Astronomical speculation shrouds Comet Elenin, which takes 11,600 years to orbit the Sun and will make its closest approach to Earth on 16th October. Nasa is confident that this icy cosmic visitor, which will come to within 35 million kilometres and be visible through binoculars and telescopes, does not spell Armageddon. “Right now, that comet looks kind of wimpy,” confesses a disappointed official.
Controversial plans to allow EU member states to ban GM crops, even if they are deemed safe for health, are likely to be discussed by the European council this month, according to Nature. Until now, countries blocking the spread of genetically modified organisms risked falling foul of international trade law. But a July vote saw the European parliament vote in favour of giving countries more leeway to opt out.