News at a glance: Lower pay for disabled Ph.D.s, more U.K. genomes, and quitting antismoking rules

Javier Milei LEADERSHIP Argentina’s president targets science The election last week of libertarian Javier Milei as Argentina’s next president has many of the nation’s scientists fearing the future. Milei, who won 55.7% of the vote, has vowed to close or dramatically restructure the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Argentina’s main science funding agency, and its health and environment ministries. He views climate change as a “socialist hoax.” Milei has called CONICET, which employs nearly 12,000 researchers and ranks as one of South America’s top government science agencies, “unproductive” and pledged to “clean up what was dirty by those scientists who write stupid things.” Researchers are vowing to fight changes they say will weaken CONICET. Milei, who takes office on 10 December, has few allies in Argentina’s legislature, and may not be able to persuade it to back sweeping changes. HEALTH POLICY New Zealand to nix smoking rules New Zealand’s new center-right governing coalition plans to scrap an antismoking law that scientists and public health officials had praised. The 2022 law mandates measures slated to take effect in coming years, such as a ban on selling tobacco products to anyone born after January 2009, a restriction allowing only 600 approved retailers to sell tobacco, and drastic reductions in the quantity of nicotine allowed in these products. Proponents of the controls predicted they would help the country achieve a smoking rate of less than 5% by 2025 . Similar measures recently announced by the United Kingdom are thought to be inspired by New Zealand. But last week, leaders of its incoming coalition government announced they would repeal the law and use revenue from taxing cigarettes to help cut other taxes. Health policy specialists say the move will likely widen the country’s health inequalities. SIGN UP FOR THE SCIENCE ADVISER […]

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By Donato