Today's news

January 10, 2007

French business school appoints professor of champagne
It must surely be the dream job. British-born Australian Stephan Charters is to spend his working days sipping the finest French champagne, all in the name of research. Leading French business school, Reims Management School, has appointed the international wine expert as the head of its champagne chair. The professor of champagne will be responsible for developing the research activities for the chair and implementing a series of specialist courses at masters, MBA and executive education level. The school, which has excellent links with the industry, has attracted a steady flow of executives to its MBA and executive programmes.
The Guardian

Parents offer reward to find British student
A British couple offered a large reward yesterday in a final attempt to discover what happened to their son who disappeared in Cambodia more than two years ago. Mike and Jo Gibson, from Hove in East Sussex, have travelled five times to south-east Asia in the hunt for Eddie, a student at the University of Leeds. They last heard from him in October 2004, when he was 20. In Phnom Penh yesterday they offered $20,000 (around £10,300) for information leading to the "recovery" of their son. The couple said they hoped that Eddie had survived, but they needed to know his fate. "We fear he may not be alive," Mr Gibson, 59, a corporate financier, said.
The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

History sleuth's odyssey to Homer's island
An amateur historian produced evidence yesterday to back his claim to have found the island homeland of Homer's legendary Greek king, Odysseus. Scholars have argued for centuries over the whereabouts of Ithaca, the lost kingdom of the hero of the Trojan war. But Robert Bittlestone, a management consultant from Kingston-on-Thames, Surrey, and two professors of classics and geology have suggested the location is not the Greek island of Ithaki, but Paliki - a peninsula of Kefalonia. If true, it would be the greatest classical discovery since Heinrich Schliemann found the site of Troy in Turkey in the 1870s, and would establish Odysseus as a figure from history as opposed to a figment of Homer's imagination.
The Daily Telegraph

Nobel scientists urge fertility watchdog to back hybrid embryos
Leading scientists, including three Nobel prizewinners, have called on the Government’s fertility watchdog to back the creation of “human-animal” embryos. In a letter 45 experts including the President of the Royal Society, urge the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority not to bar research that could help patients with currently incurable conditions such as motor neuron disease and Alzheimer’s. The HFEA meets today to consider its policy towards fusing animal eggs with human DNA to create short-lived embryos for research. Three teams have applied for permission to create such embryos.
The Times

Scott's last letter 'to widow' goes on show
Captain Scott's final letter - written as he "faced the inevitable" while trying to return from the South Pole in 1912 - is to go on public display for the first time. Robert Falcon Scott wrote the letter - which will form part of an exhibition of the explorer's correspondence being staged in Cambridge later this month - to his wife, Kathleen, on scraps on his journal. His family has given the letter, and other correspondence written during Scott's final expedition to the Antarctic, to Cambridge University. The correspondence will go on show at the university's Scott Polar Research Institute, set up in the explorer's memory, from January 17 - the 95th anniversary of Scott's arrival at the South Pole.
The Independent

Spicy food could provide compound to fight cancers
The compound that makes spicy food hot and generates the heat in muscle strain remedies could be the key to a new generation of cancer drugs which kill tumours with no side effects, a leading scientist has said. Capsaicin, the active component of chillies, has produced "startling" results in tests to kill a variety of tumour cells including pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult versions of the disease to treat. Dr Timothy Bates, who led the research at Nottingham University, said his team have discovered a potential Achilles heel for all cancers because capsaicin targets the "powerhouse", or energy source, of tumour cells.
The Independent

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