Today's news

July 17, 2002

GM genes found in human gut
British scientific researchers have demonstrated for the first time that genetically modified DNA material from crops is finding its way into human gut bacteria, raising potentially serious health questions. (The Guardian, Daily Mail)

Merton’s high table place comes at a price
Merton, one of Oxford University’s oldest and richest colleges, has topped this year’s Norrington table, which ranks the 30 undergraduate colleges according to the class of their students’ degrees. (The Daily Telegraph)

Foot-and-mouth computer data were inadequate
Computer models used to formulate policy in last year’s foot-and-mouth epidemic relied on inadequate data, according to the Royal Society’s official scientific inquiry into the crisis. (The Daily Telegraph) 

Report urges emergency farm-virus jabs
The Royal Society wants the government to introduce a contingency plan for emergency vaccination of sheep, cattle and pigs to limit the spread of any future foot-and-mouth outbreaks. (The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph)

Simple test could spot prostate cancer
Scientists based at University College London and pursuing research on behalf of Cancer Research UK have discovered that a simple urine test could be used to diagnose prostate cancer. (The Times)

£1 billion boost for schools tied to teacher reform
The government last night laid out its plans to junk four decades of comprehensive education and coupled them with a warning to schools that it would withhold extra money unless teachers agreed to demands for reform. (The Guardian, The Independent, Financial Times, Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Times)

TV dinner served up as key invention
The humble TV dinner has won itself a place in history, alongside space travel and cloning, as one of 50 innovations that have changed the world in the past half century. (The Guardian)

Nurses take on surgical tasks
Training nurses to perform routine surgical procedures could ease the burden on consultants and reduce waiting lists. (The Guardian)

Remains of Roman town threatened
The remains of one of the UK’s most important Roman towns, Verulamium near St Albans in Hertfordshire, are at risk of being lost because of a threat from the farmer’s plough, archaeologists have warned. (The Independent)

Is Britain running on empty?
As natural fuel resources run low, the economics of nuclear power are becoming more attractive, according to the chairman of Royal Society’s energy policy advisory group, Eric Ash. (The Independent)

Flattering to deceive
Today’s degree exams reflect the impoverishment of university education, writes Kevin Sharpe. (The Daily Telegraph)   

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