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Nature readers express their hopes and concerns for Budapest
24 June 1999
[LONDON] The ethical dimension of developments in science, environmental issues, concerns about poverty and privatization of knowledge, and bridging the knowledge gap between developed and developing countries, have emerged as priorities that readers of Nature's website would like next week's World Conference on Science to address. But they also express concern that there may be more talk than action.

Hungary seeks to open up the scientific community
24 June 1999
[LONDON] Opening up the scientific community to the whole of society should be the bottom line of the two key documents that are due to be adopted at the end of the World Conference on Science, according to Ferenc Glatz, the chairman of the Hungarian organizing committee.

Related stories from Nature [BACK TO TOP]

Compromise sought on 'Terminator' seed technology
17 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 721)
[LONDON] Scientific advisers to the United Nations Biodiversity Convention have given a mixed response to a more farmer-friendly alternative to the controversial 'Terminator' technology, in which seeds are genetically modified to become sterile after one season's planting.

Five nations bid to host Middle East synchrotron
17 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 722)
[PARIS] A proposal for an international research centre in the Middle East, built around a synchrotron to be donated by Germany, was officially launched at a meeting in Paris last week. Bids to host the centre were submitted by Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.

Gore under fire in controversy over South African AIDS drug law
17 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 717)
[WASHINGTON] US Vice-President Al Gore's campaign for the presidency has became caught up in an escalating controversy over his opposition to a South African law aimed at providing low-cost AIDS drugs.

Patent on umbilical-cord cells rejected in Europe...
17 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 626)
[PARIS] Researchers last week won their challenge to a European patent on the use of stored stem cells from umbilical-cord blood, a technology with promising applications in bone marrow transplants and gene therapy. The patent was granted three years ago to the US company Biocyte.

... as US bid to patent human-animal hybrid fails
17 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 626)
[LONDON] The US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected a provocative patent application filed by two prominent biotechnology critics on techniques for combining human and animal cells to create hybrids or chimaera.

Scientific societies build better nations
17 June 1999
[LONDON] Scientific societies in the developing world must take a stake in their countries' future. They should be proactive in fostering a culture supportive of economic development driven by science and technology.

Middle East synchrotron facility could bring regional research cooperation
10 June 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 507)
[LONDON] Scientists and science administrators from the Middle East, Europe, the United States and the Far East are due to meet in Paris next week to discuss plans for a joint synchrotron radiation facility, the first regional centre for cooperation in basic research in the Middle East.

Pakistan prime minister pledges science boost
27 May 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 507)
[LONDON] Pakistan's prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has announced plans for a 1 billion rupee (US$22 million) investment in science and technology. The announcement was made on the first anniversary of Pakistan's nuclear tests last year.

UK panel says GM crops a 'moral imperative' for Third World ...
27 May 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 396)
[LONDON] Western researchers and governments have a "moral imperative" to help develop genetically modified crops that meet the social needs and agricultural conditions of the Third World, according to Britain's main independent advisory body on bioethics.

... and backs government rejection of moratorium
27 May 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 396)
[LONDON] A decision last month by the British government to strengthen the monitoring of genetically modified (GM) foods but to resist pressure for a moratorium on their commercial planting has been endorsed by the country's main bioethics advisory body.

South Africa to make AIDS a notifiable disease
27 May 1999 (See Nature Volume 399 page 288)
[CAPE TOWN] South Africa's Minister of Health, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has proposed that AIDS should be made a notifiable disease, a move intended to help reduce the spread of an infection that now affects one in ten South Africans.

Warning on plans for global electronic journal
27 May 1999
[PARIS] The editor of The Lancet has warned that plans for a global web site for the life sciences - 'E-Biomed' - may reinforce the Anglo-Saxon domination of publishing, discriminating against scientists from non-English language speaking and developing countries.

More US labs may curb visits by foreigners
20 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 189)
[WASHINGTON] Fermilab, Brookhaven and the Department of Energy's other non-weapons laboratories could be caught up in the powerful backlash against foreign visitors to government laboratories which has accompanied this year's allegations of Chinese spying at the Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico.

Chinese reform pushes R&D into the market-place
20 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 191)
[BEIJING] In a major reform of its public sector research system, the Chinese government has decided to convert into self-supporting enterprises 242 research institutes that currently operate under ten government agencies.

Biotech not the answer to hunger, says UK charity
13 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 99)
[LONDON] The British charity Christian Aid has challenged biotechnology companies to prove that genetically modified food is the answer to global hunger. In a report, Selling Suicide: Farming, False Promises and Genetic Modification in the Developing World, published in London last week, the charity claims that better distribution is a more appropriate solution to hunger than improvements in technology.

British government under fire for failing to back Unesco efforts
13 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 100)
[LONDON] British supporters of Unesco remain at loggerheads with the government over the extent to which it is prepared to support Britain's membership of the UN agency, which it rejoined in 1997 after a 12-year absence.

Drug company backs Africa's war on AIDS
13 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 96)
[WASHINGTON] A leading maker of AIDS drugs announced plans last week to take the corporate lead on another front: fighting the disease in southern Africa. The $18.3 billion company, Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), will give $100 million over the next five years to a programme of clinical research, physician training and AIDS education, prevention and treatment.

Mixed response to NIH plan for global biomed web journal
6 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 8)
[PARIS AND WASHINGTON] A proposal by Harold Varmus, the director of the US National Institutes of Health, for a global web site known as E-Biomed that would centralize much of the biomedical literature and make it freely accessible has met with a mixed reaction from publishers and scientists worldwide.

