From today's UK papers

January 17, 2002

MPs to probe failure of learning scheme
MPs have launched a fast-track inquiry into the collapse of the government's £260 million flagship training programme. The unexpected decision to probe the failure of individual learning accounts was announced yesterday during an evidence session of the education and skills select committee. (Financial Times)

Morris says teacher targets may be missed
The government cannot guarantee to meet its targets for recruiting teachers, Estelle Morris, the secretary of state for education and skills, conceded yesterday. Ms Morris told a conference in London, organised by the public services union Unison, that at least 10 per cent of all graduates for the next 15 years would have to be recruited for all teaching posts to be filled. (Independent)

£2m aids rebirth of 'worst school'
Hackney Downs, the school famed for its star-studded alumni and closed by a government hit squad when it was dubbed worst comprehensive in the country, is to rise from the ashes as a city academy.  (Guardian)

Genetic research parks named
A network of genetic research centres designed to deliver "real and lasting" benefits to National Health Service patients was unveiled yesterday by Alan Milburn, the health secretary. The units, six genetics knowledge parks and two genetics reference laboratories, would tap into the gene revolution. (Daily Telegraph)

British Museum pays price for free entry
Museums have been caught in a "vicious double whammy" that threatens to undermine the government's much-trumpeted policy of free admission for all. Worst hit is the British Museum, where opening hours are being slashed and a large number of its greatest treasures closed to the public for most of the day in a bid to recoup some of its £5 million deficit. (Guardian)

Sex unlikely to cause stroke
Sex is unlikely to increase risk of sudden death from stroke, according to a study of 3,000 men by Bristol University. (Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Lexicographers get to roots of girl power
"Girl power" is more venerable than the Spice Girls and was discovered by a man, the full Oxford English Dictionary disclosed today. It was first spotted in a less raunchy setting by the novelist Malcolm Lowry almost 50 years ago. (Guardian)

Concept art is pretentious tat, says ICA chief
Ivan Massow, millionaire chairman of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, last night confirmed the prejudice of the philistine masses by claiming that most conceptual art is "pretentious, self-indulgent, craftless tat". (Guardian)

IVF clinics claim a better success rate than nature
The birth of Britain's first "test-tube" baby 23 years ago was a revolutionary medical breakthrough, but the in-vitro fertilisation technique it pioneered has become so successful that couples now have a better chance of conceiving using the method than by having sex, according to some scientists. (Independent)

Underweight babies continue to struggle at school and in adult life
Babies born prematurely with very low birth-weights continue to be at a physical, intellectual and professional disadvantage even when they become adults, research reveals today. The study is among the first to chart the long-term progress of underweight babies since the radical improvements in neonatal hospital care during the 1960s and 1970s. (Independent)

Cancer patients to test cannabis spray
Patients in uncontrollable pain from terminal cancer are to be treated with cannabis-based medicines as part of trials launched yesterday. The cannabis extracts, which are sprayed under the tongue, are already being tested on people with multiple sclerosis as part of phase-three trials - the last stage before approval by the Medicines Control Agency. (Independent)

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