Short items

Chemistry class explosives 
Police in Lincoln, US, were hunting for  explosives apparently handed out to chemistry students by their  university lecturer . The University of Nebraska-Lincoln says the devices were about the size of a large firecracker, adding that disciplinary action against professor John Belot Jr. was being considered. 
Fremont Tribune, 11 September 2006   

Patent protests 
Campaigners are rallying against Swiss pharma giant    Novartis , which has filed a case in Madras’ high court applying for a patent for the cancer drug, Gleevec. The  protest follows the success of activists in forcing GlaxoSmithKline to withdraw the patent application for its HIV/AIDS drug combivir in India. 
Times of India, 24 August 2006   

Forensic backlog 
A backlog in evidence testing has led to the  dismissal of at least two cases and left inmates in Tarrant County jail waiting for lab results. Ten forensics labs have closed statewide, including a private lab in Fort Worth. 
Star Telegram, 5 September 2006    

Malaysia’s development plans 
Malaysia has unveiled a blueprint to attain   developed country status by 2020, but its target of 6.3 per cent average economic growth falls short of the pace the government previously said was needed to meet that goal. Malaysia’s growth last touched the seven per cent mark in 2004. 
Malaysia Star, 7 September 2006   

Award for Nigerian chemist 
The Nigeria Academy of Science has awarded The  Nigeria Prize for Science (2006) to Michael Umale Adikwu, professor of chemistry at the University of Nigeria Nsukka. The award was made in light of work on the beneficial effects of snail mucin for the topical treatment of wounds and burns.  
Nigerian Tribune,   7 September 2006