On the margin: International news in brief

4 March 2010

Business

President of Toyota, Akio Toyoda has apologised to Chinese consumers for the safety problems recently experienced by the car giant. Mr Toyoda bowed in apology at a televised press conference in Beijing, just days after issuing a similar statement to the US congress. The president made an hour long speech in which he recognised the inconvenience caused to 8.5 million consumers worldwide. He said he chose to address the Chinese market directly because they were so important to the company.

Education

The Chinese government has requested that all schools sever all ties with international relief agency Oxfam, preventing its recruitment and aid efforts. The announcement comes as a result of the government’s suspicions that the Hong Kong branch of the global charity has a hidden political agenda. The Chinese Education Ministry has called the Asian branch’s chairman a ‘stalwart of the opposite faction’

Arts & Culture

5,000 Australians have posed naked outside Sydney Opera House for American artist Spencer Tunick. The shoot was commissioned by Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and organisers say they were pleasantly surprised by the high turnout. Tunick said in a statement that the images, which feature homosexual couples standing next to their heterosexual neighbours, will send out a strong message to Australia about equality in the country.

Science

An 860 billion tonne ice berg has broken off the Mertz glacier in Antarctica. The berg, which has a surface area of over 2500 square kilometres, broke off over the weekend after years of fracturing took its toll. Scientists and Researchers fear the berg’s movement could affect the salinity of the surrounding water, and have a damaging effect on its ecosystems. The fracture was not, it has been stated, a direct result of global warming.

Technology

The U.S military has issued a challenge to budding inventors to create a robot that can rescue injured soldiers from the battlefield. In the requirements that they have advertised, they have stated that the robot should be able to carry out the task with little or no external help. They have also requested it be designed to be able to deal with the full range of sizes and possible injuries of its troops.