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Sad farewell to voice of rugby

Hundreds of people are expected to gather today for the funeral of veteran rugby commentator Bill McLaren.

McLaren, who was known as the "voice of rugby" and retired in 2002 after almost 50 years as a broadcaster, died aged 86 in hospital last week.

He received an OBE, CBE and MBE for services to the sport and combined his work as a broadcaster with that of a PE teacher until 1987.

The service will be held at the Teviot Church in his home town of Hawick in the Scottish Borders.

McLaren's final commentary was the game between Wales and Scotland in 2002.

Obama skips jury service

President Barack Obama will be skipping jury duty after being summoned to a suburban court in Chicago,Illinois.

The White House confirmed that the US president alerted the court three weeks ago that he won't be able to make it after the summons was sent to his home in the city.

With his first State of the Union speech set for Wednesday, Obama has a busy week ahead.

Beijing warns on pollution

Beijing's mayor Guo Jinlong has warned the Chinese capital faces an "extremely serious" pollution problem, unveiling a target for "blue sky days" below the number achieved for all of 2009.

Beijing is frequently enveloped in foul-smelling smog, the result of a private car boom, the rapid development of industry, and a reliance on coal power stations for electricity.

Guo promised the city of 17 million would give greater priority to public transport.

Gene find may aid cancer care

An abnormality in two genes can make a common class of chemotherapy drugs used to fight breast cancer less effective.

However, US. researchers said the finding could help doctors better tailor treatments.

They said changes in two genes on a small region of chromosome 8q made tumours resist the effects of drugs called anthracyclines, but not other types of chemotherapy drugs.