Todays' news

June 24, 2002

Hodge admits higher education is failing the poor
Margaret Hodge has admitted that Labour's idea of widening access to higher education has failed, so leaving untouched the major cause of inequality in Britain. The minister for higher education said that Labour has not closed the social divide in higher education: "That so far has failed. The gap has widened," she said. (Guardian)

Anti-terror laws hit research
New laws designed to keep sensitive scientific information out of the hands of terrorists will entangle British universities in red tape and force researchers abroad, leading scientists and academics said yesterday. (Times)

Universities ‘need more business know-how’
The UK is one of the best places to set up biotechnology companies but British scientists will not reap the full rewards unless universities gain more business savvy, according to the head of one of the world’s biggest specialist venture capital funds. (Financial Times)

Blairite and class warrior
Margaret Hodge, the higher education minister, speaks to Jackie Ashley. (Guardian)

Morris pledges to restore belief in role of education
Teachers must have support from parents, councils and the government to take action to enforce discipline in schools, Estelle Morris, the education secretary, said yesterday. (Times)

Muslim students close minds to British universities
The number of Muslim students wanting to study in Britain has slumped since September 11, a study by the British Council has found. (Times)

Priority switches to secondary education
Labour’s second-term education policy is dedicated to achieving the kind of improvements in secondary schools, especially in inner cities, that has largely been achieved in the primary schools in the government’s first term. (Guardian investigation)

Pupils of seven will assess their own teachers
Pupils as young as seven will be consulted about the performance of their teachers under a plan to place schools under a legal duty to consult pupils on all aspects of classroom life. (Telegraph)

Amazon yields up unknown monkeys
Two new monkey species the size of domestic cats have been discovered by Dutch scientist Marc Van Roosmalen working in Brazil’s central Amazon region, Conservation International said yesterday. (Times)

100 million to get Aids by 2010
The number of people with Aids could reach 100 million by 2010, according to a study by the United Nations Aids programme. Currently 40 million people have the disease. (Mirror)

MMR fears gain support
The safety of the MMR vaccine was again called into question yesterday after American research appeared to back the British doctor who first linked autism and bowel disease. Experts at New York University School of Medicine have reported the first independent corroboration of Andrew Wakefield’s findings. (Mail)

Cancer patients prepare for fight over growth hormone
The government’s drug watchdog is heading for controversy over the use of growth hormones by adults. The appraisal by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence is anxiously awaited by about 4,500 patients who believe they benefit from the treatment. (Times)

‘Rescued’ Roman relics disappear from storage
Roman artefacts unearthed by archaeologists during a rescue dig in Carlisle have disappeared from storage. Officials fear they may have been stolen and sold for a six-figure sum over the internet to overseas collectors. (Times)

Scientists plan to rescue rare llamas
Scientists from the Macaulay Institute in Aberdeen are working on a plan to catch, shear and then release vicunas, rare small llamas that roam the Andes in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. The wool sells for £335 a kilogram and is now harvested by killing and skinning the endangered animal. (Times)

HRT may stop age-related tooth loss
Hormone replacement therapy may help to stop post-menopausal women from losing their teeth as they age, scientists at Washington University in the US have found. (Times, Telegraph)

Scots lead the way for UFO sightings
If the truth is out there, there’s a good chance it might be found north of the border. Research commissioned by VisitScotland, Scotland’s tourist body, has discovered that the country has the highest concentration of UFO sightings in the world, with 300 reported close encounters every year. (Guardian)

Radiation fear over old X-ray machines
A major study has shown a strong link between breast cancer and working with old hospital radiation equipment. The research was conducted by scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration. (Times)


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