French nuclear group Areva confirmed Wednesday record net losses in 2014 of 4.8 billion euros ($5.3 billion) after it was forced to absorb costs linked to delays to its flagship next-generation reactor. "The scale of the net loss for 2014 illustrates the two-fold challenge confronting Areva: continuing stagnation of the nuclear operations, lack of competitiveness and difficulties in managing the risks inherent in large projects," chief executive Philippe Knoche said in a statement. Areva has taken a particular hit in the past year from delays in building its Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant in Finland, as well as difficulties with its renewable energy contracts. The company, which is 87-percent owned by the French state, has suffered in recent years as interest in nuclear power has cooled following the 2011 Fukushima catastrophe in Japan.
The US Justice Department said Wednesday it will not prosecute the white policeman who shot dead unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, but in a damning report found the local force systematically targeted African Americans. The fatal shooting in August in the St. Louis suburb ignited nationwide outrage and shone a critical spotlight on relations between law enforcement and black Americans, with police tactics also coming in for strong criticism. Darren Wilson was also cleared in November by a grand jury which opted not to indict him for the death of the 18-year-old Brown, meaning the policeman is no longer facing legal action of any kind.