Today's news

June 4, 2004

Cover-up at Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin has been covered in blue plastic to stop drama students from exploiting the most famous cold war border crossing for profit. The young actors were posing at the checkpoint as communist police officers for photographs with tourists.
( Daily Telegraph )

Exciting lines
A postgraduate student’s first collection of poetry has earned her a place among the "20 most exciting poets of their generation". Leonita Flyn, 29, who is finishing her PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast, was picked by a panel chaired by Andrew Motion, the poet laureate, for her collection These Days .
( The Times )

DNA injection may provide cure for genetic diseases
A new type of gene therapy administered with a simple injection has been successfully tested on mice, raising the prospect of cures for dozens of genetic diseases. The technique, developed at Wisconsin University in the US, gets around one of the problems holding up research in the field by delivering replacement DNA to deficient cells without using a genetically modified virus.
( The Times )

Arctic trip may predict ice age
British scientists will play a key role in an expedition that will drill deep beneath the Arctic ice to find out if we are heading for another ice age.
( The Times , The Guardian )

Spot the difference between London and Cornish quacks
Researchers at Middlesex University have found that ducks have regional accents. While cockney ducks make a rough "shouting" quack so that their mates can hear them above the din of urban life, their laid-back counterparts in the West Country give off a Cornish burr of a quack, rather like a "giggle".
( The Guardian )

Breast cancer fears over deprived areas
Women from deprived areas are more likely to have advanced breast cancer by the time they are diagnosed, researchers from Newcastle and Leeds universities have found. Where breast cancer screening programmes were operating, the differences between the most affluent and most deprived were even greater, according to the study on bmj.com.
( Financial Times )

New fossils give clue to ‘Cambrian explosion’
Palaeontologists looking for the roots of the "Cambrian explosion" - the sudden appearance 540 million years ago of multicellular animals with many difference body shapes - have a new clue. Researchers led by Jun-Yan Chen of Nanjing University in China, report the discovery of what they say are the oldest fossils of animals complex enough to have a two-sided, rather than a round, body plan.
( Financial Times , Science )

Regulatory genes found in genome wasteland
Molecular biologists from Harvard Medical School are beginning to find that the long stretches of the genome previously dismissed as genetic wasteland actually perform important regulatory functions.
( Financial Times )

Britain’s great Barra reef to reveal secrets of the sea
Scientists have discovered the UK’s first known coral reef less then eight miles off the coast of Britain, a significant find that could help unlock the secrets of marine life over the past 10,000 years. The mile-long reef is up to 15ft high and 100ft wide and is located southeast of Barra in the Western Isles.
( The Independent )

One in 500 has ‘sudden death’ heart condition
One in 500 people suffers from a heart condition that is the commonest cause of sudden death in fit young people and athletes, according to doctors from University College London.
( The Independent )

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