Forensic Investigation at Kent Police; New chemicals legislation; RSC has applauded Russia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; MPs on the UK's House of Commons science and technology committee.

  • The former head of Forensic Investigation at Kent Police, UK, Jim Fraser, is to join the University of Strathclyde as head of the university’s forensic science unit. The publicised move adds weight to a growing feeling among UK chemists that chemistry as an undergraduate option is fast giving way to more popular chemistry-related choices like forensic science. Fraser has been involved in the development of a UK policy for forensic science as well as setting standards for the competence of expert witnesses in trials. 
  • The workability of the proposed new chemicals legislation, Reach, will be tested in a pilot project, Sport - Strategic partnership on Reach testing. The European Commission, member states and the chemical industry will trial eight substances or substance groups. A final report is expected in mid-2005 and interim results will be reported as they become available. 
  • The Royal Society has applauded Russia’s ratification of the Kyoto Protocol which enables the protocol to come into force. Sir David Wallace, vice president of the Royal Society, said: ’President Putin has listened to the international scientific consensus that clearly points us towards the need to tackle urgently this global threat. In doing so he has withstood the dissenting voices from within his own government that preach inaction.’ 
  • MPs on the UK’s House of Commons science and technology committee have asked the government to reconsider its position on scientific publications after it issued an ’obstructive’ response to the committee’s report, released earlier this year (see Chemistry World, Sept. 2004, p8). They claim the government’s response owes more to publishing interests than the best interests of the scientific community. Learned societies, however, share the government’s scepticism over the ’author-pays’ business model.