Africa boosts its biotechnology efforts
6 May 1999 (see Nature Volume 399 page 6)
[LONDON] Governments in Africa have set up an agency to help develop biotechnology across the continent. The African Agency of Biotechnology, which is based in Algiers, will hold its first regional workshop in September in Algiers.

Scientists split on US smallpox decision
29 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 741)
[WASHINGTON] Reversing a position it took as a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1996, the Clinton administration announced last week that it would preserve one of the two known stores of live smallpox virus, housed at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta.

Transplant panel 'could be model for ethics thinktank'
22 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 643)
[PARIS] A small group of academics will meet in Canada in June to discuss new ways to generate public debate on the risks and benefits of xenotransplantation -- the transplant of animal cells, tissues and organs. The meeting's organizers hope the issue may serve as a testbed for the creation of an international think-tank covering ethics, science and governance.

Indian science 'unlikely to be affected by fall of government'
22 April 1999
[NEW DELHI] India's senior science administrators say that fall of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government last week is unlikely to have a significant impact on the country's science and technology activities, provided the budget is passed without cuts by the new government.

US firm's bid to sequence rice genome causes stir in Japan
15 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 545)
[TOKYO] The Japanese government's Rice Genome Sequencing Project has been thrown into turmoil by the news that Celera Genomics, the US company set up by geneticist J. Craig Venter, plans to sequence the entire rice genome in just six weeks.

Brazilian scientists team up for human genome project
8 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 360)
[ SÃO PAULO ] Researchers in the Brazilian state of São Paulo have entered the competitive field of human genome sequencing with the signing of an agreement between São Paulo's state funding agency (FAPESP) and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

Pay awards split Indian researchers
8 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 360)
[ NEW DELHI] The awarding of higher salaries and financial perks to government scientists in India's departments of defence, atomic energy and space - but not other agencies or universities - has divided the country's scientific community.

Science in Latin America
1 April 1999 (see Supplement to Nature Volume 398, issue No. 6726).
A 32-page special supplement examines the challenges and opportunities facing science in Latin America today, concentrating in particular on Brazil, Argentina and Mexico (as the three dominant powers in the region), Chile (as an innovator) and Cuba (as an exception).

Asian countries link up to protect plant resources
1 April 1999 (see Nature Volume 398 page 360)
[ NEW DELHI] Seven countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) reached an agreement last week not to pass on the plant genetic resources that they exchange among themselves to any country outside the association.

WHO bioethics code set to stir debate
18 March 1999

[PARIS] Bioethics guidelines drawn up by the World Health Organization (WHO) are likely to form the basis of the first comprehensive international legal text on the potential risks of developments in biology and medicine.

India falls into line on patents
18 March 1999

[NEW DELHI] After a delay of more than three years, the Indian parliament finally agreed last week to amend the country's 29-year-old patent law, bringing it in line with other members of the World Trade Organization.

Africa splits over bar to plant patents
11 March 1999

[LONDON] An Africa-wide consensus to restrict the patenting of plant varieties by overseas companies appears to be in disarray following a decision by 16 representatives of French-speaking African countries to break ranks.

Unesco launches web-site competition
11 March 1999

[PARIS] Unesco is inviting entries for its 1999 Web Prize Competition in which two $5,000 prizes will be given to the creators of Internet web-sites that excel in the fields of science, education and culture.

Indian budget boost targets innovation, vaccines and genetics
4 March 1999

[NEW DELHI] Funding for Indian science is to be increased next year to US$2.44 billion -- 3.6 per cent of the total national budget -- under proposals submitted by the Bharatiya Janata Party government to parliament last week.

UK panel seeks protection for indigenous knowledge
25 February 1999

[LONDON] The British government has been urged by its leading environment advisory panel to take a pro-active role in international efforts to find better ways to reward the intellectual property rights of indigenous peoples over biological resources.

Mexico to overhaul R&D funding
18 February 1999

[MEXICO CITY] The administration of Mexican president Ernesto Zedillo is seeking more central co-ordination of the way public funding for research is allocated and administered.

Intellectual property rules 'too rigid'
4 February 1999

[LONDON] The chief economist at the World Bank has warned that countries that encourage an excessively strong intellectual property rights regime risk inhibiting the growth of their knowledge-based industries.

US cancer body 'must do more for minorities'
28 January 1999

[WASHINGTON] The US National Cancer Institute is falling short in strategic planning, data collection and spending on cancer research in minorities and the poor, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM).

India approves use of genetically-modified crops
21 January 1999

[NEW DELHI] Undeterred by criticism from environmental groups, the Indian government announced last week that it will encourage the use of genetically modified seeds in agriculture.

Global 'eco-survey' plan gets a rough ride
14 January 1999

[PARIS] A plan for a global assessment of the world's ecoysystems, under which thousands of scientists from around the world would assess the extent to which ecosystems can continue to support human needs, has received a lukewarm response from governments, despite enthusiastic support from scientists and environment policymakers.

Science and Development 7 January 1999

World Bank backs Third World centres of excellence plans
24 December 1998

[WASHINGTON] A global chain of scientific centres of excellence in developing countries is being planned by the World Bank, private foundations and several governments, intended to galvanize a rapid increase in their scientific and technical strength.

Italy backs Third World science body
17 December 1998

[TRIESTE] The Italian government announced last week that it has agreed to make a long-term financial commitment to the Third World Academy of Sciences.

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