From today's UK papers

December 10, 2001

More departments make excellent research grade
Record numbers of British academics are conducting world-class research, according to a five-yearly assessment to be published this week. Gradings of 65 subject areas will show that more than half of the academics entered for the fourth Research Assessment Exercise are in departments undertaking work of international calibre. ( The Times )

Creed lights-up Turner Prize
The 2001 Turner Prize for contemporary art has been awarded to Martin Creed, whose exhibit at Tate Britain consists of an empty room in which the light goes off every five seconds. ( Times , Financial Times , Independent , Guardian , Daily Mail )

Gates aims to supply NHS university software
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is in talks with UK ministers to supply software for the new National Health Service "university" that will offer online training for more than 1 million staff. ( Financial Times )

Schools to 'credit' online lessons
The government will announce plans today to give schools "credits" worth £50 a year to buy online lessons. But companies are worried that the BBC, which is also to be a big provider, has been given too dominant a role in the new "digital curriculum" market. ( Financial Times )

British industry falling behind
British companies invest less in equipment, research and development than their international competitors and are falling further behind, according to a study published by the Department of Trade and Industry's Innovation Unit today. ( Financial Times )

Ultrasound may damage child's brain
Ultrasound may cause subtle brain damage to unborn children, according to the findings of the largest study on the effect of pre-natal scanning. The study by Swedish scientists found that boys whose mothers had ultrasound scans during pregnancy were more likely to be left handed, recognised as a mild form of brain damage. ( Independent )

Sex survey reveals promiscuous British youth
Most young people in Britain think that having at least 10 sexual partners before marriage is normal, according to a survey published today. A study among people aged 17 to 25 by the youth sex advisory service Brook also found that nearly one third of those asked believed it was acceptable for a girl to lose her virginity before the age of 15. ( Independent )

Lennon beats the Bard
The melodic genius and caustic wit of John Lennon have made the Beatle a surprise favourite in an unprecedented nationwide poll to find the greatest Briton ever. More than 10,000 people made their choice in the BBC poll and The Times has learnt that Lennon is jostling for the top spot with William Skakespeare, Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Winston Churchill. ( The Times )

Mystery man is Gauguin, by Van Gogh
A newly discovered portrait of Paul Gauguin by Vincent Van Gogh has given an insight into one of the most fascinating relationships in art history. ( The Times )

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