World encompassed

May 25, 2007

American labs attack anti-terror audit

US higher education institutions will have to undertake a "burdensome" audit of chemicals in their laboratories under proposed anti-terrorism measures, the body representing the sector has said.

The American Council on Education said universities, colleges and other institutions would have to inspect every room where science courses are taught to see if they contain any one of a list of more than 100 chemicals.

In a statement to the Department of Homeland Security, the council said:

"Even after this effort it is almost certain that not a single college or university will be found to be a chemical facility that presents a high risk of terrorist attack.

"We urge the DHS not to divert its resources from the important task of ensuring that chemical facilities are protected, by converting a programme intended to regulate chemical facilities into a programme to regulate any facility where minuscule amounts of a single chemical might exist."

ipod use may affect heart pacemakers

iPods can cause heart pacemakers to malfunction, according to a new study by a US high-school student working with two university medical schools.

Jay Thaker, a 17-year-old pupil from Michigan, worked with Krit Jongnarangsin of the University of Michigan on the study, which was presented at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting. Thaker, whose father is an electrophysiologist and whose mother is a rheumatologist, is interested in doing a similar study about how implantable cardioverter defibrillators are affected by iPods. Swedish researchers hail cancer work

Researchers at a Swedish university have found a way to treat a type of cancer without debilitating courses of chemotherapy.

The team at Karolinska Institutet took samples of colorectal cancer patients' lymphocytes, which the body produces to fight the disease.

The lymphocytes were cultivated in test tubes then injected them back into the patient's body to boost their immune system.

"Patients treated with this method fared better than those treated in the conventional way," said specialist physician Kjell Dahl. "In some patients, the tumour was completely eradicated."

More tests of the therapy are planned.

Call for campus safety centre

A national centre to share ideas about safety on US university campuses is needed in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings, a US congressional committee has heard.

Stephen J. Healy, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators, told the House of Representatives' Education and Labour Committee that a national centre would help officials to share ideas and develop the latest research on campus safety.

Blue-collar staff face cirrhosis risk

Blue-collar workers are two and half times more likely to die from alcohol-related liver disease than their white-collar counterparts, according to research carried out in Australia.

Jake Najman and Gail Williams of Queensland University and Robin Room of Stockholm University found that male Australian manual workers were far more likely to die of liver cirrhosis than men from professional groups.

Professor Najman said the study results suggested that men from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were in greater danger of cirrhosis of the liver because of heavy and binge drinking. Liver cirrhosis is the tenth largest killer of Australian men.

Obama loans proposal

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has proposed the abolition of state subsidies to banks providing student loans. He said that the money should instead be used to provide more loans for students. The loans subsidy system is believed to cost taxpayers about $6 billion (£3 billion) a year.

Mr Obama said: "We shouldn't be providing billions in taxpayer-funded giveaways to private banks. We should be providing an affordable, accessible college education to every American." Sarkozy plan sparks riots on paris campus Hundreds of French students staged a strike in protest against higher education reforms proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy, the new President.

Students blocked access to an annexe of Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne University. Anti-Sarkozy protesters clashed with other students who feared that the action could jeopardise their exams.

Francois Goulard, the Minster for Higher Education, called on the head of the university site to ensure courses continued and guarantee access to buildings.

Mr Sarkozy has proposed a new law to give universities the power to hire and fire staff, set salaries and manage their assets. He has also said that they should focus more on vocational courses, seek outside financing and be given more scope to expel students who under-perform. Fear of vultures kills off texas 'body farm'

A US university's plans for an outdoor "body farm" to study the decomposition of human corpses have been put on hold after opposition from a local airport.

Texas State University had planned the facility to help train police investigators in working out times of death and identifying bodies.

But the university decided not to use a site near an airport after officials feared that circling vultures could be a hazard for planes.

The "body farm" would have decomposing remains either partially buried or under cages to protect them from the scavenging birds. University officials told Reuters that they would now look for other sites for the facility.

Japan forces foreign students into sauna

A Japanese university has hit on a novel way to get itself noticed.

The International University of Japan in Niigata embarked on a world-record attempt to fit the largest number of nationalities into a sauna. Fifty foreign students showed their passports before squeezing into the sauna for almost seven minutes. The stunt celebrated the 25th anniversary of the university.

The university is now waiting for the record to be verified by the Guinness Book of Records . The previous record stands at 38 nationalities in a sauna, set in Kobe, Japan, in 2004.


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