South Korean Supreme Court confirms Hwang’s sentence

The South Korean Supreme Court has upheld a 2010 ruling which sentences disgraced cloning expert Woo Suk Hwang to a one-and-a-half-year prison term for embezzlement and violation of the country’s bioethics law. The term comes with a two-year probation, however, and if Hwang does not commit a crime during that period, he will not have to serve jail time at all. This is the final judgment on a trial that started in 2006 and reached its first verdict in 2009 after 43 hearings involving 60 witnesses.  Read more

Hollande pledges to avoid cuts to France’s science funding

PARIS – French President François Hollande today promised to spare the research and higher education budget from savings of €50 billion (US$67 billion) that his government has pledged to find over the next three years to reign in its massive public deficit.  Read more

Climate comments push open-access publisher to terminate journal

A German academic publisher that has journals of respected scientific societies among its titles has announced that it shut down its journal Pattern Recognition in Physics, citing what it calls nepotistic reviewing and malpractice. The firm, Copernicus Publishing of Göttingen, Germany, was responding to a recent special issue on ‘solar variability’. “The special issue editors ultimately submitted their conclusions in which they ‘doubt the continued, even accelerated, warming as claimed by the IPCC project’,” the publisher wrote in its statement.  Read more

India’s heavy-lift rocket passes crucial test

With the successful liftoff of a Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) D 5 yesterday, India became the sixth nation to possess cryogenic propulsion rocket technology. The 415-tonne rocket successfully injected a 2-tonne communications satellite into the intended geosynchronous orbit, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has announced.  Read more

Patient’s suicide forces belated university investigation

In May 2004 Daniel Markingson, a patient with schizophrenia in an anti-psychotic drug trial at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, “stabbed himself to death in the bathtub with a box cutter, ripping open his abdomen and nearly decapitating himself,” as a magazine article would report six years later.  Read more

Taiwan scientist’s findings did not constitute defamation

The legal odyssey of Taiwanese environmental engineer Ben-Jei Tsuang has come to an end, as the petrochemical company that had accused him of libel did not appeal an earlier ‘not guilty’ verdict by the legally-required deadline of 20 November. The company had claimed that Tsuang’s release of data linking a petrochemical plant to increased cancer rates amounted to libel.  Read more

Balzan prizes honour research on ‘spooky action at a distance’ and infectious bacteria

Balzan prizes honour research on 'spooky action at a distance' and infectious bacteria

A physicist and a bacteriologist, both French, have claimed two of this year’s Balzan prizes, each worth 750,000 Swiss francs (US$ 800,000), the Italo-Swiss International Balzan Prize Foundation announced today.  Read more

Swedish scientists decry government links to anti-GMO ‘vandals’

A group of Swedish scientists challenged their government in an open letter on 22 October in which they alleged that Swedish foreign aid has supported vandalism in the Philippines against research plots of genetically modified crops.  Read more