Top News: Shell expands oil spilling operation from Nigeria to the North Sea; people power in China prompts plant shutdown; UAE arrives late to nuclear party; and Black Widow introduction threatens humans’ place as Britain’s most dangerous animal


One of the great exceptions to the old PR adage that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” occurs when oil companies are forced to admit that they’re really not very good at doing their jobs. Royal Dutch Shell – a company that made the news last week over its inability to keep their oil in their pipes in Nigeria – has been forced to admit that a ruptured pipeline is now spilling oil into the North Sea. Shell has taken two days to make an announcement about the spill while a Shell spokeswoman declined to comment on the size of the leak.

Greenpeace UK campaigner Ben Ayliffe said "Right now we don't know how serious this is, what we do know is that the North Sea is supposed to be ultra-safe, we're told spills can't happen there. Shell is looking to move into the Arctic where an oil spill would be all but impossible to clean up. Events in the North Sea should give the company pause for thought."


In an inspiring example of people power, a large protest in the city of Dalian in northeastern China has led authorities to order the shutdown of a troubled petrochemical plant. 12,000 protesters faced down riot police and demanded the relocation of the Fujia Chemical Plant after a heavy storm caused a breach in the dyke protecting the plant. As discontent amongst the Chinese public over pollution and environmental threats continues to increase, the incident fueled fears that PX, or paraxylene, a toxic chemical used in plastic and synthetics manufacturing could have been released. Resentment towards the plant came to a head with the public demonstration, and, in a rare concession, Dalian's Communist Party tried to appease growing public anger over environmental threats by promising to move the plant.


There are certain advantages to turning up late to the party – namely the opportunity to look in the window and see if it’s any good. Unlike the poor saps whose timeliness has trapped them until the bitter end, the late arrival has the opportunity to notice that the smart ones have already left while others nervously eye the door. However, it appears that despite such an advantage, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are intent on becoming the latest arrivals to the nuclear party after holding talks with Russia to supply its first nuclear power plant. As the world wakes up to the dangers of nuclear power and some of the most powerful countries commit to a nuclear-free future, the UAE seem to insist that it’s better late than never.


For centuries, humans have been considered the most dangerous animal to inhabit the British Isles; but the newly introduced black widow may look to change that. The country’s relatively banal flora and fauna and a lack of natural predators has led the native human population to develop a surliness found in few other places on the planet. However, the discovery of one of the world’s deadliest spiders in a consignment of jet engines presents a serious challenge to the fearsome reputation of the British citizenry.