Today's news

August 31, 2005

Blair backs banned Muslim scholar
A Muslim scholar accused by critics of sympathising with violence has been appointed to a government taskforce attempting to root out Islamic extremism in Britain. Professor Tariq Ramadan has been banned from entering the United States and France because of his alleged views supporting violence, allegations he strongly denies. He faced a campaign of vilification from rightwing British newspapers, and last night some saw his inclusion on the group as evidence of the Government's willingness to stand up to the tabloids.
The Guardian

Britain uses hate law to ban animal rights campaigner
Charles Clarke, the home secretary, has used the Government's crackdown on preachers of hate to ban an American professor who speaks for the Animal Liberation Front. Steven Best, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at El Paso, had intended to travel to the UK to take part in an event to celebrate the closure of a farm breeding guinea pigs for research. The closure of the Newchurch Farm business following years of harassment and intimidation, including the theft of a grandmother's ashes from the local cemetery, was widely condemned by scientists and politicians last week.
The Guardian

Campaign to offer Scots pupils exam in language
A campaign has been launched to give Scottish pupils the chance to study for a new qualification in language - to help their understanding of both their native tongue and foreign languages. A meeting at Edinburgh University on Friday will take the first steps towards introducing a Higher exam in language. The English language A level has been a major success and the Committee for Language Awareness in Scottish Schools wants to give Scottish students a similar opportunity.
The Scotsman

Global warming maybe to blame for Katrina
Sir David King, the British Government's chief scientific adviser, has warned that global warming may be responsible for the devastation reaped by Hurricane Katrina. "The increased intensity of hurricanes is associated with global warming," Professor King told Channel 4 News yesterday. "We have known since 1987 the intensity of hurricanes is related to surface sea temperature and we know that, over the last 15 to 20 years, surface sea temperatures in these regions have increased by half a degree centigrade.
The Independent

Saturn moon made of hot stuff
Enceladus, one of Saturn’s innermost moons, is one of only three in the solar system to display geothermal or volcanic activity, scientists believe. Observations sent back by Cassini from Saturn show a surprise hotspot and uneven atmosphere around the moon’s south pole. Such activity has been observed only on Jupiter’s moon Io and Neptune’s Triton. Professor Michele Dougherty, of Imperial College, London, said: “On the basis of the results . . . from the first fly-bys we persuaded the Cassini team to take a much closer look. We got within 106 miles of the surface.” Data collected showed “a really surprising picture of the processes at work”.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Independent, New Scientist, The Guardian

Phone study lowers cancer fear
Mobile phones do not increase the risk of brain tumours in the first ten years of use, the biggest study into the subject claims. The results are published in the British Journal of Cancer . The survey, conducted in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Britain over five years until last August, compared the mobile phone use of 678 people who developed acoustic neuromas with those of 3,553 controls who had never suffered from the benign tumours.
The Times, The Guardian, The Independent

Mobile phone link reduces chance of diabetes problems
Diabetics using a mobile phone to monitor their condition are at lower risk of dangerous complications linked to the disease. Researchers at the Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University of Oxford found that patients who used the t+ diabetes system to receive immediate feedback and information on their blood sugar levels succeed in keeping them down to safer levels. The t+ diabetes system, developed by Oxford-based company e-San, transmits readings taken on ordinary blood glucose meters linked to a mobile phone by Bluetooth and a brief "patient diary" entered into the handset's keypad to a central computer.
The Daily Telegraph

Campus parent alert
It is every student's worst nightmare. Having finally escaped from home, moved into student digs and thrown up at freshers' fair, the last thing you need is your mum and dad strolling on to campus. But in the German city of Münster hundreds of parents have been invited to descend on the university and check up on what their sons and daughters are doing. The unprecedented event - entitled Elternalarm, which can be loosely translated as "Watch out, your parents are coming" - is supposed to bring students and their parents closer together.
The Guardian

Forgotten plant with power to quell hunger pangs
A natural remedy used by 12th century monks in Scotland could be used in a new herbal diet pill. Archaeologists have discovered that Augustinian monks of Soutra Aisle, south of Edinburgh, used the bitter vetch plant to stop hunger pangs. They are believed to have chewed tubers, found on the plant's roots, to quash their appetite "for many weeks", according to ancient texts. Dr Mike Swaine, a plant science expert at Aberdeen University, said: "Most plants have some sort of use historically in herbalism so this could well be a rediscovery."
The Scotsman

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