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Despite a recent spike in cases, the World Health Organization has said that the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t reach the threshold of an international public-health emergency. Armed conflict and mistrust of Ebola responders among local populations are hampering efforts to curb the spread of the disease, which has infected more than 1,200 people so far in the latest outbreak. “We need all the help we can get — too many people are dying,” says Guillaume Le Duc of international aid group ALIMA.
Indonesians will vote on 17 April in a national election, and the stakes are high for science. President Joko Widodo says that if he is re-elected, he will create a single agency that will largely control how the country’s research is organized and funded. The main opposition candidate, former military general and nationalist Prabowo Subianto, has been silent on science so far.
One of the world’s rarest turtles, a Yangtze giant softshell (Rafetus swinhoei), died at the weekend, leaving just three known individuals remaining. The female turtle was at least 90 years old, and died shortly after a fifth attempt at artificial insemination. The cause of death is being investigated, and ovarian tissue was collected for future research.
FEATURES & OPINION
In 1916, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity in its full mathematical glory. Three years later, a solar eclipse conveniently allowed Arthur Eddington to test Einstein’s radical proposal. Eddington is now forever associated with two expeditions to view it: from Sobral in northern Brazil, and the island of Príncipe off the coast of West Africa. Those momentous ventures form the kernel of three books commemorating the centenary.
Ecologist Fernando T. Maestre lays out a step-by-step, fully referenced guide to making the working environment of labs more nurturing, collaborative and people-centred.
For more on how to grow a healthy lab, check out this collection.
In November, Chinese researcher He Jiankui caused huge controversy in the scientific community after claiming to have made the world’s first genome-edited babies. In the fall-out, many condemned the work as unethical and distanced themselves from He. But The New York Times reveals that Stanford University professor Stephen Quake is under investigation by his institution, after Chinese investigators alleged that he assisted He with his work. Quake denies the allegations.
QUIRKS OF NATURE
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