Today's news

November 6, 2002

Cambridge could lose £2.5m donation
Cambridge University indicated yesterday it had no plans to return $4m (£2.5m) donated to fund a corporate governance professorship by Tyco and Dennis Kozlowski. Mr Kozlowski faces criminal charges in the US for allegedly siphoning off $600 million (£385 million) from the Tyco International corporation he used to run. Tyco lists a donation from Mr Kozlowski to Cambridge among items that he funded with improper borrowing from a corporate loan programme. The university said it had received the donation in 2000 "in fulfilment of a commitment made by Dennis Kozlowski and Tyco International". Cudous, the university's development office in the US, subsequently allocated these donations as a grant to establish the Robert AG Monks chair in corporate governance at the Judge Institute of Management. Cambridge yesterday said: "Any chair and funding is subject to ethical scrutiny and subsequent approval by the Cambridge academic community. These processes were followed."
(Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Times)

Lecturers strike for pay equality with teachers
Tens of thousands of students missed classes yesterday when a strike by lecturers forced 40 further education colleges to close. The action was called by members of Natfhe, Unison and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in protest at the gap in pay with school teachers, who earn up to £6,000 a year more. The Association of Colleges, which reports that vacancies for lecturers are 25 per cent higher this year, has offered staff an increase of 2.3 per cent. The unions' demand for pay parity would require an increase of 26 per cent. Another strike next Tuesday, over the costs of living in London, will disrupt all universities and colleges in the city.
(Times, Financial Times, Guardian)

Universities would do better to strike out alone
Simon Jenkins advocates independence for universities.

Decline of sealife 'close to point of no return'
The seas around Britain are dying, according to a bleak but exhaustive study by English Nature. The North Sea food chain is half as complex now as it was in the 1880s, and the deterioration has accelerated sharply in the past two decades. The total number of fish has fallen by a third in the past quarter of a century, with almost all the large and old fish gone. The average size of plaice is now a quarter of what it was a century ago and the average size of cod has fallen from one metre long to just 35cm.
(Times, Guardian)

National Gallery may lose £500m pictures
The National Gallery, which already faces losing a Raphael worth £30 million, learned yesterday that it could be forced to part with more than 40 other Renaissance masterpieces, valued at £500 million. The 43 paintings, including Raphaels, Botticellis, Bellinis and Titians, were bequeathed to the National Gallery in the 1920s by Ludwig Mond, a German Jewish émigré chemist who helped found ICI. Robert Hornsby, his great-great-grandson, claimed yesterday that the gallery had betrayed the terms of the bequest.
(Daily Telegraph)

Super magnet found in space
The most powerful magnet in the known universe has been discovered by astronomers, it emerged last night. The findings, published in Astrophysical Letters , come from the first direct measurement of a magnetic field around a neutron star, the compact core left behind when a giant star collapses. The star, thought to be about 10 miles wide, is 40,000 light years away.
(Daily Telegraph)

Cornish language gets official recognition
Cornish is to be recognised as an official minority language for the first time, after a campaign lasting nearly 100 years. Ministers recognised the Celtic language was in danger of extinction and have added it to the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages alongside others such as Welsh and Scottish Gaelic.

Britain's earliest leper unearthed
A child who died 3,500 years ago may be Britain's earliest known victim of leprosy, according to Julie Roberts, a biological anthropologist at Glasgow University. The evidence was taken from a skull unearthed near Dunbar, Lothian, in 1980.

Strip club to open in Oxford
Oxford is to get its first pole-dancing club after the city's licensing committee found it had no grounds to oppose the proposal, despite widespread objection from parents, religious leaders and academics.
(Daily Telegraph)

University fundraising guru dies
Henry Drucker, the Oxford University fundraiser who brought in £341 million by persuading donors that like blood, giving a substantial donation could change their lives, has died, aged 60.
(Times, Independent)

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