From today's UK papers

November 29, 2001

Minister promises to close education gap
Estelle Morris, the secretary of state for education, made narrowing social inequality a top priority yesterday and said  her job would be pointless unless she succeeded. She revealed stark figures showing the huge disparity between middle-class children and those from working-class backgrounds. Independent , Financial Times

Student accused of funding New York attack
Hamburg police arrested a Moroccan student yesterday and accused him of helping to fund the September 11 attacks. Guardian

Medical students 'should be screened'
Medical school applicants should be screened for personality disorders to prevent "disasters" such as the Harold Shipman murders, doctors said yesterday. Screening students would help clarify their traits  and "ethical stance", a study in the Journal of Medical Ethics found. Independent

Fish population will halve by 2015
Global fish stocks will have halved by 2015 according to a study by scientists at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver released today. Global catches in the 1990s fell by 360 million kilograms per year, contrary to previous estimates by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that had suggested an annual increase of 315 million kilograms. Independent

Sixth great wildlife extinction warning
Humankind is presiding over an extinction of plant and animal species that matches the catastrophe of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, a British scientist warned last night. Lord May - until last year the British government's chief scientist, and now president of the Royal Society - calculated that the extinction of birds and mammals was probably 100 to 1,000 times faster than the average through many millions of years of history. Guardian

Blair's pet projects give value for money
Tony Blair's plans to expand the private sector's role in public services received a much-needed boost yesterday when a report by the National Audit Office concluded that projects in progress were offering good value for money. In the first survey of the government's private finance initiative (PFI), 81 per cent of public bodies backed the use of private companies to improve everything from hospitals and roads to prisons and IT. Independent , Financial Times

Universities begin to e-learn the ropes
E-learning was hyped as the next big thing, but technology restrictions have meant that universities are adopting a "softly, softly" approach instead. Independent Education

Heal the people, till the earth, be happy
If you want to enjoy your job, choose to study medicine or agriculture according to an investigation of  thousands of graduate careers. Independent Education

Condom shortage fuels Aids explosion
A global shortage of condoms and the continuing reluctance of many men to use them is fuelling a worldwide explosion in HIV and Aids, say scientists and health workers. Independent

Moors murderer stimulated by his deeds
The Moors murderer Ian Brady exults in his crimes in his forthcoming book, saying he found planning them "acutely stimulating". Daily Telegraph

Alcohol won't delay pregnancy
Women who drink up to 14 units of alcohol a week do not take longer to conceive than teetotalers, says a study Danish study which challenges previous findings. Daily Telegraph , Guardian

New British Museum boss in office
Neil MacGregor, the popular head of the National Gallery, was finally given the keys of the British Museum last night. Guardian

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