ScienceScope

Science  24 Nov 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5496, pp. 1477
  1. Frosted

    Biomedical researchers may be nipped by an early freeze this winter thanks to Congress's inability to pass a spending bill for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Institute chiefs learned last week that the delay will probably force them to suspend cost-of-living increases for continuing grants due to go out early next month, and they plan to make cuts in new and competing grants as well.

    Congress is considering a bill that would give NIHa 15% increase, but election year politics has stalled work until at least next month. Mary Hendrix, president of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, says the uncertainty “is a very serious threat to biomedical research” and could be “devastating” as faculty plan for research and staffing in the next year.

  2. Sacked

    Indian scientists are in an uproar over the sudden removal last week of the head of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for alleged financial mismanagement. Agricultural minister Nitish Kumar said that Rajendra Singh Paroda, a prominent scientist who has headed the $300 million ICAR for the past 6 years, was sacked to allow for an “independent investigation” of allegations that he mishandled the purchase of computers as part of a loan from the World Bank. But Narendra Gupta, executive secretary of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, says that he doubts the allegations will hold up. The unprecedented removal of a well-regarded technocrat, he says, makes scientists “like sacrificial lambs in the hands of politicians.”

    ICAR, with 5000 scientists, is India's premier agriculture research agency and has played a crucial role in ushering in the Green Revolution. An ICAR spokesperson said that “there was a deathly silence after the news of the removal broke.”

  3. MirCorpse?

    After numerous resurrections, Russia's Mir may finally be headed for a fiery death. President Vladimir Putin's cabinet agreed last week to deorbit the space station, launched in 1986, in February 2001. The decision is bad news for Amsterdam-based MirCorp, which wanted to lease the station for science and tourism. But company officials still hold out hope, with one noting that Russian officials have “killed the station at least four times” before.