Short items

Business Week online: 15/03/06   

’Belgian chemical company Solvay SA and Dutch firm Akzo Nobel Chemicals International BV agreed to pay $72.8 million in fines to settle Justice Department allegations they conspired to fix prices in the US. The companies agreed to plead guilty to price fixing and pay the fines as part of the government’s investigation into the hydrogen peroxide and sodium perborates industries.’   

Times online:  08/03/06    

’The European Union has called on member states to agree a common energy policy, amid fierce national protectionism and concerns about "serious malfunctions" in the way the markets currently work... The Commission delivered its call as it published a Green Paper setting out more than 20 proposals for an EU-wide policy.’   

Universe Today: 14/03/06   

’Data transmitted back to Earth by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicates that the spacecraft successfully inserted itself into orbit around the Red Planet... The spacecraft will spend the next half-year aerobraking to lower down into a nearly circular orbit. Its instruments will be capable of resolving the Martian surface better than any spacecraft currently orbiting Mars.’ 14/03/06   

’The Group of Eight industrialised nations are poised to back a broad expansion of nuclear power and call for thousands of billions of dollars in new investment to boost oil and gas supply... A leaked copy of the G8’s "Action Plan", intended for publication in St Petersburg on July 16, states: "We believe that the development of nuclear energy would promote global energy security."’ 

Reuters: 15/03/06   

’Iran will not stop its research on atomic fuel, even if instructed to do so by the UN Security Council, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said... Iran has been reported to the UN Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions, after failing to convince the world it is not using its atomic power station program as a smokescreen for building nuclear warheads.’