From today's UK papers

March 4, 2002

Starkey makes history with £2m TV deal
Historian David Starkey yesterday became the unlikeliest resident of stellar street. The ebullient academic, who has admitted to being the rudest man on television, signed a golden handcuffs deal with Channel 4 that nets him £2 million over four years. (Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Charities boost university funds
Charities are responsible for a quarter of university research grants and income, totalling hundreds of millions of pounds. In 1999-2000, they spent £484 million, much of it on medical and bioscience research, according to a report for the Higher Education Funding Council for England. (Financial Times)

US bars experts from anti-MoD testimony
The Pentagon has stopped the world's two leading experts on combat stress from giving evidence for 254 ex-servicemen claiming post-traumatic stress disorder in their action against the Ministry of Defence, which opens today at the high court in London. Matthew Friedman, a psychiatrist and Terence Keane, a psychologist, are both US government employees, working in the department of veteran affairs. (Guardian)

A-level distinction plan 'a disaster'
Head teachers have described plans to introduce a higher grade at A level as a "disaster" that could push teachers and pupils to breaking point. Their warnings about the proposed "distinction" grade have been echoed by examiners, who say that the move will require a "wholesale reconstruction" of A levels, and could provide further problems for the administration of public qualifications. (Times)

Better class of dust falls on National Trust
The late Quentin Crisp's suggestion that after a few years "the dust doesn't get any worse" is to be put to the test by the National Trust. Staff at half the trust's 156 stately home libraries have been told not to dust the shelves for three years. Experts believe that the trust's collection of 500,000 antiquarian books may be harmed more by their annual removal for cleaning than by the dust. (Times)

Chinese explorer beat Columbus to America
History books may need to be rewritten in the light of new evidence that Chinese explorers had discovered most parts of the world by the mid-15th century. Next week, Gavin Menzies, an amateur historian, will expound his theory that when Columbus discovered America in 1492, he was 72 years behind the Chinese. (Daily Telegraph)

Computer program to teach Latin
A computer program called Brutus that can translate Latin into English has been developed to help children learn and teachers to mark translations. Some have said the decline of Latin and Greek has had a disastrous effect on writing style, and even blamed politicians' lack of training in rhetoric for the low turnout at the last election. (Daily Telegraph)

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