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December 18, 2001

Environment link to cancer increase
Certain childhood cancers such as brain tumours and leukaemia are on the increase, prompting concerns that an environmental factor could be pushing rates up. Researchers at the Cancer Research Campaign’s department of paediatric oncology at Manchester University found some of the commonest children’s cancers have been gradually increasing over the past 45 years with an average annual rise of between 1 per cent and 3 per cent.

Trial of Egyptian professor 'unfair', say observers
Human Rights Watch has called for the immediate and unconditional release of Egyptian sociologist Saadeddin Ibrahim and three colleagues. Their appeal against sentences for various offences, including damaging Egypt's standing abroad, will be heard tomorrow. The organisation says the trial, which ended in May, was unfair and reflects "nothing but shame" on the Egyptian government. Professor Ibrahim, head of the independent Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, was sentenced to seven years in prison.

University closed after shooting
The University of Malawi has closed indefinitely following a week of violent student protests in which a student was shot dead.

Minders hired to boost business links
The government is hiring business minders for vice-chancellors to help universities exploit their store of knowledge and expertise. Ministers will make £60,000 available next year for a pilot project providing senior business mentors to 25 current, new or prospective heads of universities and higher education colleges. The aim is to help institutions build stronger links with businesses and local communities.

US opens for business in India
Sylvan Learning Systems, the Baltimore-based for-profit higher education provider, is venturing into the Indian market. An exploratory deal with the Andhra Pradesh government aims to develop a 10,000-student university concentrating on career-oriented programmes in information technology, hotel management, engineering, business, and health sciences. The company will decide whether to proceed after a six-month study of market potential.

Choice prediction is on the cards
Men and women unintentionally buy Christmas cards from designers of their own sex, according to research published today. Apparently men like straight lines, simple designs and scenes with perspective, while women opt for something more complicated, with rounded edges and lots of detail. The research was carried out by Andrew Colman, from the University of Leicester, and private psychology consultant Gloria Moss. 

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