Today's news

September 10, 2002

Hodge: universities must compete or close
Universities will have to compete for students or close under government plans to unleash a “free market” in degrees, Margaret Hodge, minister for higher education, will tell vice-chancellors. (The Daily Mail, The Independent, The Times)

Fears of elite split grow
Elite universities will be warned at this week’s meeting of vice-chancellors not to go it alone with top-up fees and “pull up the ladder” behind them. Fears of a binary split were fuelled by reports showing a growing gulf between new and old universities, particularly over research. (The Guardian)

From the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
Parents may outlive obese children
Obesity is growing among the young at such a rate that parents could outlive their children, according to Andrew Prentice of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. (The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Times, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times)

Sea change threatens Antarctic life
Sensitive Antarctic species could perish as Southern Ocean waters warm by 2C-3C in the next century, according to Lloyd Peck of the British Antarctic Survey and other scientists. (The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Times)

Tough work, but good food
Life may have been harsh in the desert quarries of ancient Rome, but the labourers managed a River Café diet all the same, said Marijke van der Veen, an archaeologist at the University of Leicester. (The Guardian, The Times)

New bush meat dangers
Five new strains of simian immune deficiency virus have been found in Cameroon bush meat – primates killed for protein – Richard Wise of City Hospital, Birmingham, told the conference. (The Guardian)

Bite a banana
Green bananas and aspirin could play a role in reducing hereditary bowel cancer in high-risk patients, John Burn of Newcastle University said. (The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times)

Go on, eat your greens
Choosy children can be persuaded to eat any type of food as long as they are not told that it is healthy or promised a reward for eating it, Jane Wardle of University College London said.

Anti-terror efforts boost disease study
The recent research and surveillance effort mobilised against bioterrorism is producing important new evidence about natural diseases, Charles Penn, research director of the UK Centre for Applied Microbiology Research at Porton Down, told the conference. (The Financial Times)


National stem-cell bank on the way
The first national stem-cell bank is to be built in Hertfordshire and could be open within a year. The National Institute for Biological Standards and Control will run the £2.6 million bank for the Medical Research Council. (The Guardian, The Independent)

Ark sets off to restore elephants
South Africa is to launch a modern Noah’s Ark to ship 200 elephants to Angola to try to restore wildlife stocks destroyed in the -year civil war. (The Times)

Students get down to business
The country’s first “independent” state school focused on business opens today in one of London’s most deprived areas, thanks to a £2.5 million gift from a City figure. (The Financial Times)

Is the great navigator resting in pieces?
Spanish historians in Seville and their counterparts in Santo Domingo plan to dig up the remains of Christopher Columbus for the tenth time in the hope of finally settling the question of where he is buried. (The Guardian)

Kiwis fight brain drain
New Zealand is struggling to shed its image as an academic backwater. (The Guardian)

Fight for survival
Could student suicides be prevented with better targeting of support services? (The Guardian)

Sir Robert Wilson, astrophysicist whose determination led to the launch of the forerunner of the Hubble space telescope, has died, aged 75. (The Times)

W. R. S. Garton, a spectroscopist with a quest for the unknown, has died, aged 90. (The Independent)

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