From today's UK papers

December 19, 2001

Six universities more elitist than Oxbridge
Six universities were rebuked yesterday after official statistics revealed they were more socially exclusive than Oxford and Cambridge. Bristol, Exeter, Reading, Southampton and two new universities, Oxford Brookes and West of England, were criticised by the Higher Education Funding Council for England for failing to admit enough students from state schools and poor backgrounds. (Independent)

Birmingham's £5m cut costs 100 staff
The University of Birmingham is making more than 100 academics redundant as part of a cost-cutting exercise to address a £5 million budget shortfall. University authorities have blamed falling student numbers for the cuts and have issued a warning that there may be further redundancies among support staff. (Times)

One in five university students drop out
One in five students fail to graduate from university - more than 55,000 a year - according to Higher Education Funding Council for England figures published yesterday. The drop-out rate is highest at universities that admit the largest proportion of students from the lowest social classes - skilled manual, semi-skilled and unskilled - and receive extra funding for doing so. (Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Times, Daily Mail)

Pearson gives profits warning
Pearson, the publisher of the Financial Times , warned yesterday that full-year profits at its education business will be lower than forecast, as the crisis in Argentina disrupts Latin America and big companies continue to cut back on training. (Daily Telegraph, Independent, Guardian, Times, Financial Times)

2001 to be world's second hottest year
This will be the second warmest year since global temperature measurements began nearly 150 years ago, scientists from the Meteorogical Office and the University of East Anglia announced yesterday. Next year is predicted to be even warmer. (Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times)

New drug to battle common cold
Millions of people struck down every year by runny noses and sore throats may finally have found more than vitamin C to turn to in their fight against the common cold. Scientists from the  University of Virginia say they have almost developed an anti-viral drug that erases cold symptoms and is able to shorten its duration. (Daily Telegraph)

Science post created at environment department
The government is creating a powerful new post of chief scientist at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, which has recently suffered a series of scientific misfortunes in its handling of animal diseases. (Financial Times)

Reformist prison angel puts rocket under Stephenson
The 19th-century women's prison reformer Elizabeth Fry is to replace the locomotive pioneer George Stephenson on a new £5 note to be introduced in the spring. (Independent, Times)

There will be no THES daily news updates over Christmas and the New Year. We are back on 2 January 2002. Season's Greetings! 

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