Today's news

May 26, 2006

Oxford University wins animal rights injunction
Oxford University won a legal appeal today to increase the restrictions placed on demonstrators against a new animal research centre being built in the city. The university went to the High Court last week to extend an exclusion zone round the £20 million biomedical centre to keep demonstrators away. A judge at the High Court in London increased the zone and handed down new rulings on the amount of noise protesters can make. Colin Blakemore, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said the legal move had been designed to curb a "pattern of weekly disruption and loud noise by relatively large groups of people".
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail

Boycott and pay to dominate lecturers' conference
Britain's largest lecturers' union, Natfhe, will meet for the final time this weekend to debate two of the most controversial issues to dominate higher education in recent years. Members are expected to reignite the academic freedom debate when they discuss a proposed boycott of Israeli academics and institutions. The conference, which begins in Blackpool tomorrow, will also be updated on the lecturers' pay dispute, which is now threatening to delay graduations for as many as 300,000 final-year students.
The Guardian

The knife attack that ended a university student's life
A frenzied knife attack ended the life of Daniel Pollen, 20, a student who had been waiting for a lift home after a night out with friends. Mr Pollen’s parents agreed to release closed-circuit television footage to raise awareness of knife crime and its devastating impact. Andrew Griffiths, Mr Pollen’s friend and fellow student, was repeatedly punched and stabbed during the assault. He described it in a statement read out to Woolwich Crown Court as a “70-second frenzy”. Mr Pollen of Buckhurst Hill, Essex, a student at Southampton University, suffered a stab wound and a broken jaw. He lost consciousness within a minute.
The Times

HIV-like virus found in wild chimps
Scientists have spotted the signs of an HIV-like virus in chimpanzees in southern Cameroon, confirming the long-held suspicion that these animals are a natural reservoir for the virus in the wild. The discovery bolsters the theory that the first people to contract HIV did so through contact with infected blood from wild chimps in the jungle, before eventually spreading the virus to nearby Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and onwards from there.
Nature, The Times, The Guardian, The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph

Tropics are expanding, says satellite study team
The belt of tropical climate around the planet appears to be widening, expanding the world's driest regions and reducing alpine snowfall. A new study shows that the atmosphere is warming faster in subtropical areas. Scientists examining more than 25 years of satellite data also found that each hemisphere's jet stream had moved toward the pole by about one degree of latitude, or 70 miles, marking a worrying new feature of global climate change.
The Daily Telegraph

How all the top footballers can bend it like Beckham
Football legend has it that some players can kick a ball in an S-shaped trajectory, so long as they line up the valve and seams. Now scientists using computers to simulate air flows have confirmed that a ball can snake its way into the goal in this method. Today, pioneering work at Sheffield University, in collaboration with Fluent Europe, has unravelled the mystery of such kicks. The research also suggests that the new Adidas Teamgeist 2006 Soccer Ball will move more predictably than ever.
The Daily Telegraph

Age-old debate is over: it was the egg that came before the chicken
A philosopher, backed up by a geneticist and a chicken farmer, have decided that the egg came before the chicken. The reason, they claim, is down to the fact that genetic material does not change during an animal's life. Therefore the first bird that evolved into what we would call a chicken, probably in prehistoric times, must have first existed as an embryo inside an egg. John Brookfield, a specialist in evolutionary genetics at Nottingham University, said the pecking order was clear. The living organism inside the eggshell would have had the same DNA as the chicken it turned into.
The Independent, The Times

Regarding academics having been offered a "very reasonable" pay deal.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph

To boycott Israeli academics would be akin to Nazism.
The Independent

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