped 2012; all found below!

Global News

  • The US Senate has approved legislation aimed at averting the "fiscal cliff" by stopping most tax hikes and across-the-board spending cuts that were due to begin with the new year.
  • Egypt's draft constitution, which is being voted on in a referendum Saturday, is made up of an introduction, an 11-part preamble and 236 articles. Critics have raised concerns over issues including Islamic law and women's rights
  • Belgium's federal public prosecutors have decided to prosecute the Church of Scientology in Belgium and several of its high-ranking members. The organisation and several of its members face charges in connection with extortion, fraud, illegal practice of medicine and violations of privacy legislation.
  • The United Nations Security Council has approved an open-ended resolution authorizing military operation to secure northern Mali from terrorist organizations. The design of this gradual intervention, authored by France and to be led by African forces (Ecowas) and supported by the UN military, has been repeatedly demanded by the African Union.

Business & Economy

  • The French are responding to Europe's stagnant economy by sharing rather than consuming. People have seen that, statistically, most people with a power drill use it for 12 seconds each year, so now they are wondering, why bother buying one?
  • Nearly two years ago, an Ecuadorian court found the oil giant liable for the pollution and ordered it to pay more than $18bn to the plaintiffs. But Chevron, calling the case fradulent, has sought to block enforcement of the ruling in US and international courts.

  • Two former executives at an Icelandic bank which collapsed in the 2008 financial meltdown were sentenced to jail on Friday for fraud which led to a 53 million euro loss, in the first major trial of Icelandic bankers linked to the crisis.

Energy & Environment

  • Conservation organizations are working with industry to try to make beef production more sustainable. But some are questioning whether green groups should be accepting funds from the beef industry or whether they should instead be urging consumers to stop eating beef.

  • The rapid development of Alberta’s tar sands has spawned a new proposal for a 731-mile pipeline that would transport oil to the British Columbia coast. The project is strongly opposed by conservationists and First Nations leaders, who fear the environmental risks it would bring. 
  • Carbon taxes make Ireland even greener. Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008

Science, Technology, & Design

  • Researchers at MIT have discovered a new state of matter with a new kind of magnetism. This new state, called a quantum spin liquid (QSL), could lead to significant advances in data storage.
  • Autodesk, the industry leader in CAD software, has announced it is partnering with biological printer manufacturer Organovo to create 3-D design software for designing and printing living tissue.
  • A devastating storm, a new phase of Mars exploration, a recipe for a pandemic flu—these and other events highlight the year in science and technology

Urban Environment

  • As biodiversity declines, tropical diseases are thriving and threatening dense urban populations and straining healthcare systems
  • Amazing new house proves that green doesn’t have to mean expensive

Unexpected and Intriguing

  • Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.
  • A Catholic priest has sparked outrage in Italy by claiming women bring domestic violence on themselves by dressing provocatively and neglecting housework, Italian media report.

 

This bi-weekly digest is made by assembling items from all of Except’s people. Have questions, comments, or news items to suggest? E-mail matthew.fraser@except.nl. Read past Wormfood global news reports here.