Today's news

April 19, 2002

Modified genes enter Mexican maize crops
The Mexican government has confirmed that despite its ban on genetically modified maize, there is massive contamination of maize in areas that act as the gene bank for one of the world's staple crops. The finding adds a new twist to the controversy over a paper that Nature published then later disowned, which had claimed to prove that genes from GM maize grown in the US had crossed into Mexico. ( The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian )

Peers stop government effort to vet research
Peers rallied yesterday to defend academic freedom, rejecting a government attempt to take powers to vet research with a military application before it was published. Opponents, including UK universities, warned that the Export Control Bill could allow ministers to censor academic research and prevent academics sending emails abroad. ( The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times )

Aids cuts life span to less than 40
Hiv-Aids is so widespread in South Africa that many people will die before the age of 40, a report from labour consultancy NMG-Levy predicts. ( The Financial Times, The Times )

South Africa drops hard line on Aids drugs
The South African government has dropped its controversial hardline stance on Aids drugs, unveiling new plans to provide anti-retroviral medication at state hospitals. ( The Guardian )

Treatment boosts Parkinson's hopes
An experimental treatment for Parkinson's disease has regenerated the brains of five people with the condition. A team at the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol used a mechanical pump to deliver doses of a growth hormone to the most damaged parts of the brain. ( The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Times )

Europe sends eyes in sky to asteroid blind spot
A pair of European space telescopes to be launched in 2009 and 2010 are to investigate the "asteroid blind spot" between the Earth and the Sun, in which massive space rocks that could collide with our planet are almost impossible to detect. ( The Times )

Girls come to lovers who light up
Couples who are both smokers when trying to have a baby are more likely to have a daughter, according to research by Misao Fukuda of the Shimizu Women's Clinic in Hyogo, Japan, and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. ( The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent )

New Forest find sheds light on Anglo-Saxons
A small, perfectly preserved glass bowl dating from about 1,400 years ago has been found among skeletons and spearheads at a newly discovered Anglo-Saxon grave in the New Forest, Hampshire. ( The Guardian, The Independent )

Historian gets lucky in romance
The historian, feminist and broadcaster Philippa Gregory has won the Parker Romantic Novel of the Year award for The Other Boleyn Girl , her meticulously researched true story of Mary Boleyn, the younger sister of Henry VIII's second wife, Anne. ( The Guardian )   

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