Today's news

September 4, 2002

Colleges strike
About 70,000 lecturers and technicians and other support staff are expected to take part in a one-day strike across England and Wales on November 5. They reject a 2.3 per cent pay offer from the Association of Colleges. The AoC says it needs £110 million from the government. (The Times)

Children are wizard at tabloid spelling
Today’s children are a generation of “tabloid spellers”, not hesitating when asked to write the name David Beckham but at a loss when it comes to Jane Austen or William Shakespeare, according to research by Oxford University Press. (The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Independent)

Call for clampdown on zombie farm animals
The creation of zombie farm animals by genetic scientists must be strictly controlled, government scientists demanded yesterday. Experts from the Agriculture and Environment Biotechnology Commission predicted that meat from the first genetically modified farm animals would be being eaten in Britain within a decade. (Daily Mail, The Financial Times)

Don’t let clone mavericks copy pets, says expert
A  new biotechnology watchdog is needed to protect animals from “fundamentally objectionable” attempts at cloning and genetic engineering that could alter their very nature, a panel of government advisers said yesterday. The panel, chaired by Malcolm Grant of Cambridge University, raised concerns about cloned pets. (The Times, The Daily Telegraph)

Why men are doomed
Geneticist Steve Jones explores the fall of man and the increasing dominance of women. (The Daily Telegraph)

Changing seasons will give autumn a brighter future
Woodland walks are set to reveal one of the most spectacular displays of autumn colour in centuries as climate change shortens the winter. (The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent)

Cancer clue for women
Scientists have discovered why women with a faulty version of the gene BRCA-1 are so likely to develop breast cancer. Paul Harkin and his team at Queen’s University, Belfast, discovered that in a healthy woman the BRCA-1 gene helps the body to detect potentially cancerous cells, which are then forced to self-destruct. (The Times, The Independent)

Apes’ jungles will be lost in 30 years
The jungle homes of the great apes will all but disappear in 30 years unless human beings slow down the rate at which they are destroying the animals’ habitats. (The Times, The Independent)

What really shapes a child’s life?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology psychology professor Steven Pinker argues against the myth that “good” parents can succeed in shaping the lives of their children. (The Times)

Smoking parents may pose threat to baby’s heart
Parents who smoke during pregnancy and after the birth are putting their baby at risk of a cot death because they may have damaged the infant’s heart, cardiologists were told yesterday. Alessandro Muglelli of the University of Florence pharmacology unit, said research had already shown that babies that died from sudden infant death syndrome had higher nicotine levels in their lungs than other children. (The Daily Telegraph)

Contraceptive jab could raise risk of heart disease
Doctors have warned that a widely used injected contraceptive might increase women’s chances of developing heart disease. The findings are based on research conducted at London and Copenhagen hospitals and medical schools. (The Guardian)

Professor Lord Porter of Luddenham dies
Nobel prize-winning chemist dedicated to promoting the public understanding of science, died in Canterbury, Kent, on August 31. (The Independent)

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