Closure looms for historic department
King's College London is considering closing its world-famous chemistry department, where 50 years ago the foundations for the discovery of the structure of DNA were laid. The college's administration blames the "large annual deficit" brought about by declining student numbers and cuts in research funding, causing the department to be deemed "unsustainable".
Labs crack killer's code
Scientists have worked out the genetic sequence of the virus that is thought to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars). The code, which supports the idea that the disease leapt from animals into humans, should help to refine a diagnostic test.
England faces sexual health crisis, warns expert
England is facing a public health crisis because of an alarming increase in sexually transmitted infections, an expert in sexual health has warned. Michael Adler, of the Royal Free and Universty College Medical School, London, who helped develop the government's sexual health strategy, said that over the past decade the country's sexual health had deteriorated. The number of infections has increased alarmingly, leaving clinics struggling to cope with demand, he said in an editorial in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections .
Come in Mars, it's Leicester calling
The National Space Centre in Leicester is to become mission control for the Mars robot Beagle 2 . A control centre is being set up to manage communications with the British-built lander, once it arrives on Mars. Beagle 2 is part of Europe's first solo mission to the Red Planet.
America's oldest religious icon revealed
Gourd fragments unearthed in Peru have pushed back clear evidence of religion in the Americas by a thousand years, to 2250BC. The two key pieces are incised with an image of the fanged "staff god", a major deity in later Andean cultures. They were discovered at a burial site in the Patavilca River valley and dated using carbon isotopes.
(New Scientist, Nature, BBC)