Today's news

December 13, 2002

Davies takes over at LSE
Sir Howard Davies, the executive chairman of the Financial Services Authority, has been selected to head the London School of Economics at a time when universities are under financial pressure to raise more money and improve their business models in return for extra funding. Sir Howard began his City career as a McKinsey consultant in the 1980s and was seconded to the Treasury as special adviser to Nigel Lawson, the chancellor. The Manchester-born executive served as deputy governor of the Bank of England and director-general of the Confederation of British Industry. In 1997, he became chairman of the Securities and Investments Board, which later became the Financial Services Authority.
(Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent)

Students' sex ban opens up rare debate in China
The expulsion of a pregnant student from an elite university in China has caused a rare public debate on sex and government intervention. Newspapers and internet chatrooms were debating yesterday the case of the unnamed law student, from the city of Chongqing, and her boyfriend, who were expelled for breaking a total ban on student sex. The doctor who discovered the pregnancy notified the university authorities, who forced the 19-year-old woman to write a confession naming her 21-year-old lover, where and when they met and how many times they had sex. The Shanghai Youth Daily devoted an entire page to criticism of the expulsions, while also stating the university’s case. Other newspapers and websites followed.

Student vanishes after city trip to interview homeless
Police expressed "extreme concern" yesterday for the safety of a student who disappeared three days ago after telling lecturers that she was going into a city centre to talk to the homeless. Victoria Stephenson, 19, who began a course in sociology and community studies at Manchester Metropolitan University in September, needed to conduct interviews as part of her course work.
(Daily Telegraph, Times, Guardian, Daily Mail)

Rocket failure is blow to European space ambitions
The European space programme suffered a bitter blow when an enhanced version of the Ariane 5 rocket veered off course on its inaugural flight and had to be blown up by remote control - along with two satellites worth some  €600 million (£384 million). Last night executives for Arianespace, the French-led launcher company, said they believed the problem lay with the loss of coolant for the nozzle that controls the rocket, and not in its new Vulcain-2 main engine. Intensive investigations will start on Monday, aimed at getting the Ariane 5 programme back on track as soon as possible.
(Financial Times, Daily Telegraph)

Fish that can regenerate its own heart
A fish that can repair its heart after serious damage is paving the way for new treatments for human beings who suffer heart attacks or other cardiac problems. Research from Harvard Medical School published today in the journal Science indicates that the zebrafish, a tropical species commonly kept in home aquariums, can regenerate its heart within two months of major cardiac injury. Similar effects have been seen in simple animals such as flatworms, but the fish is the first vertebrate in which this capacity has been found.

Distinguished lexicographer dies
Keith Spalding, the pacifist German scholar, born Karl Heinz Spalt, who fled Nazi Germany before becoming one of Britain's most distinguished lexicographers, has died, aged 89.

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