Today's news

April 30, 2002

Women's fertility in decline by late 20s
Women begin to lose their fertility in their late 20s and not in their 30s, scientists have discovered. A study published today by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina and the University of Padua in Italy reveals that a woman's chance of conceiving a child during each menstrual cycle starts to decline once she reaches the age of and continues to slip over the next decade.
(Times, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph)

Beware of husbands bearing gifts
Women who are treated to unexpected gifts by their husbands or boyfriends should be suspicious - their partners may be trying to keep them away from other men when they are at their most fertile. Research in the US has found that women are more sexually interested in men who are not their primary partners during ovulation - when they are at maximum fertility - and that their other halves are at their most attentive at the same time.

'Tome raider' plundered books worth £1.1m
A Cambridge University graduate who plundered rare antiquarian books worth £1.1 million from British libraries was jailed yesterday for masterminding one of the biggest thefts of the country's literary treasures. William Simon Jacques, 33, stole more than 400 books and pamphlets from collections at the British Library, Cambridge University Library and London Library between July 1994 and May 1999.
(Times, Guardian, Independent)

British Museum to axe 150 staff
The British Museum confirmed last night that it will be axing 150 staff - more than 10 per cent of the total workforce - in the struggle to cut an impending £5 million deficit.
(Guardian, Times, Daily Telegraph)

Moth rustlers of Mull walk free
Police on the Scottish island of Mull believe they may have come across a previously unknown threat - the moth rustler. Officers stopped two men believing they could have been trying to steal sea eagle eggs and discovered their car was loaded with rare caterpillars and moths. The case highlights the growing problem of rare but unprotected fauna being taken from the wild.

African woman goes home after 200 years
France yesterday returned to South Africa the remains of the "Hottentot Venus", a young woman who was a freak-show attraction in France and Britain in the 19th century.
(Guardian, Times)

Parents want aunt to adopt girl for place at school
The parents of an 11-year-old girl are trying to have her adopted by an aunt to boost her chances of getting into a top state school. Suman Ghai's daughter Meera failed to secure a place at Kings Norton Girls' School in Birmingham. Now Mrs Ghai hopes to have Meera legally adopted by her aunt, whose daughter is at Kings Norton. The school gives priority to siblings.
(Times, Daily Mail)

Parents 'abandon sex education role'
Parents, especially fathers, have largely abandoned their responsibility for teaching their children about sex, Ofsted said in a report yesterday. Instead, they have left them to glean what they can from teenage manazines in which the underlying message is that sexual activity is the norm, perhaps contributing to Britain having the highest teenage birth rate in western Europe.
(Daily Telegraph)

Orange judges seek rise in prize money
Organisers of the Orange prize, the only novel prize solely for women, have been forced to consider increasing the £30,000 award to compete with the Booker, which recently doubled its prize money to £60,000.

Right tries to steal left's clothes
The far right is trying to hijack the green and anti-globalisation agenda. The British National Party has even begun to campaign against corporate power, George Monbiot writes.

Le Pen victory stokes fires on French campuses
French universities are bracing themselves for weeks of turbulence after Jean-Marie Le Pen's strong showing in the presidential election and the political impasse which has afflicted the country during the years of "cohabitation" between left and right and which shows no sign of being relieved.

Ancient cures tempt modern business
Doctors in Delhi, India, are conducting human trials on a cure for Aids using the 5,000-year-old alternative medicine known as ayurveda. But if India has woken up to the commercial potential of ayurveda, so too has western business - multinational drug companies are waiting to cut deals if the results are promising.
(Financial Times)    

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