From today's UK papers

December 6, 2001

Cambridge figures refute bias
Claims by heads of leading independent schools that their pupils are being discriminated against when they apply to Cambridge were refuted by statistics published by the university yesterday. They showed that 47 per cent of places awarded to home students this year went to fee-paying pupils even though they constitute only 29 per cent of those who achieve three 'A's at A-level, which is effectively Cambridge's minimum entry requirement. Daily Telegraph

Harvard re-examines student standards
Are students becoming cleverer or are standards falling? The question has surfaced at the pinnacle of the American educational system. Are students at Harvard quite as exceptional as their grades? Independent

Breakthrough in the battle to cure blindness
Scientists have given the blind new hope that they may one day see again. Researchers from the University of Münster in Germany have found a way of making severed optical nerves grow. Daily Mail

God particle disappears down £6bn drain
Over the past three decades, thousands of the world's physicists have spent an estimated £6 billion on the search for something called the Higgs boson - a particle that holds the elusive key to the nature of the universe. Now, however, evidence has emerged that suggests it probably doesn't exist. Times , Guardian

Largest prime number ever discovered
A number so large that it would take nearly three weeks to write down has been named the largest prime number ever discovered. It can be expressed as "two to the power of 13,466,917 minus one" and contains 4,053,946 digits. Daily Telegraph

College kicks out 'dog food and port' students
Two Cambridge undergraduates have been thrown out of their college for wrecking their rooms after an evening spent drinking port and eating dog food. The students, from St John's College, were told to leave after their rooms were left "in a very unpleasant state" following a social event held by the Swans, an all-male sports-based drinking society, to mark the last day of term. Times , Daily Mail

Education company loses half its fee
Cambridge Education Associates, which runs Islington's troubled education service, the first private company to run an education authority, has lost half its annual management fee of £800,000 after failing to meet performance targets. Financial Times

Foreign Office attacked over poll
A dispute broke out last night when the Foreign Office released an opinion poll suggesting that opposition to joining the euro, at 47 per cent with 36 per cent supporting UK participation, was far less entrenched than in other surveys. Financial Times

Mothers' suicides alarm doctors
Deaths of British mothers linked to pregnancy and childbirth are at their lowest level, but investigators have discovered a disturbing number of women who kill themselves within a year of having their baby. Daily Telegraph , Independent

Leaves can make children blossom
Children become brighter when transplanted from homes in the inner city to leafy areas. Researchers from Cornell University in America found that moving youngsters from built-up areas to homes surrounded by green spaces can have a profound effect on their brainpower. Daily Mail

Burns fans in a stushie
When Robert Burns wrote: "The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft a-gley", he unwittingly found the perfect words to sum up the attempts of a pair of Scottish academics to produce the definitive work on Scotland's greatest poet. The Canongate Burns is billed as a compilation of all Burns's poems, complete with extensive explanatory notes, a wealth of information on his life and even a dozen newly attributed poems and songs. Independent


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