From today's UK papers

February 20, 2002

Young people boast about their debts
Being in debt, a subject of shame to older generations, has not only lost its stigma but is a subject of boasting among young adults, according to the Henley Centre marketing consultancy. The research coincides with today's report from market analyst, Datamonitor, which shows that unsecured consumer credit has more than doubled since 1995. (Guardian)

Study reveals job plight of UK Muslims
Muslim men of Pakistani and Bangladeshi background are disproportionately unemployed relative to other Asians, according to a Cabinet Office report commissioned by Tony Blair. Even after allowing for education and residential area, Pakistani Muslims are three times more likely to be jobless than Hindus are. Indian Muslims are twice as likely to be unemployed as Indian Hindus. (Guardian, Financial Times)

US scientist suspected in anthrax investigation
The FBI has a suspect for last year's anthrax attacks, but is "dragging its heels" because he is a former government scientist familiar with secret state-sponsored research, a leading American expert on biological warfare said yesterday. The suspect sent a hoax letter to the US Senate from Britain and may once have worked in the laboratory to which his letters were sent for testing, said Barbara Rosenburg, director of the Federation of American Scientists chemical and biological weapons working group. (Guardian)

Farmers sued for 'stealing' GM seeds
Monsanto, the company that sponsored experiments into genetically modified crops in Britain, is suing dozens of American and Canadian farmers for infringement of copyright. The company claims that the farmers hold back seeds from their Monsanto crops to use in a later harvest, depriving the company of revenue. (Times)

Orgy puts stop to degree courses in sex
A university course on male and female sexuality has been suspended after students took part in orgies and were taken to a gay strip bar where they watched their instructors have sex. Male undergraduates at the University of California, Berkeley, also complained that they were made to listen to other people's depraved sexual fantasies, take pictures of their genitalia and watch explicit pornography. (Daily Telegraph)

Sleepy time for rats gives clue to subconscious
Even rats have sweet dreams, according to a scientist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He wired up the brains of sleeping rodents, and eavesdropped as they dreamed of their adventures in a psychologist's maze. (Guardian)

Secrets of Stone Age uncovered
English Heritage scientists may have solved the mystery of how Stone Age workers, armed only with antlers and bone shovels, created the largest and most impressive prehistoric structure in western Europe. Geophysical and ground surveys of Silbury Hill, a 40m high chalk mound in a Wiltshire valley, was not made from a series of flat tiers like a wedding cake as previously thought. (Daily Telegraph)

Super-plume of molten rock could split Africa
A vast sea of molton rock underneath Africa is creating a giant geological pressure cooker that could rise up and split the continent, research by British academics has found. (Independent)

Good day to go backwards and forwards
To some it is an entirely unremarkable coincidence of the Gregorian calendar, others are attracted by symmetry of its numbers and, to a few, it indicates a day of earth-shattering cosmic significance. Whatever your reasoning, look closely at today's palindromic date; it will be a while before you see another that attracts quite such excitement. (Guardian)

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