Today's news

July 22, 2002

HIV test for all medics
New doctors and nurses will have to undergo HIV tests under proposed Department of Health plans. It is estimated that 700 HIV-positive nurses may have been recruited to work in the UK last year. (The Guardian, The Times)

Minister aims to topple ivory towers
Margaret Hodge, the Blairite minister for higher education with a socialist streak, wants to open up universities and give state school pupils a helping hand, she says in an interview. (The Daily Telegraph)

Business leaders slam participation target
The government’s target of getting half of all school-leavers into higher education is ludicrous, the Institute of Directors says in a report published today. The IoD wants more emphasis on vocational training. (The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Independent)

Red tape hampers teaching
Lack of trust between universities and the government has led to so much red tape that it is distracting academics from teaching and research, the Better Regulation Task Force will report today. (The Financial Times, The Guardian)

Young colour lines
Frances Aboud, a psychologist from McGill University in Canada, believes that very young children are inherently racist. (The Times)

GM debate overshadows elections
A row over whether to lift a moratorium on the use of genetically modified technology for agriculture is overwhelming this week’s election in New Zealand (The Guardian)

Ministry joins protein mapping project
The Department of Trade and Industry is set to join the race to map the proteins in the human body, which is widely regarded as the next big challenge after the mapping of the human genome. The ministry will part fund a venture between the Medical Research Council’s Human Genome Mapping Project Resource Centre and Genetix, a biotechnology company that specialises in making equipment to screen genes and proteins. (The Financial Times)

Superbug lurking in US
Brian Spratt, a professor of molecular microbiology at Imperial College, London, has warned of the dangers posed by the appearance of a new strain of superbug in the US that is highly resistant to the last antibiotic in the medical arsenal. The microbe causes potentially lethal hospital infections. (The Independent)

Cuts will ‘cripple space station’
The International Space Station will become a $60 billion (£38 billion) white elephant if US budget cuts that will cripple its capacity for science are not reversed, scientists say. (The Times)

Sperm train express
A study of wood mice has revealed that their sperm organise themselves into long "trains" to travel faster and beat the competition. (The Independent)

Maths teaching review on cards
A review of maths standards for students of 14 and over is to be announced tomorrow by education secretary Estelle Morris as she acknowledges complaints from employers about the low standards achieved by school-leavers. (The Guardian)

Heart patients miss out on vital drugs
Hundreds of thousands of men and women with heart problems are still not being given drugs that could save their lives, doctors say today. A study at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London has found that three-quarters of men who suffered from angina and two-thirds of women who had heart attacks had not been given drugs, such as statins, to reduce cholesterol. (The Daily Telegraph)

Military sets sights on MBA
The Naval Postgraduate School and a US business school are to offer a joint degree. (The Financial Times)

Rare books damaged by water
Hundreds of rare antique books, some dating back 600 years, have been damaged after water leaked in the attic of Blickling Hall, a 17th-century National Trust property near Aylsham, Norfolk. (The Times)

Alexander Ginsburg dies
The Russian dissident and friend of Solzhenitsyn who was harassed by the KGB and imprisoned three times has died, aged 65. (The Daily Telegraph, The Independent)

Ten degrees of success
When Gillian Dewar collected her degree in medicine from Southampton University, she was watched by her mother, who has been a regular at such ceremonies. Gillian Dewar is the youngest of mother Margaret’s ten children, and all ten have now graduated from university. (The Daily Telegraph)   

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