Today's news

January 5, 2007

Christian students sue in gay rights row
Christian students have launched a High Court battle against their university after they were banned from its facilities due to a refusal to accept gay rights. The legal move by the Christian Union at Exeter University could prove a test case. Rows over attempts to censor students with traditional beliefs have also taken place in London, Birmingham, Glasgow and Edinburgh. The row between universities and Christian groups centres on a clash in values, as unions and universities demand acceptance of gay equality from those who believe homosexual practice is wrong.
Daily Mail , The Times

Scientists fear ban on cloned embryo research
Scientists planning to use animal eggs to produce cloned human embryos for stem cell research fear the Government will ban the controversial technique to avert adverse publicity and misleading headlines about human-animal hybrids or chimaeras. The scientists, from Newcastle and Edinburgh universities and King's College London, told a press conference yesterday that they wanted to use rabbit or cow eggs for their work because human eggs were in very short supply.
Financial Times , Daily Telegraph , The Independent , The Times

Nursing places cut to ease the debts
Health Service chiefs have cut student nursing places at training colleges by up to a quarter to save money. The reduction, for the second year running, may force some universities to close the courses altogether. The threat to thousands of training places came as a leaked government document yesterday predicted a staffing crisis, with the NHS short of an estimated 14,000 nurses, 1,200 GPs and 1,100 junior and staff grade doctors by 2010.
Daily Mail , The Times

Lacrosse players go back to college as rape case unravels
Two college athletes accused in a sex case that exposed race and class divisions in America are to be allowed to return to their studies at one of country's top universities. The decision by Duke University to readmit the pair comes as the case, sparked by the claims of a black stripper, unravels amid charges of unethical conduct by the prosecutor.
The Times

BMJ poll to choose the top advance in medicine
The 15 greatest medical breakthroughs over the past century and a half are shortlisted today, with an invitation to the public to vote for the most significant "eureka moment" of them all. Antibiotics, public sanitation, the discovery of DNA and the contraceptive Pill are among the nominations announced by the British Medical Journal , which is carrying out the survey to celebrate its inauguration in 1840. The list has been compiled from more than 100 nominations by BMJ readers.
The Times

Found: the gene to create a perfect lawn
Scientists have identified a gene that could be used by plant breeders to make lawns stay green during droughts. An international team of researchers reports today that they have pinned down a vital DNA mutation from the grass species festuca. This disables a protein that normally plays a role in degrading chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green colour, so the plants do not go yellow. The "staygreen'' gene can do the same thing across a range of plant species.
Daily Telegraph

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