Today's news

September 26, 2002

Minister accused of meddling in A-level inquiry
The controversy over A-level grade-fixing erupted into a furious political row last night when Estelle Morris was accused of interfering in the inquiry set up to investigate the results. The government’s examinations chief, Sir William Stubbs, claimed the education secretary had already decided to order the regarding of all 700,000 A levels, and he accused her of acting in an “improper way”.
( Times , Guardian , Daily Mail , Independen t, Financial Times , Daily Mirror )

Scripts being remarked for the inquiry into A-level grade fixing prove that the original markers were overruled at a late stage.
( Daily Telegraph )

The three English exam boards should be replaced by one national body, former education adviser Conor Ryan will say in his report, published tomorrow.
( Independent )

Students forced to live in four-star hotel
At least 100 students at Manchester University and Umist are staying at the four-star Britannia hotel in the city because of an accommodation shortage. They are being charged £10 a night for sharing £105 rooms.
( Guardian )

US scientists protest at limits on stem-cell funding
President George W. Bush’s restrictions on stem-cell funding are hindering medical advances, researchers told a Senate hearing yesterday.
( Financial Times )

Standards tsar to monitor post-16 education
Post-16 education will be subject to new monitoring when standards tsar Jane Williams takes up the post next month.
( Independent )

Popularity of MBAs growing
MBAs are proving more popular at a time when economies across the world are experiencing a downturn.
( Independent MBA supplement)

Virtual Clone wins enterprise fellowship
Spin-off company Virtual Clone has won one of nine Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise fellowships. The company, which will develop technology to provide ultra-realistic virtual three-dimensional characters for games companies, has won a year’s salary and funding to help the academics to run the business.
( Financial Times )

60-year-old rail bun donated to Cambridge University
A rock bun purchased at Paddington station 60 years ago has been donated to Cambridge University to enable scientists to study the everlasting mysteries of railway catering. Donald and Betty Smith bought the bun, thought to be the world’s oldest surviving small pastry, from a platform trolley as they travelled to their wartime honeymoon in Cambridge in 1942. They kept it as a souvenir of their first week of marriage.
( Daily Telegraph )

Venus could be hiding life
The acidic clouds of Venus could be hiding life, astronomers from the University of Texas claimed today.
( New Scientist , Independent , Daily Telegraph , Times )

Scientists and the art of Zen gardening
Scientists from Kyoto University in Japan have found the answer to the correct placement of rocks in a Zen garden. By using computer-aided analysis of the Ryoanji temple garden in Kyoto, they have found that the rocks are laid out so that the points halfway between them all form the outline of a tree’s branches.
( Independent , Daily Telegraph , Nature )

Skeletons found under royal palace kitchen
Archaeologists are examining the skeletons of eight people, which were found by gas workers laying pipes under the floor of the kitchen at the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, Holyroodhouse. It is believed that they belong to commoners buried in a secular graveyard on the site between the 14 th and 16 th centuries.
( Daily Telegraph , Independents , Times )

Battery boost for laptop users
Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing cheaper and more effective batteries for portable electronic devices, made from lithium iron phosphate.
( Financial Times , Nature Materials )

Scientists harness power of vibrations
Researchers at Penn State University have found an effective way of powering small devices without using batteries. The team generated energy to power watches and pagers from vibrations.
( Financial Times )

French Epic professor dies
Wolfgang van Emden, the French Epic specialist with sidelines in stained glass and butterflies, has died age 71.
( Independent )

Jurisprudence professor dies
J. A. Coutts, professor of jurisprudence at Bristol for 25 years who transformed its law school, has died age 92.
( Independent )

American studies professor dies
Dennis Welland, one of the founding fathers of American studies in Britain, has died age 82.
( Guardian )

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