Today's news

October 10, 2002

Dearing call to restore grants for poorest
Lord Dearing, the academic whose report on higher education led to the introduction of tuition fees, has urged the government to allow grants of £2,500 a year for students from the poorest homes. (Independent)

Family-friendly policy urged for scientists
British science will always be dominated by men unless the government introduces family-friendly policies to encourage women to continue with their research, the renowned neurobiologist Baroness Greenfield has said in a confidential report. (Independent, Times)

A-level history a farce, says Schama
Simon Schama has led a call from prominent historians to abandon a “narrow and fragmented” school syllabus that leaves pupils ignorant of the great sweep of historical events. (Times)

Greer dumped in race for rector job
The race to be rector of Prince William’s Scottish university St Andrews has taken an unfortunate turn for acerbic academic and hopeful candidate Germaine Greer. She has been dumped. “I am mystified,” said Professor Greer, who teaches English at Warwick University. (Daily Mail)

Toumai man an ape, say researchers
A skull described as the oldest human fossil is more likely to be the head of a female ape, say anthropologists from the University of Michigan. The “Toumai man” was found in the Djurab desert of northern Chad. (Independent, Guardian, Telegraph)

Breakthrough in treating prostate cancer
A technique that can detect whether a tumour of the prostate gland is potentially lethal is being developed by a team of scientists led by Arul Chinnaiyan, assistant professor of pathology and urology at the University of Michigan. (Independent)

Exams body bars media from annual conference
The government’s exams watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has taken the unprecedented step of barring all journalists from its annual conference following the A-levels marking fiasco. (Independent)

Paternal urge can improve men’s fertility
Men who are trying to father a child can improve their chances of success by simply thinking about it. Scientists in Portugal have discovered that levels of the male hormone testosterone can be subtly improved if a man is determined to get his partner pregnant. (Times)

Peter Porter wins Britain’s biggest poetry prize
Peter Porter has won this year’s Forward Poetry Prize. The poet, literary journalist and broadcaster was also awarded the Queen’s Medal for Poetry in April. (Independent, Telegraph, Guardian)

Scientists double BSE infection estimate
Scientists have doubled their estimates for the number of cattle infected with BSE during the epidemic in the 1990s. A team at Imperial College, London has reported that nearly two million animals had been infected since the late 1980s. (Independent)

Online school for aspiring witches
Europe’s first school of witchcraft will not teach you how to fly a broomstick or cast spells but it does promise to turn determined students into witches. Andreas Starchel, headmaster of the school in the southern Austrian city of Klagenfurt, said he established the school to demystify witchcraft. Students graduate with a venefica or veneficus (from the Latin witch/druid) and the course is available online. (Independent)

Brown accused of backtracking on museums
The government was accused last night of backtracking on its commitment to revitalise regional museums. Chancellor Gordon Brown vowed in July to end two decades of neglect in the regions that has left museums in a parlous state. (Guardian)

Aga’s ardour for Britain cools
The Aga Khan has decided to build an Islamic cultural centre in Toronto, Canada after his bid to buy land in London failed. The billionaire spiritual leader bid £24 million for land next to St Thomas’s Hospital, which will now be used to extend the medical school. (Times)

Bank manager tees up for golf degree
Bank manager Jonathan Wright has left his job at Lloyds TSB to join 25 other students on the honours degree course in applied golf management studies at Birmingham University. The most impressive candidate on the course is James Bell, 18, who has four As at A level and a golfing handicap of three. (Telegraph)

Fresh and disorderly
Has the traditional induction period for new university students descended into an expensive drunken orgy? Students and parents speak out. (Independent)

Emotional rescue
A new website is helping university students in distress. Launched by the Heads of University Counselling Services, the site is offering help to people in exam crises, as well as those suffering from substance abuse problems. (Independent)


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