Today's news

August 23, 2002

Fewer English students venture over the border
Universities in Scotland are attracting fewer students from south of the border, according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service yesterday. The number of English students taking up places at Scottish universities has fallen by 10.7 per cent to just over 3,300 since last year. The change is thought to be due to the “Prince William effect” wearing off.
( Daily Telegraph )

Spin-off attacked over ‘breakthrough’ in pig donor organs
Leading scientists have criticised British biotech firm PPL Therapeutics for publicly claiming to have made a breakthrough in the cloning of genetically engineered pigs to supply organs for human transplants. The spin-off from the Roslin Institute was criticised by the Royal Society because the research has not been subjected to the usual process of peer review, under which it is assessed by independent experts before being published in a journal. PPL recorded pre-tax losses of £14.25 million last year.
( Independent , Times )

Oxford dons insist deaf girl was treated fairly
Oxford University academics yesterday defended themselves against claims that they had discriminated against a deaf student. Anastasia Fedotova was turned down for a place to study maths at Brasenose College but went on to achieve five A grades at A level. The tutors who interviewed the teenager said they could not accept her as she achieved only mediocre scores in internal Oxford tests.
( Daily Mail )

University tests ‘terror link’ professor’s academic rights
The University of South Florida’s long-running attempt to sack an Arab academic accused of having links with terrorist groups has finally reached court. The university is seeking pre-emptive shelter from a potential claim by Dr Sami al-Arian, a computer science professor, that sacking him would violate his fight to free speech.
( Guardian )

MMR study finds no link between bowel disorders and autism
Children with autism are not more prone to stomach and bowel disorders, researchers at Boston University say. They also found no link between the timing of the MMR jab and development of stomach problems in autistic children. The survey looked at records of 96 children on a UK medical database.
( British Medical Journal , Daily Mail , Times , Independent , Daily Telegraph , Guardian )

Cot death risk soars if mothers are single
The babies of single mothers are six times more at risk of dying of cot death than those of married parents, researchers have found.
( Daily Mail , Daily Telegraph , Times , Daily Mirror)

Fish-rich diet gives mothers silent nights
Eating fish regularly during pregnancy greatly increases the chance of having a baby that sleeps through the night, researchers at the University of Connecticut have discovered.
( Daily Mail )

No laughing matter for Germans
University of Goettingen scientists have confirmed what Britons have long suspected: Germans have little sense of humour. The team found that more than a million Germans are suffering from “chronic angst” and need to learn to lighten up.
( Daily Mail )

Brain tumour alert on old mobiles
The long-term users of some first generation mobile phones are almost twice as likely to develop brain tumours, according to scientists at the National Institute for Working Life in Stockholm.
( Daily Telegraph , Times , European Journal of Cancer Prevention )

Lionesses don’t prefer blonds
Lions with the longest, darkest manes suffer more than their blonder, less shaggy peers, but they do better in the hunt for mates. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that the lion’s mane tells females, and rivals, about the male’s health and fitness.
( Daily Telegraph , Science , Times , Independent , Guardian )

Meteorite hit Earth at dawning of life
A meteorite measuring 12 miles wide slammed into the Earth about 3.5 billion years ago, at the dawn of life, sending massive shockwaves across the planet, scientists at Stanford and Louisiana State universities have found.
(Nature, Daily Telegraph, Times, Independent , Daily Mirror )

Fears over rat poison in birds of prey
Scientists have found disturbingly high levels of rat poison in birds of prey prompting fears of a similar wildlife disaster to the one caused by DDT in the 1950s and 1960s.
( Daily Telegraph )

Screening reduces need for mastectomies
Screening for breast cancer results in 40 per cent fewer women having to undergo mastectomies and increases the number who can be treated by minor surgery, scientists have found.
( British Medical Journal , Independent )

Pioneering endocrinologist dies
Mary Pickford, the pioneering endocrinologist, has died on her 100th birthday.
( Independent , Daily Telegraph )

Renaissance historian dies
Nicolai Rubinstein, historian of Renaissance Florence, has died age 92.
( Independent )

Cambridge historian dies
Ralph Bennett, the Cambridge historian who spent four years at Bletchley Park during the second world war, has died age 91.
( Daily Telegraph )

Physicist dies
Martin Deutsch, a physicist whose work went unrewarded by the Nobel prize team, has died age 85.
( Guardian )   

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