Today's news

February 3, 2003

Taxpayers may foot EU students' fees bill
Thousands of students from the European Union may be able to study free in Britain because the government has not worked out how to make them repay tuition charges. Unlike British students, the government has no power to enforce repayment of their debts by deducting money from their salaries through the tax systems of their home countries. The Student Loans Company will be responsible for chasing up those who fail to pay. Damian Green, the shadow education secretary, said he would be demanding an explanation in the Commons after inquiries by The Times established that the Department for Education and Skills has not drawn up plans for recouping the money.

£6m offer to ease school exams crisis
Britain's big three examination boards are to offer schools cash payments in return for allowing teachers to mark GCSE and A-level scripts during the school day. The three boards – Edexcel, AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) and OCR (Oxford & Cambridge and RSA) – will send a joint letter this week to all schools and colleges, offering up to £6 million to help pay for supply staff to cover for teachers who are marking. The move is one of a series of initiatives planned by exam boards to offset a predicted shortage of markers for the summer's 24 million scripts.

Students prudish over sex on TV
Despite the acceptance of gay culture into the mainstream, more than two-thirds of students think that homosexual sex should never be shown on television, a survey of attitudes on British university campuses has found. The study by the Index on Censorship also found that 79 per cent believed there were no circumstances under which a rape scene can be shown, and 30 per cent thought a woman's breasts should always remain covered. Nine out of 10 students believed that Britain was a censored nation, with a further 86 per cent thinking that the government directly controls what appears in newspapers and on television.

Researchers bruise arnica's reputation
The reputation of arnica, probably the most widely used homeopathic remedy, is given a severe bruising today. Reporting in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine , researchers from Exeter University's department of complementary medicine report have found no significant differences in reported pain, checks on bruising and swelling, or in use of analgesics.

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