The nomination this week of Christine Lagarde, France’s finance minister, as head of the International Monetary Fund has prompted a cabinet reshuffle in the ruling conservative government, resulting in a change in the minister for science and higher education. Lagarde’s vacated ministerial position was filled by François Baroin, 46, former budget minister and government spokesperson. The two positions he’d held were in turn filled by Valérie Pécresse, 43 – a promotion for a rising star in French politics who had been science minister since president Nicolas Sarkozy nominated his first government in 2007 (read my 2008 interview with Pécresse here).
Research would be the only major area of the European Union’s 1 trillion budget from 2014-20 to expand, under a proposal released by the European Commission today.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has put Entergy Corporation on notice that he intends to shut down the Indian Point nuclear plant 35 miles north of Manhattan, likely representing yet another knock-on effect of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima in Japan. Read more
The Food and Drug Administration’s Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee voted today to move forward with its December decision to withdraw approval for the drug Avastin in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer. The committee’s vote was unanimous on the grounds that the available evidence doesn’t show that the drug is effective enough to justify serious toxic side effects, including severe high blood pressure, hemorrhage and heart failure. Read more
Once a year, information company Thomson Reuters publishes updates to a measure of popularity that every science journal displays in lights: its ‘impact factor’. This event, which happened again yesterday, always produces a slightly embarrassed buzz among science journal editors.