Archive by date | February 2012

Aleppo science students march against Bashar

The Syrian city of Aleppo has been the quietest city amidst the unrest sweeping across the country – so quiet in fact that a visitor would be excused to think it isn’t a Syrian city. This has all started to change this week, however, as students from the Faculty of Science in Aleppo University started to go out in protests against the ruling regime, quickly joined by other students from the Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Engineering.  Read more

Scientists launch African agricultural monitoring system; global network to follow

Scientists launch African agricultural monitoring system; global network to follow

As previewed in Nature last fall, scientists at Conservation International and other institutions have launched a new initiative intended to gather and integrate data about agriculture, ecosystems and human well-being in Africa. Backed by an initial $10-million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the three-year project is expected to set the stage for a larger global monitoring system, organizers announced Thursday at a meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in Rome.  Read more

Canada confines mutant flu to maximum-security facilities

Canada this month announced that any research on mammalian-transmissible strains of the H5N1 avian flu virus in the country’s labs would need to be done at the strictest level of biocontainment, Biological Safety Level 4 (BSL-4). It’s the first country to issue a biosafety rating following the creation of such H5N1 strains in two recent controversial studies (see “Nature News Special: “Mutant Flu”).  Read more

Migrating eels often make meals

Melanie Beguer with unidentified eel

The American eel (Anguilla rostrata) makes one of the world’s  most elusive migrations. After spending most of their lives in rivers and estuaries from Greenland to northern South America, mature eels journey to the Sargasso Sea to spawn and die. Researchers have encountered larvae in the Sargasso Sea but never an adult eel and nobody has ever seen the spawning underway; the location of the spawning ground and the exact path the eels take remains a mystery.  Read more

University of Sydney sackings trigger academic backlash

One hundred academics at the University of Sydney, Australia, have this week been told they will lose their jobs for not publishing frequently enough. The move is part of a wider cost-cutting plans designed to pay for new buildings and refurbishment t the university.  Read more