Today's news

August 21, 2002

Oxbridge loses its dominance in the City
A degree from Oxbridge is no longer the sure-fire route to a coveted job in business, the results of a survey say today. The survey of chief executive officers of the FTSE’s top 100 companies shows that only 23 per cent have degrees from Oxford or Cambridge, compared with 59 per cent in a similar survey 18 years ago.
( Independent )

Expat British lecturer axed to death in Zimbabwe
An expatriate British lecturer has been axed to death in Zimbabwe for his clothes, mobile phone and a wallet containing less than £6. Jerzy Toloczko, 51, on holiday from the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo, had just returned from visiting family in Leicestershire.
( Independent , Daily Mail , Daily Telegraph , Guardian )

Ireland fears IT skills shortage
A big drop in students opting for computer science at university has caused a looming crisis in the information technology industry, according to Ireland’s main employers’ organisation.
( Financial Times )

Institute awarded £30,000 for MMR research
The government is giving the National Institute for Biological Standards £30,000 for further studies into claims of links between the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and autism and bowel disease in children.
( Daily Telegraph )

Judo team knock out carjack attempt
A carjacker was in police custody yesterday after the van he was trying to steal turned out to contain a team of judo experts from the Florida International University who tackled him to the ground. The team had stopped at a petrol station in Los Angeles when the carjack attempt occurred.
( Daily Telegraph , Times )

Womb transplants for childless women ‘within three years’
Scientists say they will be able to perform routine womb transplants within the next three years. A Swedish team from Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy, said in a report published today that they have succeeded in transplanting wombs into mice that then become pregnant.
( Daily Mail , Independent , Journal of Endocrinology )

Website ‘threat’ to cancer patients
Alternative “cures” promoted on internet websites could cost the lives of cancer patients, according to research by Exeter University. Sufferers are being discouraged from using conventional treatment and offered misleading information on other remedies, said Edzard Ernst, the UK’s only professor of complementary therapies who worked on the survey.
( Daily Mail , Times , British Journal of Cancer )

Forget using herb to boost memory
Ginkgo bilobo, a popular herbal supplement said to boost memory and brain power, does not work, researchers led by Paul Solomon of Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, said yesterday.
( Daily Mail , Daily Telegraph , Guardian , Journal of the American Medical Association )

Bronze Age man underwent hole-in-head surgery
A Bronze Age skull found by archaeologists on the foreshore of the Thames has provided an illustration of the earliest form of surgery. The skull was found with a hole gouged into it, part of the process of trepanning, which was believed to relieve pressure on the brain.
( Daily Mail , Independent , Daily Telegraph , Times , Guardian )

Caffeine may be used to fight cancer
Natural compounds in tea, coffee, chocolate and cola could one day be dispensed as drugs to fight heart disease and cancer, according to a report from University College London. The researchers found that because caffeine and theophylline block the function of a key enzyme in the body, they might also block cell growth and blood clotting.
( Guardian , Journal of Biological Chemistry )

Fat chance of being jollier
Despite the stereotype, fat people are not jollier than those of average girth, according to scientists from the University of Texas. In a five-year study, 1,800 people were quizzed about happiness, life and relationship satisfaction. It was found that heavier people were more likely to be depressed and pessimistic.
( Daily Mail , Annals of Behavioural Medicine )

Rare parrot rediscovered after 91 years
Ornithologists have rediscovered one of the world’s rarest parrots after an absence of 91 years. Hapalopsittaca fuertesi or the indigo-winged parrot, was rediscovered three weeks ago on the highest Andean volcano in Colombia by a team from Colombia’s national university in Bogota.
( Guardian , Daily Telegraph , Times )   

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