Today's news

October 2, 2002

First state school alumnus heads Oxford college
The first alumnus of a comprehensive school to head an Oxford college has taken up his post. Andrew Dilnot, 42, former director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, started his job as principal of St Hugh's yesterday.
( Financial Times )

A-level reformer told ministers: we need more time
The man who devised the present A-level system said yesterday he had pleaded with ministers to be allowed more time to introduce the exam. In his first public comments since the crisis over this summer's A-level exams, Nick Tate, who was head of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority until the month the system was brought in, said: "All of us were concerned about the time-scale."
( Independent, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Times )

School league tables put back
As thousands of A-level students today find out whether they will be able to get their exams regraded the crisis over "grade-fixing" has forced the government to postpone the forthcoming secondary school league tables because they would have been "unreliable".
( Guardian, Daily Telegraph )

Research says cobblers to manhood myth
The idea that the length of a man's penis is linked in any way to the length of his feet has been given the boot by experts. They say the long and the short of it is... it's not true. The myth has been dispelled by researchers from St Mary's Hospital and University College, London.
( Daily Mail )

Call for ban on designer babies chosen for IQ
The selection of babies with genes linked to high IQ should be banned, along with the abortion of embryos predicted to have below-average intelligence, according to a report published today by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics an independent think-tank.
( Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Daily Mail )

Lung cancer discovery
Scientists from Hammersmith Hospital and Imperial College, London, have identified a molecule essential for the spread of a type of lung cancer that does not respond to chemotherapy. They hope the discovery will lead to the development of drugs against the disease.
( Times )

Arctic pollution bending polar bear gender
New research reveals that polar bears, Arctic foxes and Inuit peoples are under threat from man-made toxins such as polychlorinatedbyphenyls (PSCBs) that build up in the food chain. The report, prepared by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme based in Norway, said the toxins followed air and water currents from as far away as Asia.
( Independent, Daily Mail )

Fiftysomethings battle to balance work and family
It is not only thirtysomethings who find it hard to juggle their home and work lives. People in their fifties and sixties are increasingly becoming trapped in a "care sandwich", answering the demands of their own ageing parents and their children and grandchildren while trying to pursue a career. Many of them suffer as a result, according to a report published by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
( Times )

Wing and a prayer sustains long-distance buzzard
Yesterday, somewhere in the eastern reaches of the Atlantic ocean, a young bird of prey appeared to be clinging to life after a record 3,000-mile flight that has astounded ornithologists. The baby honey buzzard lost its way during migration from Scotland to the Ivory Coast, flying non-stop for 110 hours over the ocean. Experts say the rare fledgling, which is being tracked by satellite, has made the longest flight over sea recorded by a bird of prey.
( Guardian )

Archaeologists' stern warning over lost ship
Did the Newport Ship, the medieval merchantman trapped for more than 500 years in the silt of the Severn riverbank, have a prow curved like a Viking longboat or a stern shaped like a castle? Archaeologists will never know unless money is found to excavate both ends of the unique find that was discovered when concrete piles for a £6 million arts centre were punched through the hull.
( Guardian )

Nazi-looted art set to be returned to family
Four old master drawings stolen from a collector by the Nazis may be handed back to his descendants by the British Museum in the first case of its kind in Britain. The museum acquired the drawings in the 1940s. They were among 750 drawings seized from a Jewish collector who was jailed and tortured when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939.
( Daily Telegraph )

Lucretia Borgia: sex-mad poisoner or stateswoman?
Lucretia Borgia did not poison anyone and probably did not have an incestuous affair with her father, Pope Alexander VI, art experts and historians said yesterday. The latest claims are part of an effort to rehabilitate one of the most notorious members of the Borgia dynasty - Spanish gentry who controlled the Papacy through intrigue, murder and marriage in the 15th and 16th centuries.
( Daily Telegraph )

Museum hunts for missing skull
York Dungeon museum is trying to trace a woman who was accidentally sold an ancient human skull by the museum shop during refurbishment.
( Guardian )

Eden's garden to grow with £75m desert dome
The Eden Project announced plans yesterday to add a third biome within three years to the hugely popular Cornish tourist attraction.
( Daily Telegraph, Times, Independent )

Experimental poet dies
Bob Cobbing, Britain's most significant sound and visual poet, has died aged 82.
( Independent )

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