Today's news

January 27, 2003

Legal battle alert over university funding
The government could face a legal challenge over top-up fees, which may constitute racial discrimination according to Matthias Kelly, QC, the Bar chairman. He will say today that the plans will keep children from poor families out of the legal profession and damage efforts for a more diverse judiciary. They could also amount to "indirect racial discrimination" if ethnic minority students are disproportionately affected. The Bar is to examine the plans to see whether they breach discrimination law.

Blair tries to allay college reform fears
Tony Blair sought to reassure middle-class parents yesterday that opportunities for their children to win places at leading universities will not be undermined by the government's reform of higher education funding. He promised that a new university access regulator would not implement a regime of "positive discrimination". Critics of the plan have suggested that the proposed regulator - dubbed "OffToff" - would restrict universities' freedom to award places purely on academic merit. The proposal has led to fears that middle-class students could lose out twice over; having to pay the full top-up fees and living costs but being squeezed out of the best university places.
(Daily Telegraph)

Bank statements can make us ill
If the sight of a bank statement sends you into a cold sweat, do not worry. Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that half the population show symptoms of financial phobia and up to 9 million people suffer from the condition. The psychological and physiological condition can lead to sufferers refusing to open bank statements or check account balances or avoiding thinking about their money altogether.
(Times, Guardian)

Cloned cows can make own cheese
Cows have previously been genetically modified to produce medicinal proteins in their milk, but researchers in New Zealand have now created nine cows engineered to produce milk that can be turned into cheese far faster and more easily. The team engineered cow cells to overproduce milk proteins called caseins. This family of proteins provides the primary components of cheese and also helps determine calcium levels.

Hitler diaries historian dies at 89
Lord Dacre of Glanton, the historian who as Hugh Trevor-Roper wrongly authenticated the "Hitler Diaries", has died aged 89 at a hospice in Oxford. His reputation as an expert on modern history was damaged after the diaries affair in 1983.
(Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph, Independent)

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