Clarke under fire on humanities colleges
Education secretary Charles Clarke will be accused of introducing selection through the back door today when he announces an expansion of the specialist school programme to include the humanities. The new humanities colleges will be able to specialise in subjects like geography, history and English, the core of the secondary curriculum. They will be expected to link with university departments and specialist subject associations and pass on their expertise to other schools. Opponents say the colleges, which will be able to select up to 10 per cent of pupils on aptitude, will become a new breed of grammar school.
Scots academic freed from Indonesian jail
A Scottish-born academic arrested in the troubled Indonesian province of Aceh five months ago was released from prison yesterday. Lesley McCulloch, 40, from Dunoon in Argyll, who lecturers at the University of Tasmania, was arrested with an American companion after visiting a separatist rebel camp. Originally charged with spying, the pair were prosecuted for visa violations and jailed on 30 December.
(Independent, Financial Times)
Top scientists back nuclear power
The government must show "political courage" and back nuclear power in its forthcoming energy white paper to help prevent climate change, leading scientists argue today. It must spell out clearly how nuclear power can help cut the carbon dioxide emissions that are linked with climate change, the Royal Society says.
(Daily Telegraph, Independent, Financial Times)
Replacement organ breakthrough
A team of American scientists has devised the first technique for altering the genetic make-up of human embryonic stem cells. The breakthrough, by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who were the first to isolate the master cells from embryos, could lead to growing organs and tissues that will not be rejected by the transplant patient. The research is reported today in the journal Nature Biotechnology .
Rocky Mountains govern Britain's climate
Generations of schoolchildren have been raised on the belief that the mild British winters and cool summers are due to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream, but the text books have got it wrong, according to scientists at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York. Using weather data gathered over the past 50 years and computer models to describe how heat is shunted around the globe, they discovered that the contribution of the Gulf Stream was negligible compared with the influence of warm southerly winds originating in the Rockies.