Archive by date | December 2011

Institute claims victory in civil suit against Judy Mikovits

Institute claims victory in civil suit against Judy Mikovits

Judy Mikovits has lost a civil lawsuit filed by her former employer, the Whittemore Peterson Institute for Neuro-Immune Disease (WPI). The Reno, Nevada laboratory was seeking return of laboratory notebooks, a computer and other materials it claims Mikovits possessed. Judge Brent Adams of Washoe County, Nevada Court ruled in favour of WPI on 19 December, according to the court docket. In a statement, WPI’s lawyer, Carli West Kinne of SNR Denton, said: “At yesterday’s civil hearing, the Honorable Brent Adams found that Dr. Mikovits’ degree of non-compliance with the court’s orders was willful and deliberate without justification. Consequently, the judge entered  … Read more

Hubble repairman to lead NASA science division

Hubble repairman to lead NASA science division

It’s official: NASA has named John Grunsfeld to head up the science mission directorate at the agency. One month ago, Nature was tipped that the astrophysicist and five-time shuttle astronaut had been tapped to head up the $5 billion division. As a veteran repairman on the Hubble telescope servicing missions, and as the current deputy director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Grunsfeld should be well equipped to deal with the agency’s flagship mission: the $8 billion James Webb Space Telescope. He will take the reins on 4 January.  Read more

Croatia’s largest research institute hit by tax evasion charges

Posted on behalf of Mico Tatalovic. The largest public research institute in Croatia, Ruđer Bošković Institute in Zagreb, has been found to have evaded tax payments, mainly through fictitious student contracts. The Ministry of Finance’s tax administration report, released last week, found that the institute failed to pay 7.5 million Kuna (around US$1.3 million) in tax through various illegal activities in 2008. For example, researchers claimed around 2.2 million Kuna for paying expenses to student volunteers through false contracts for students who did not work at the institute. The report looks at finances for 2008, before executive director Danica Ramljak  … Read more

Fukushima reaches cold shutdown

The Fukushima nuclear plant / TEPCO

Today the Japanese government announced that three reactors which suffered meltdowns in early March had officially reached “cold shutdown”. Perhaps inevitably, many in the press are reporting the announcement as a “major milestone” in the Fukushima saga. But in truth, cold shutdown will mean very little in any practical sense for what goes on at the plant. Nor is it likely to change the fate of the thousands of evacuees who were forced to leave their homes following the Fukushima crisis.  Read more

US chimpanzee research to be curtailed

Posted on behalf of Meredith Wadman. In a watershed moment for chimpanzee research, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) today released a report declaring that “most current use of chimpanzees for biomedical research is unnecessary” and recommending the sharp curtailing of government-funded research on humankind’s closest genetic relative.   Within an hour, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds the government’s  research on Pan troglodytes, announced that he accepted the recommendations and would move to implement them as swiftly as possible. “I have considered the report carefully and have decided to accept the IOM committee  … Read more