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January 4, 2002

Lib dem call to end 'army of failures'
The English education system creates an "army of failures"and needs radical reform, Liberal Democrat education spokesman Phil Willis told the North of England conference today. He said social barriers to success were particularly apparent in the 14 to 19 phase of education.

Peaceline link to Belfast deaths
Eighty per cent of all sectarian-related deaths in Belfast have occurred within 500m of a peaceline between Catholic and Protestant areas, Peter Shirlow of Ulster University’s geography department tell the Royal Geographical Society-Institute of British Geographers conference in Belfast tomorrow.

Zambia's doors remain closed
The University of Zambia remains closed after the Christmas holidays in an attempt by the authorities to head off student demonstrations against the victory of the country's new president, Levy Mwanawasa, in this week's elections.

Politics figures on the up
Young people seem to have a growing academic interest in politics despite a continuing reluctance to vote in elections. Figures from the Political Studies Association show a 12 per cent increase in the numbers applying to study politics at undergraduate level, up from 2,547 in 2000 to 2,867 last year.

Principals' pay outpaces lecturers'
Further education college heads received an average 4.48 per cent pay rise last year, bringing the average principal’s salary up to £70,000. The increase compares with 4 per cent for lecturers, agreed only after industrial action. But the Association of Colleges said the extra money reflected growing responsibilities, with college budgets increasing by an average 7.61 per cent.

Former Peruvian president to lecture in Tokyo
Japanese newspapers have reported that former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori, wanted in Peru on charges of embezzlement and murder, is to lecture at Takushoku University in Tokyo next week. Mr Fujimori fled to Japan more than a year ago to evade trial on a range of charges he has denied, including allegedly sanctioning two massacres by a paramilitary death squad in the early 1990s. The two countries have no extradition treaty.   

Dolly's arthritis 'caused by cloning'
Dolly the sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal, has developed arthritis, one of her creators said today. Ian Wilmut, who led the team which cloned Dolly in 1996, said her condition could have been caused by the cloning process and called for more research.

Who's a pretty boy then? 
Parrots use fluorescent feathers to attract sexual partners, scientists from Glasgow and Queensland universities and Imperial College London have found. The research involved masking Australian budgerigars’ plumage with sunblock cream, which absorbs the fluorescence, while a control group of birds was treated with vaseline.    

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