From today's UK papers

March 27, 2002

Morris argues special case for education spending
Labour's school reforms are "fragile" and need continued investment to embed them throughout the period of the next comprehensive spending review, according to Estelle Morris, the education secretary. In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday she appeared to defy Gordon Brown's plea that ministers should not negotiate in public. (Financial Times)

John Monks to quit TUC for Europe
In an announcement last night, John Monks said he is to quit as general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, the forum and coordinating body for the trade union movement. He unexpectedly declared he would stand down in 18 months and seek election as head of the European Trade Union Confederation. (Guardian, Independent, Times, Financial Times)

Ethnic minority police should be pushed to top
Positive discrimination would be the only viable option to achieve the government's policy of boosting the number of ethnic minority police officers, according to a Staffordshire University study, which will be published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies next month. (Guardian)

Businesses welcome new R&D tax credit
The Treasury's confirmation yesterday that the new R&D tax credit would take effect from April 1 was welcomed by business leaders. But some queried whether the simple volume-based design would stimulate much additional research, especially if it was worth only £300 million. (Financial Times)

Cervical cancer linked to contraceptive pill
Many women who are on the contraceptive pill for more than five years could triple or quadruple their risk of developing cervical cancer, according to researchers whose findings will reinforce appeals for women to attend regular screening. The increased dangers, for those who have the human papilloma virus (HPV), a common infection, were reported in a review of studies in eight countries compiled for the World Health Organisation. (Guardian, Independent, Times)

Pill effect neuters half of male fish
Female hormones from the contraceptive pill are severely reducing the fertility of male fish, threatening species in dozens of rivers in England and Wales, the Environment Agency said yesterday. (Times)

New Delhi opens door to GM crops
India, the world's largest grower of cotton, has opened its doors to genetically modified varieties after a four-year rearguard battle by academics and farmers' groups who fear that it will lead to hundreds of thousands of poor farmers being forced off the land. Guardian)

Mosquito threat from used tyres
Colonies of aggressive, potentially disease-carrying mosquitos could have arrived in Britain in used tyres without public health authorities knowing anything about it, scientists from the University of East London have warned. Unlike other European countries such as France and Italy, Britain has no system to monitor the health impact of used car tyre imports. The tyres are a favourite site for certain species of mosquito to lay their eggs. (Guardian)

Marriages on the rise
Figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show that the number of couples getting married in 2000 rose by 2 per cent to reach 267,961, the first increase in eight years. Marriage has come back into fashion as thousands of people who put off matrimony in their 20s for the sake of their career decide to tie the knot in their 30s, 40s and 50s. (Times)

Old dogs gave new tricks to early man
It might be impossible to teach an old dog new tricks, but man's best friend may once have taught us a thing or two: new research by the Australian Museum suggests that the earliest human beings took a crucial step towards modern behaviour by imitating dogs and wolves. (Times)

Art world rocked as prize entrants turn to painting
The Institute of Contemporary Arts, the crucible of the cutting edge, lived up to its reputation with a surprise declaration yesterday that old-fashioned painting is the new thing. Embarrassed recently into sacking its chairman, Ivan Massow, the ICA yesterday threw open its doors to unveil its latest show - a finalists' exhibition for its Beck's Future Prize, a £24,000 award that purports to be a youthful and more radical rival to the £20,000 Turner Prize. (Daily Telegraph)

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