Today's news

June 30, 2006

Vatican vows to expel stem cell scientists from Church
Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated, the Vatican said yesterday. "Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing," said Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family. "Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law," he said in an interview with Famiglia Christiana , an official Vatican magazine.
The Daily Telegraph

University's Kenya link
A Kenyan college will be able to offer degree courses for the first time thanks to a new partnership with Napier University. The partnership with Mombasa Polytechnic will see Napier provide syllabus material and training to lecturers at the polytechnic so its students have the option of studying for the new qualification. A delegation from Kenya was due in Edinburgh today. Napier principal Joan Stringer said: "Napier is proud to be the first Scottish university to establish such a partnership."
The Scotsman

No nursing jobs for students at end of training
Large numbers of student nurses due to graduate this year have been unable to find jobs, a survey has found. The Council of Deans, the body that represents university nursing courses, asked its members to estimate the percentage of students who had secured jobs and the percentage it expected to secure jobs and compare that with last year. Where 70 per cent of students graduating in September would normally have found jobs by this stage in the year, only an estimated 20 per cent have done so. At one university the rate was just 2 per cent, where it would normally be 90 per cent.
The Daily Telegraph, The Independent

Adult study improves schoolwork, parents report
Mothers who undertake study are likely to see an improvement in their children's education, a new Bristol University report reveals. Results from a survey for the Department for Education and Skills show that parents who did some form of study felt it had a positive impact on their children's schoolwork. Many also reported feeling more confident as a parent, the survey found. The findings, published by the DfES, were from research involving more than 5,000 families taking part in the Children of the 90s study at Bristol. The children were aged between 9 and 12 at the time of the survey, in 2004.
The Guardian

Job satisfaction secret of happiness
Job satisfaction is the key to happiness and wellbeing - ranking above family life, health and wealth - according to research by a team of economists at a Scottish university. In a European-wide study, the researchers at Aberdeen University, also uncovered evidence of a dramatic increase in the number of stress-related illnesses in recent years among employees working in demanding jobs with tight deadlines. Ioannis Theodossiou, who led the research team, said the three-year study had highlighted a number of key findings that demonstrated the link between job satisfaction and an individual's quality of life.
The Scotsman

Heriot-Watt chief retires
A new principal and vice-chancellor is to be appointed at a Scottish university after its previous occupant decided to step down. Heriot-Watt University is currently advertising for the position, which will be vacated by John Archer later this year. Professor Archer led the research-led institution, which specialises in engineering, science and business, for more than a decade following previous work at universities in London.
The Scotsman

Scandal-hit charity's £1.5m for cancer team
A cancer research team in Dundee is to receive a £1.5 million windfall from a scandal-hit charity. The donation was approved yesterday by a judge at the Court of Session, where three years ago charity watchdogs exposed mismanagement at Paisley-based Breast Cancer Research (Scotland). An accountant appointed to take over the running of the charity has gathered in funds of £2.15 million, and intends to give the money to Dundee University's breast cancer research centre at Ninewells Hospital. At yesterday's hearing, Lord Glennie was asked for permission to make the initial payment of £1.5 million.
The Scotsman

Stilts confirm ants count their paces
A bizarre experiment that involved putting ants on stilts has demonstrated that the ants count paces to measure distances. Researchers know that desert ants use light cues from the sky to orient themselves on their journeys back to their nests but how they determine exact distances has been uncertain. Matthias Wittlinger and Harald Wolf at University of Ulm, Germany, and Professor Rudiger Wehner in Zurich, altered the legs on a group of ants to test the idea that they use stride length. Some had pig bristles glued on to their legs while others had legs shortened by amputation.
The Daily Telegraph, New Scientist, The Times

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