From today's UK papers

January 11, 2002

Lower entry standards revealed at universities
New evidence that universities are lowering their entry standards was published yesterday by the University and Colleges Admissions Service. Although the numbers applying to start university last autumn rose by 2.7 per cent on the previous year, the numbers who were accepted increased by 5.4 per cent to a record 358,000. (Daily Telegraph)

Students choose media studies over science
Students are turning away from science and engineering degrees in favour of courses in media and film studies, according to the University and Colleges Admissions Service. Scientists and employers described the trend as "extremely worrying" and warned that teenagers turning their backs on scientific subjects could be limiting jobs prospects. (Independent)

Girl to sue authority over lost university place
An 18-year-old is to sue the Scottish qualification authority for wrongly telling her she had failed an exam. Claire Bowen, from Dalkeith in Midlothian, spent the past school year resitting higher grade music after being told by the authority she had failed to pass in 2000. (Guardian, Times)

English 'bac' to offer broader curriculum
Plans for an "English baccalaureate" are being drawn up by the government as part of an overhaul of the school curriculum. Teachers' leaders hope that the proposal for a new certificate based loosely on the French model heralds a move towards the full introduction of the continental system. (Times)

African cave reveals world's oldest artwork
Archaeologists from the University of Norway have unearthed two slivers of rock in South Africa on which symbolic patterns were etched about 77,000 years ago. The rock art is twice as old as Stone Age cave paintings in southern France and demonstrates that humans living at this time possessed "modern" patterns of thought. (Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times)

Cosmic wallpaper is greener shade of pale
Stephen Hawking once speculated that we may one day know the mind of God. Astronomers came a shade closer yesterday by revealing God's colour scheme for the heavens. The light emitted by nearly 200,000 galaxies turns out to be a slightly greener shade of pale turquoise according to a Johns Hopkins University study. (Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times)

Children of screen age afraid of the dark
Children are more frightened of the dark than their parents were because increasing exposure to artificial light means they rarely experience total blackness, according to a study commissioned by Powergen. Nearly two-thirds of children under ten insist on sleeping with a light on, compared with half of their parents' generation at the same age, the study says. (Times)

Proper tales best for reading aptitude
Children who learn to read with proper books make faster progress than those reared on the Janet and John system, researchers from the University of Warwick have found. (Times)

Thousands in dark over aspirin lifeline
Thousands of people at risk of heart attacks and strokes are not being given aspirin despite the fact that the drug could save their lives, a study published in the British Medical Journal reveals. (Independent)

Busy intensive-care units bad news for babies
Babies in intensive care are 50 per cent more likely to die if the unit is full, according to a wide-ranging new study by the University of Aberdeen. The workload, rather than the number of nurses or consultants or even the size of the unit, was the key factor determining survival rates, the study says. (Independent)

Biggest UK sales boom in computer games
Britain's long-standing addiction to computer games reached new heights last year as the industry enjoyed its biggest ever sales boom, according to figures released yesterday by the European Leisure Software Publishers Association. (Guardian)

Sharp increase in cultivation of GM crops
The worldwide commercialisation of genetically modified crops expanded substantially in 2001, with poor farmers in developing countries responsible for much of the increased take-up, according to a report published yesterday by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications. (Financial Times)


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