Today's news

June 13, 2003

Baghdad museum gets back looted vase
The vase of Warka, one of the most treasured pieces looted from the Baghdad Museum during  the war on Iraq, was returned yesterday. The coalition provisional authority said the vase, dating from the Sumerian period in 3200BC, was handed over to staff at the museum along with other looted items.
(Guardian, Times)

Philosopher Bernard Williams dies
Bernard Williams, arguably the greatest British philosopher of his era, died aged 73 on Tuesday. Dazzlingly quick and devastating in discussion, he was famously able to to summarise other people's arguments better than they could themselves. He was a fellow of All Souls, University of Oxford, but left Oxford to go to University College London, mainly, it is said, in order to accommodate his politician wife, Shirley Williams. (Guardian)

Graduates in key jobs will have their loans repaid
Graduates entering key jobs in the public sector will have their student loans repaid under a scheme backed by education secretary Charles Clarke. Schools and health authorities will be able to compete with cash bonuses and "golden handcuffs" worth thousands of pounds offered by firms to recruit the best graduates.
(The Daily Telegraph)

Aids origin found in hybrid chimp virus
Scientists have pinpointed the origin of the Aids virus in a study showing that HIV came about when two monkey viruses hybridised in the body of an infected chimpanzee. The findings are the culmination of ten years of research into the origin and evolution of the Aids virus by Paul Sharp of Nottingham University and Beatrice Hahn of the University of Alabama.
(The Independent)

Time of van Gogh's full moon pinpointed
The moment when Vincent van Gogh captured a full moon rising over a wheat field in the south of France has been pinpointed by astronomers. Using aerial photographs, trigonometry, astronomical charts and local knowledge, astronomers Donald Olson, Marilynn Olson and Russell Doescher, of Southwest Texas State University, concluded that the painter could only have depicted the moonrise at 9.08pm on July 13 1889.
(The Independent)

Dr Livingstone's house in Tanzania to be tourism site
The dilapidated shack where the explorer and missionary David Livingstone spent his final nights before vanishing into the east African interior may become a heritage site. Trade Aid, a charity based in Hamshire, is raising funds to renovate the 19th-century building in the fishing village of Mikindani, in Tanzania.
(The Independent)

Space physicist dies in massage parlour
Phil Williams, a space physicist who espoused the Welsh nationalist cause and became a principal strategist for Plaid Cymru, has died aged 64. Professor Williams died of a heart attack during a visit to a Cardiff massage parlour.
(The Independent, The Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Communists ban Bard in Beijing
China's Shakespeare Association and more than 60 other seemingly inoffensive academic and cultural groups have been banned by the Communist Party authorities in Beijing. No specific reason was given for the ban, but it is thought that many of the groups had failed a tough registration clause demanding that they show assets of 100,000 (£8,000).
(The Daily Telegraph)

Stolen painting recovered as gang falls for Italian sting
Four alleged art smugglers linked to the Mafia are under arrest after the recovery of a priceless Italian Renaissance masterpiece, The Adoration of the Magi by Parmigianino, in a sting in which undercover police posed as art collectors.
(The Times)

Vitamins 'can increase risk of heart disease'
Scientists are warning against the use of certain vitamins amid claims that they can increase the risk of heart disease. Research by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the US advises people against taking supplements containing vitamin A and beta carotene. The findings were  published in The Lancet .
(Daily Mail)

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