Today's news

December 17, 2002

Student robbed on research assignment
The student Vicky Stephenson, who was found in Dublin after a massive search, said she had been traumatised by being robbed of her credit cards and mobile phone by a man she arranged to meet for a sociological study, police said yesterday. The 19-year-old Manchester Metropolitan University undergraduate from south London vanished last Tuesday after telling friends she was going on an interview assignment.

Language students to help in the classroom
Students on language degree courses are to be invited into the classroom to bolster a government drive to persuade thousands of primary schoolchildren to start studying languages from the age of seven. The plan will be unveiled tomorrow when education secretary Charles Clarke launches a blueprint for promoting language teaching in schools.

Hidden world in Antarctic is clue to life on Mars
A survey of Lake Vida, 2,000 miles south of New Zealand and long thought to be frozen solid and barren, has revealed it to be an oasis of life. Large numbers of frozen algae and bacteria were found deep within the ice cores of the sal****er lake and were successfully revived by gentle thawing. Some of the organisms are at least 2,800 years old. The results, details of which are published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , are being studied by Nasa for clues as to how best to search for life on Mars and other candidate worlds.

Back to home base for e-University
The e-University - set up to sell British degree courses to the world - will do a sizeable part of its business teaching students at home, its chief executive John Beaumont said last week.

Wringing the neck of this turkey of a policy
Libby Purves congratulates Charles Clarke for reportedly rejecting the target of getting 50 per cent of all young people into degree courses by 2010, freeing everyone from "the deadening, homogenising, dumbing conviction that 'uni' is a necessary rite of passage for any kid with half a brain, and a three-year degree the only key to a decent life."

Science without barriers
Letters from academics about the exclusion of foreign scientists from higher education for political reasons.

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