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Review panel: Faced with numerous criticisms and an acknowledged mistake in its last assessment in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC appointed the InterAcademy Council to conduct an independent review of its procedures on 10 March. The council, an international organization representing national science academies worldwide, will itself appoint a team to conduct the review later this month. The team will target a range of IPCC procedures as well as larger questions of organization, resources and communications. The final report is expected by August.

Stemcell law: Legislation codifying US President Barack Obamas policy of allowing federal funding for human embryonic stemcell research was introduced in Congress on 10 March. Representatives Diana DeGette Democrat, Colorado and Mike Castle Republican, Delaware sponsored the Stem Cell Research Advancement Act. The aim is to prevent the current presidential policy from being changed by future administrations. The proposed law, like Obamas policy, allows federal funding for research on stemcell lines derived from embryos created for reproductive purposes that would otherwise be discarded.

Braindrain reversal: Israels cabinet has approved a fiveyear plan to bring Israeliborn researchers back to the country. As part of the scheme, to which the cabi michael kors watches on sale net has allocated US$121 million, 30 centres of excellence will from this September begin to be established at the countrys universities, creating positions for young scientists, social scientists and humanities researchers. The universities will have to raise further unspecified funds from private sources.

Acid ruling: The US Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to develop guidance to help US states address the increase in ocean acidification caused by carbon dioxide absorption. The decision, spelled out in an 11 March federal court settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity, based in Tucson, Arizona, stops short of regulation but does not preclude such action in the future.

Nuclear stalling: Indias coalitionled government has deferred introducing legislation that would have smoothed michael kors watches on sale the way towards IndoUS trade in nuclear technology. The delayed bill would cap the liability of foreign nuclear reactor suppliers at 5 billion rupees US$110 million, a clause that US companies would like as a precondition of selling nuclear equipment. Opposition parties in India protested that the cap would allow US companies to avoid responsibility for accidents. Countries such as France and Russia have already agreed to supply nuclear reactors to India, but an IndoUS nuclear deal signed in 2008 has still not resulted in trade.

Animal market shakeup: On 9 March, drug companies Merck and SanofiAventis announced that they would merge their animalhealth businesses. Merck, headquartered in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and SanofiAventis, headquartered in Paris, will have equal ownership in the new venture, which would be the largest player in the US michael kors watches on sale $19billion animalhealth market.


The appetite for lithium to supply batteries in mobile phones, laptops and electric cars is growing, but supplies are forecast to outstrip demand over the next decade. That would keep lithium prices low and put eager new suppliers of the element out of business.

TRU Group, a consultancy based in Toronto, Canada, says that demand for lithium purified sufficiently for use in batteries will more than double over the coming decade, thanks in part to electric cars. Mining firms are busily signing deals with car manufacturers to supply lithium, and a few dozen new entrants are proposing other production ventures.

But TRU Group president Edward Anderson says that existing suppliers, mainly in South America, are fully capable of meeting demand see chart. With the new proposals, the result is a nearly 50 oversupply in 2012 and significant surpluses through to the end of the decade. Most of the money thats going into these new companies now is going to be lost to investors, Anderson says.

Chris Hartshorn, an analyst with Lux Research in Boston, Massachusetts, says that the lithium supply glut could carry over into the lithiumbattery market, resulting in an eventual shakeout of battery manufacturers. That is good for the market in the long run, he says, but there will be some carnage along the way.

Rocket testfires: On its second attempt, commercial spaceflight company SpaceX has successfully testfired all nine engines of its Falcon 9 rocket. The firm, based in Hawthorne, California, has a contract with NASA to take payloads to the International Space Station once the Shuttle retires. The 13 March static test precedes a full launch, which could happen within months.

Robot lost at sea: A pioneering underwater robot has been lost off the coast of Chile. First launched in 1995, the Autonomous Benthic Explorer, nicknamed ABE, was one of the earliest completely independent research submersibles, neither manned nor tethered to its research ship. It failed to resurface on its 222nd dive, perhaps because its buoyancy spheres imploded, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts announced on 9 March.

Institute shuffle: The US National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is to consolidate its national laboratories, says director Patrick Gallagher. He plans to reduce the number of agency labs from ten to six, putting researchers in larger, interdisciplinary groups aligned more with agency missions than individual scientific disciplines. Gallagher also wants to replace the deputy director position currently vacant with three associate directors respectively managing research at the agencys labs; external industry programmes; and information technology, human resources and facilities.


Seed vault banks half a million The Svalbard Global Seed Vault pictured, which opened two years ago, now holds more than 250 million seeds and 520,000 crop varieties around a third of the worlds known 1.5 million crop strains. The Global Crop Diversity Trust, which oversees the seed bank, announced the passing of the halfamillion landmark on 11 March. Installed in the side of a mountain at Longyearbyen, a town in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, the bunker is designed to keep samples of the worlds seeds safe at 18 C, for backup in case disaster strikes global food production.

Astronomer not guilty: Phil Charles, a leading astronomer who was suspended as director of the South African Astronomical Observatory in Cape Town, has been reinstated after a disciplinary hearing. The countrys main funding agency, the National Research Foundation, removed Charles from his post in January, citing the leaking of confidential documents, but says that the hearing found him not guilty on all charges. It did not explain what those charges were, and added that issues giving rise to the suspension might still exist and needed to be dealt with.


Geneticist dies: Human geneticist Leena PeltonenPalotie pictured died on 11 March, aged 57. She pioneered the use of isolated populations to discover disease genes, analysing those in her native Finland to illuminate the genetic basis of at least 20 diseases. Deeply engaged in bioethical debates about genetics, PeltonenPalotie was head of human genetics at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge, UK, and also headed research groups at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland and the National Institute for Health and Welfare, both in Helsinki. She was also an associate member at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Saudi shift: Jean Frchet, the highprofile organic polymer chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, has been appointed vicepresident for research at the newly opened King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. From June 2010 to June 2011, Frchet will oversee education and science at the fledgling universitys nine research centres, and will develop innovation and enterprise strategies.

Estimated decline in bluefin tuna in the West Atlantic between 1970 and 2007. Delegates at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora meeting in Doha, Qatar, are debating whether to ban international trade in the fish.

If I could get my hands on the person who proposed the current management structure I would strangle him.

William Brinkman, director of the US energy departments Office of Science, tells a departmental committee meeting there will be significant changes to the management of ITER, the fusion project that has suffered cost overruns and delays see Nature 463, 721; 2010. michael kors watches on sale