Today's news

August 12, 2005

Cambridge dons to vote on discretionary payments
Opponents of Cambridge University's attempts to introduce more flexible payments for research 'stars' and lecturers in shortage subjects have forced a vote among the dons. All UK universities are currently wrestling with new pay structures in line with a national framework designed to promote fairness and equal opportunities for all campus staff, from professors to porters.
The Guardian

Research investment still reeling from Thatcher's legacy
Government investment in research and development has not yet recovered to the level it stood at in 1980, when Margaret Thatcher's Conservative administration started to slash public spending, figures published by the Office of National Statistics revealed yesterday.
The Guardian

Scientist's son-in-law held over attack on British diplomats
The son-in-law of Pakistan's disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan was arrested for allegedly beating up two British diplomats, police and a British High Commission spokesman said today. Saad Ali Khan was accused of assaulting the two diplomats in a residential area of the capital Islamabad, said police spokesman Manzoor Elahi. He refused to give any other details.
The Independent

'Breakthrough' for scientists hunting Aids cure
Scientists announced for the first time that they could be nearing a cure for Aids, which has already claimed 25 million lives worldwide. A decade after the development of a therapeutic drug cocktail which transformed Aids from a killer infection to a chronic disease, doctors said yesterday that they may have made the next big breakthrough. David Margolis, who led the research team at the University of North Carolina, said: "Our findings suggest that eradication of established HIV infection might be achieved in a staged approach. This finding, though not definitive, suggests that new approaches will allow the cure of HIV in the future.
The Independent

Test-tube embryos may be screened for risk of cancer
Clinics could soon be screening embryos for genes that carry a predisposition to breast cancer and other tumours. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority announced yesterday that it is to consult the public about letting couples choose embryos free from genetic defects. The defects raise the risk of cancer but do not always trigger it.
The Times

Virus gene is key to anti-ageing treatment
A virus that infects chalk-covered marine algae has been found to contain compounds that could be used in anti-ageing and other treatments, a British team reports today. The discovery was made when researchers at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory and colleagues at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge unravelled the genetic code of the largest algal virus ever analysed.
Daily Telegraph

Archaeologist in plea to save the Maze from bulldozers
It is one of the most notorious prisons in Europe, soon to be transformed into a sports stadium to host football matches for the London Olympics. But a British archaeologist warns today that the multimillion-pound redevelopment of the Maze prison in Northern Ireland will see hundreds of acres of buildings bulldozed before crucial historical research has been carried out. Laura McAtackney of Bristol University argues in British Archaeology magazine that the Maze "remains in limbo, at an uncomfortable crossroads between the present and past, between history and heritage".
The Guardian

Psychic's crystal ball burns down his flat in unforeseen blaze
If Herve Vandrot, a French amateur psychic, took out a warranty on his crystal ball, he may soon be claiming on it. Instead of predicting that his flat would catch fire, the fortune-telling device was the cause of the blaze. M Vandrot, 24, who is studying botanics at Edinburgh University, left the ball on his windowsill while he visited the city’s Royal Botanic Garden. By the time he returned, the ball had destroyed his own and two other flats, and had left several others uninhabitable.
The Times

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