Today's news

May 16, 2002

Graduate job prospects at lowest for decade
Students due to graduate this summer are more pessimistic about their job prospects than at any time during the past decade, research published today suggests. Their fears coincide with rising debt – the average final-year student will owe over £9,000. (Independent)

Academia split over boycott of Israel
More research bodies are severing links with Israel because of the Middle East conflict but academics who fiercely oppose action have now set out their arguments on the internet. The boycott idea was first floated in a petition organised by Hilary and Steven Rose, professors at the City and Open universities. (Telegraph, Independent)

Two-year degree floundering
Labour’s key initiative to reach its target of 50 per cent of those under 30 entering higher education is failing. Take-up of the foundation degree places is slack in many institutions. (Independent)

Pilot scheme for colleges a success
A pilot scheme that gives money to deprived youngsters to stay in education after 16 is working. But can Labour afford to extend it nationally? (Independent)

US-style tests used to tackle bias fears
Scholastic aptitude tests are to be tried at Queen’s University, Belfast, to try to soothe sectarian fears about admissions policy. Vice-chancellor Sir George Bain is planning to introduce the tests as a more objective measure of academic potential than A levels. (Times)

Stonehenge warrior found
The most significant Bronze Age burial site found in Britain, containing the body of an aristocratic warrior who died 4,300 years ago, has been unearthed three miles from Stonehenge. (Times, Mail, Mirror)

Parents to virtually touch unborn babies
New software and a virtual reality glove will enable parents to ‘touch’ their unborn child during ultrasound scans. (Guardian)

The thought that counts
British philosophy, so long in the shadow of dazzling continentals, is finally engaging with public life, says Stuart Jeffries. (Guardian)

Crocodile’s smile hides dark secret
The leathery skin that surrounds a crocodile’s smile is sensitive enough to detect a single droplet of water splashing into a river several feet away, according to research by Daphne Soares, a graduate student at the University of Maryland in the US. (Telegraph, Times)

Trial begins for drug set to reverse Alzheimer’s
The first trial of a promising new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease will begin soon after a breakthrough in removing the “sticky” brain deposits associated with the illness. Leading the research is Mark Pepys of the Royal Free and University College medical school in London. (Independent, Mail)

Heart attack could have caused writer’s fatal crash
The prize-winning writer W. G. Sebald probably had a heart attack before crashing his car, an inquest has heard. The Bavarian-born author taught for 30 years at the University of East Anglia. (Independent)

Body clock study may bring relief to shift workers
The body clock, the curse of shift workers and long-haul airline passengers, may be brought to a standstill after the discovery of a deactivating protein that plays a key part in its workings. Tony Harmar, professor of neuroscience at Edinburgh University, is leading the research. (Independent)

Darwin provides a missing link
Shrewsbury, the birthplace of Charles Darwin, is to forge a link with the Galapagos Islands in South America in a town twinning project. (Times)

Spielberg gets degree 34 years after dropping out
Multiple-Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg has completed his course in film and electronic arts at California State University’s Long Beach campus. He dropped out of the course in 1968 to pursue a film career. (Independent)

Posthumous degree award for Potters Bar victim
A victim of the Potters Bar train crash has been awarded a posthumous Masters degree from City University in London. (Independent)

Arts scholar dies
Michael Camille, the University of Chicago art historian who introduced a series of fresh interpretations of the art of the middle ages, has died aged 44 of a brain tumour. (Guardian)

Speech that triggered French Revolution to be sold
Louis XVI’s own handwritten copy of the speech that triggered the French Revolution is expected to fetch up to £250,000 at an auction in Britain next month. (Telegraph)

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