Today's news

November 4, 2005

Medics 'livid' over research cash failure
Scientists have reacted with anger after it was revealed that the Government's medical research body last year failed to spend 10 per cent of its budget despite rejecting top-rated applications for cash. The Medical Research Council under-spent by £52 million in 2004-05 from its budget of £500 million, the Times Higher Education Supplement reports today. The shortfall occurred as the proportion of funding applications approved by the council fell to 15 per cent. The journal quoted a senior medical researcher as saying that medics "will be livid".
The Daily Telegraph, The Times Higher Education Supplement (Nov 4)

'£200m black hole' in medical student funding
The funding of medical training in the UK is so "opaque" that the government cannot know if it is getting value for the £2 billion a year it spends, according to a thinktank report. The Higher Education Policy Institute says £200 million is unaccounted for - and calls for a "wholesale reform" of the way medical education is funded. Money for educating doctors, dentists and nurses comes from both the NHS and higher education funding councils, and universities and hospitals share resources on an informal "knock for knock" basis.
The Guardian

Honorary doctorate for ex-pop star
Yusuf Islam, the former pop star also known as Cat Stevens, is today being presented with an honorary doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire. The high-profile convert to Islam, who has campaigned successfully for Muslim schools in England, will receive his degree from Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who is the chancellor of the university.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

Microsoft in deal with British Library to add 100,000 books to the internet
Microsoft yesterday announced a "strategic partnership" with the British Library that will allow the software group to digitise 25 million pages of content - the equivalent of 100,000 books. The deal will allow Microsoft to scan some of the collection and put digital copies of the books on the internet. The move will be seen as an attempt by the US software company to make up lost ground in its battle with Google, which unveiled its first digital book collection, pressing ahead with plans to digitise books from the world's leading libraries.
The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph , The Guardian

Astronomers say Draco's glow is the beginning of time
Astronomers have seen the beginning of time, using a space telescope that may have captured the primordial light from the first stars that formed after the Big Bang. The latest images from Nasa's Spitzer telescope are thought to be the murky light given off by the first objects to form in the universe more than 13 billion years ago. An infrared camera on the Spitzer took pictures of the constellation Draco and scientists masked out all stars and galaxies to reveal the background glow from the first stars.
The Independent, The Times

University unveils £2m study of deep-sea mountains
Scientists from a Scottish university are to lead a £2 million research project to explore the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the deepest and most inhospitable place on earth, it was revealed yesterday. The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a range of mountains that stretches from Iceland to the Azores deep beneath the Atlantic Ocean. The research project, which is being funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, will involve scientists from Aberdeen University's Oceanlab focusing on the Charlie Gibbs Fracture Zone, a giant canyon hundreds of miles long and about 20 miles wide, that cuts through the mountain range and connects the two halves of the ocean.
The Scotsman

New drug may stop deaths
Thousands of deaths and non-fatal heart attacks and strokes could be prevented each year with the use of a new drug to prevent blood clots. A study has shown that patients taking the drug clopidogrel with aspirin, a standard treatment, were less likely to suffer a heart attack or other cardiovascular events. The British Health Foundation said the research was the latest of several studies showing the benefits of the drug for patients with vascular disease and also for those who have had heart attacks.
The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman

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