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V. S. Naipaul Declares Literature Dead

Sunday, June 8, 2008
From the Independent:

"The novelist V S Naipaul has damned the achievements of his literary contemporaries by declaring that there are 'no more great writers.'"

"He made his outspoken comments while at a launch of a new magazine at the Wallace Collection, in London. 'Publishing has gone down in quality so much in recent years and the problem is that there is no literary life any more because there are quite simply no more great writers,' he said."

Does this include the author of A House for Mr. Biswas?

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Coca-Cola to Remove Potentially-Dangerous Additive From Products by August

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In an article in The Independent, Martin Hickman reports that Coca-Cola, the world's largest manufacturer of soft drinks has decided to phase out the use of sodium benzoate in its beverages "where technically possible" by August. Although sodium benzoate is a naturally-occurring chemical and is found in some common fruits, the concentration of the substance in products such as Diet Coke tends to be extremely high.

Widely used as a preservative, sodium benzoate has been shown to damage DNA in yeast cells and, according to a study conducted by researchers at England's Southampton University, sodium benzoate (E211) is "one of seven E-numbers found to worsen hyperactivity" in humans. Furthermore, "[i]f combined with vitamin A, sodium benzoate can form a potentially carcinogenic substance, benzene."

It is not known whether sodium benzoate, which is also found in several popular Pepsi products, will affect human DNA.

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