From today's UK papers

February 11, 2002

Europe tells UK: improve teaching of our languages
The ambassadors of four continental European countries have joined forces to plead for urgent action to improve language teaching in Britain's state schools. In an interview, the ambassadors from Germany, Spain and Italy backed by the French envoy, spoke of the "sad situation" surrounding language teaching in Britain. (Independent)

Star pupils can try for distinction at A level
Sixth-formers will face extra questions at A level to gain a distinction under moves to mark out high-flyers for selection by leading universities. The "super A level" represents a compromise between Downing Street and education ministers, who were split on the best way to mark out the brightest students. (Times, Independent, Guardian)

Vitamins may hold key to birth disorder
Scientists at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, are to investigate whether vitamin C can prevent pre-eclampsia, a condition that affects 10 per cent of pregnant women and kills hundreds of babies each year. There is no effective treatment for pre-eclampsia, which is caused by a defect in the placenta. (Independent)

Role of specialised adult cells proved in cloning
Scientists have finally proved that cloning an animal from a fully specialised cell of an adult is possible - something that has been doubted even though Dolly the sheep was supposed to have been created from a skin cell. (Independent)

Cosmic chaos
A lone female cosmologist, Janna Levin, is challenging her 'weirdo' male colleagues about how the universe works. (Times)

Huntington's treatment trial moves to US
Britain's leading stem cell company is preparing to test an experimental treatment for Huntington's disease by injecting brain cells from mice into human patients. But ReNeuron says it will have to carry out the trial in the US because it would be too difficult and time consuming to obtain UK regulatory approval to transplant animal cells into people. (Financial Times)

Scientists tackle 'superweed'
Research on ways to tackle Britain's most invasive plant is taking place at the nursery of the Eden project in Cornwall. Japanese knotweed, introduced in the mid 19th century, has caused havoc nationwide with its ability to grow one inch a day, crack concrete, blight development land and crowd out native species. (Daily Telegraph)

Cloned animals 'have much shorter lifespan'
Cloned animals have shorter than normal lifespans and are unusually vulnerable to disease, according to research published yesterday. (Daily Telegraph, Guardian)

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