World News - part 5

IBM Overtakes Microsoft as Second Most Valuable Tech Company

IBM Overtakes Microsoft as Second Most Valuable Tech Company

WORLD

  • IBM’s market value has risen while Microsoft’s has fallen
  • Microsoft remains most valuable software company with 60% of revenue from software
  • IBM CEO says there is more to computing than computers

International Business Machines overtook Microsoft as the world’s second most-valuable technology company when its market value hit $214 billion, leaving Microsoft behind at $213.2 billion. In 1999, Microsoft was valued at $600 billion and has been on a slow decline ever since. Apple Inc surpassed Microsoft as the top technology company in 2010.

To date in 2011, IBM has gained 19% on the New York Stock Exchange, while Microsoft dropped 11% on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares in IBM have increased by 35% since May 2010.

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Pakistan Calls for More Nuclear to Aid Energy Relief

Pakistan Calls for More Nuclear to Aid Energy Relief

WORLD

  • Pakistan government orders 8,800 MW of additional nuclear power by 2030
  • Atomic energy body calls for IAEA and member states to collaborate
  • IAEA revises down projections for nuclear power market share after Fukushima disaster

Energy authorities in Pakistan are saying more nuclear reactors must be built to meet the soaring demands of the country’s appetite for power.

While some developed nations are moving to limit nuclear energy in the wake of Japan’s disaster at Fukushima in March, Pakistan’s government has ordered a massive expansion of its nuclear program over the next two decades.

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Report: Global Anti Smoking Efforts in the US, EU

Report: Global Anti Smoking Efforts in the US, EU

WORLD

  • Death toll from tobacco use set to rise to 8 million annually by 2030
  • US anti-smoking campaign uses text messaging to reach citizens
  • EU “ex-smokers are unstoppable” initiative web pages get 500,000 hits

With tobacco use climbing worldwide, it is likely to claim over 8 million lives a year by 2030. This increase will put significant strain on world healthcare systems, and governments are now actively launching initiatives to galvanize international efforts against tobacco use.

Needing to reach over a billion smokers in the world, health organizations have had to get more creative than traditional poster campaigns.

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NASA Unveils Heavy-Lift Deep-Space Rocket Design

NASA Unveils Heavy-Lift Deep-Space Rocket Design

WORLD

  • Costs for rocket run to $10 billion, plus $6 billion for crew capsule
  • Rocket’s weight capacity almost three times that of space shuttle
  • Rocket to get an astronaut to an asteroid by 2025, to Mars by 2030s

A new deep-space rocket will be ready for its first test-run lift off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center in 2017, costing the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) $10 billion plus another $6 billion to build the Orion deep-space crew capsule.

The rocket, known as the Space Launch System (SLS), will be able to carry astronauts to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars around five years later, further into space than astronauts have ever travelled before.

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9/11: Reviewing The Impact On The US Economy

9/11: Reviewing The Impact On The US Economy

WORLD

  • Ground zero reconstruction costs run to $11 billion
  • Insurers hit with bill for $40 billion; government pays $10 billion in compensation
  • Taxpayers shell out $4 trillion-$6 trillion in 9/11 ripple effect

The US economy is still feeling the fiscal impact of September 11 as New York readies itself for the ten-year anniversary of the attacks that claimed almost 3,000 lives.

A report compiled by New York comptroller William C. Thompson estimates the cost of the attacks, combining immediate and continuing loss, to be in the region of $83 billion to $95 billion. The immediate loss of wealth to New York City was thought to account for more than $30 billion, including the repair and reconstruction of New York’s buildings and infrastructure.

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US, Russia May Withdraw Astronauts from International Space Station

US, Russia May Withdraw Astronauts from International Space Station

WORLD

  • US and Russian space agencies consider pulling astronauts from International Space Station after failed Soyuz rocket launch
  • Russia must complete two successful Soyuz launches before mid-November to satisfy security concerns
  • If astronauts withdrawn, it would be first time in over a decade that space station has been unmanned

Space agency officials from the United States and Russia are considering the withdrawal of all personnel from the International Space Station (ISS), following the failed launch of a Russian Soyuz rocket last week.

The unmanned Soyuz rocket was transporting supplies to the ISS last week when it suffered a malfunction and crashed in Siberia. Russian scientists have not yet identified the cause of the failure but said they were confident they could fix the problem before mid-November, when the last of the current crew onboard the ISS are scheduled to leave.

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Emissions Offsetting Plan Cut By London Olympics Organizers

Emissions Offsetting Plan Cut By London Olympics Organizers

WORLD

  • 2012 London Olympics organizers drop emissions offsetting program with savings predicted at $4.4 million
  • Committee will “maximize the Games locally” by reducing emissions at ground level
  • Security budget boosted $244 million to total $978 million

The organizing committee for the 2012 London Olympics has gone back on a pledge to offset carbon emissions during the event.

The emissions cutting promise was a major part of the bid that helped London win the right to host the Olympics ahead of eight other cities. As part of the scheme, organizers would have invested in renewable energy initiatives in developing countries around the world to offset the carbon emissions produced during the preparations and the holding of the Games.

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Insurance Impact: Hurricane Irene to Rack Up $6 Billion in Damages

Insurance Impact: Hurricane Irene to Rack Up $6 Billion in Damages

WORLD

  • Insurance payouts for storm damage are lower than expected; original estimate was around $10 billion
  • Local governments providing aid after hurricane
  • In 2011 severe weather conditions have cost the US economy a combined $35 billion

Though it is difficult to gauge damage caused by Hurricane Irene at this stage, insurance providers may end up shelling out as much as $6 billion in damages, reports industry publication Insurance Journal.

The anticipated damages at the storm’s onset were set to be far higher, with an original estimate of $10 billion, quotes Insurance Journal. The lower-than-expected damages coupled with promises of government aid helped the insurance market rebound.

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Microfossils Give Insight into First Life on Earth

Microfossils Give Insight into First Life on Earth

WORLD

  • Tiny fossils found in Western Australia represent life on earth in its earliest form
  • Fossilized bacteria from 3.4 billion years ago lived off sulfur, not oxygen
  • Confirming evidence of fossilized life now more complex with technology advances

Microscopic fossils found in Western Australia show life on earth in its most primitive form, according to a new report.

Close to three years ago, a research team from the University of Western Australia found fossils of tiny organisms in 3.4 billion-year-old sandstone in Strelley Pool in the dry Pilbara region, some 1,500 km north of Perth.

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Species Rapidly Migrating to Escape Global Warming

Species Rapidly Migrating to Escape Global Warming

WORLD

  • Species migrating towards polar regions 3 times faster than estimated to escape rising temperatures
  • Plants and animals in mountainous areas shifting habitats upwards faster than thought
  • Scientists expect trend to continue until end of the century

Animal and plant species are relocating their natural habitats at a rapid rate, heading for cooler polar regions as they flee rising global temperatures, according to a new report.

Published in leading scientific journal Science, the study says that species are migrating towards the poles three times faster than had previously been estimated by researchers.

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