Today's news

January 22, 2007

A million more pay top rate as Brown lets allowances lag
More than a million extra people have been drawn into the top-rate tax net since Labour took power as a result of Gordon Brown’s failure to lift personal allowances to keep pace with rising pay. The top rate of 40 per cent will affect 3.25 million people this financial year - up by 56 per cent from barely more than two million when the Conservatives left office in 1997. Among workers now caught by top-rate tax are many university lecturers, and tens of thousands of civil servants and local government officers. Most of them paid the basic rate when the Tories left power.
The Times

Harvard course for Chinese academics
Senior faculty from 18 leading business schools in China, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan are taking part in a faculty development programme at Harvard Business School aimed at raising the standard of management education in greater China.
The Financial Times

Top scientist criticises climate-change teaching
The teaching of climate change and global warming in schools is dogged by "omission, simplification and misrepresentation", leading scientists have claimed. Richard Pike, the chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, is calling for a review group to help look at how the issues should be tackled in the classroom - and avoid flawed presentations to pupils.
The Independent

Women at cancer risk shunning smear test
Tens of thousands of young women are putting themselves at risk of cervical cancer by not turning up for their smear tests. Every year, 660,000 women aged 25-29 are invited for screening in England. But in 2005-06, only 69.4 per cent of them did so, compared with almost 80 per cent in 1995. The drop has been attributed to complacency and an increasing reluctance to undergo an unpleasant and invasive procedure. Alison Fiander, gynaecological oncologist at Wales College of Medicine, University of Cardiff, said: “It is worrying that the very women most at risk of precancerous cervical disease - younger women - are those who are choosing to stay away from screening in increasing numbers.”
The Times

'Switch' that may turn off cancer
A potential way to "switch off" cancer has been discovered by scientists at Oxford University. The mechanism involves a form of RNA - a genetic molecule similar to DNA - that could play a key role in the growth of tumour cells. The researchers identified a previously unknown form of RNA that regulates a gene that controls tumour growth. The gene produces an enzyme, dihydrofolate reductase, that helps determine the rate at which cells divide. The newly discovered RNA decides whether the gene is "on" or "off". Researchers hope it can be used to switch off the DHFR gene and stop cancer developing.
The Daily Telegraph

Robot nurses could be on the wards in three years, say scientists
Robot nurses could be bustling around hospital wards in as little as three years. The mechanised "angels" - being developed by EU-funded scientists - will perform basic tasks such as mopping up spillages, taking messages and guiding visitors to hospital beds. They could also be used to distribute medicines and even monitor the temperature of patients remotely with laser thermometers. Working in teams, the intelligent robots will be able to communicate with each other and co-ordinate their duties. Scientists from the universities of Warwick, Cardiff, Dublin and Newcastle are among the engineers and software experts taking part in the "IWARD" project.
The Scotsman

From the weekend's papers:


  • Oxford and Cambridge demand special treatment to survive as global brands. The Financial Times


  • The head of New College, Oxford, says the university should have a lottery to select 30 per cent of undergraduates. The Sunday Times

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