S Korea strips top scientist Hwang of title
South Korea's government stripped disgraced cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-suk of his "top scientist" title on Wednesday, just days after his university fired him for stem cell fraud.
Hwang received the title in last June in recognition of his purported breakthroughs in stem cell research that raised hopes for the use of stem cells to develop new cures for hard-to-treat diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
But the government warned in January that it planned to withdraw the honour after revelations that Hwang's research claims were faked. On Wednesday, the Science Ministry-affiliated committee that awarded Hwang the title met to formally divest him of the honour, said Hong Nam-pyo, a ministry spokesman.
Hwang was the first and only recipient of the title that earns the holder 3 billion won (US$3.1 million; euro2.55 million) a year in government's financial support. Hwang received 3 billion won last year, but the government froze the fund right after the scandal broke, the spokesman said.
On Monday, Seoul National University fired Hwang over the scandal. He had been a professor there since 1986. Hwang has publicly apologized for the scandal, but claims other researchers deceived him with falsified research results. Hwang may also face criminal charges as prosecutors have been investigating the scandal.