From today's UK papers

October 4, 2001

Today's main story
All students will be forced to pay a graduate tax under government plans to restore grants, in an embarrassing retreat from one of Labour's key education reforms. University tuition fees could also be abolished as ministers admitted for the first time that debt may be deterring young people from entering university.

Also today:

The Independent
A six-term school year, scrapping the two-week Easter holiday, should be introduced in all state schools within five years, education experts will say today.

Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussy-Cat" has been voted Britain's favourite children's poem in the first public poll of its kind, carried out by the BBC.

The extremist group Al-Muhajiroun has been banned from recruiting on campus. Its leader, Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad, claims it still has an active presence.

Universities feared overseas students would stay away after the New York attacks, but it is business as usual.

Daily Telegraph
Scientists in America have proved that God is in favour of test-tube baby treatment. Either that, or the results of a study on 200 women are a statistical fluke. In Columbia University's study of women undergoing in vitro fertilisation, the success rate doubled when a group prayed for pregnancy.

An independent school near to where Euan Blair, the prime minister's son, and his friend were attacked has been plagued by muggings, with up to six pupils being robbed every day.

Europe's oldest cave paintings - a menagerie of lions, rhinos, bears and panthers drawn at least 30,000 years ago - are so sophisticated that they may force scientists to think again about the origins of art. New radiocarbon datings of the Chauvet cavern paintings in Ardeche, France, have confirmed that their Stone Age creators were as skilled as painters 15,000 years later.

Financial Times
Directors of Huntingdon Life Sciences, the drug-testing company under attack from animal rights activists, are to be allowed to keep their home addresses secret from next month.

Undergraduate John Cooper has been named "most enterprising student" after he developed a production management system for a Wellingborough-based company during his summer break.

The Times
It is not, perhaps, the best time to hold the title, but Oxford's new bin Laden fellow has assumed his responsibilities at the Centre for Islamic Studies. Dale Eickelman, a professor from Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, was awarded the visiting fellowship before September 11.

More than a million animals could have been saved from slaughter had the Government acted faster to control the foot-and-mouth epidemic. Research by Imperial College, to be published today, claims that the Ministry of Agriculture - which after the election was replaced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs - was slow to slaughter infected animals on contiguous farms.

Special report: In 80 years the University of Leicester has grown to a position of prominence. Now it has big plans.

The Guardian
Oxford University's oldest independent newspaper, which launched the careers of writers such as Graham Greene and Philip Larkin, faces sale or closure if it fails to settle thousands of pounds worth of debt by the end of the year. Cherwell , launched in 1920, has until January to repay a £25,000 emergency bank loan, secured last week in the face diminishing patience from customs and excise and an unpaid printing bill that runs into thousands.

Sean O' Brien last night became the first poet to win the Forward prize twice, when his funny, scabrous and highly political fifth collection, Downriver , picked up poetry's richest prize.

Miscellany
The first gene to be linked to the human trait of language learning has been isolated by scientists at the Wellcome Trust and Institute of Child Health, who believe it could indicate new ways of treating children suffering from speech impairment. ( Independent , Times )

The riddle of the Black Death, the disease that has killed 200 million people across the world, may have been solved. British scientists have decoded the genetic map of the plague bacterium in a discovery that could lead to the development of new vaccines and help prevent its use in biological warfare. ( Daily Telegraph , Financial Times )

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