Today's news

April 2, 2003

Museum in race to save whore of Babylon
The British Museum is raising funds to save a spectacular carving of a naked woman, thought to be a high-class prostitute, which may have hung outside a brothel 4,000 years ago. The terracotta relief is thought to have been made by a craftsman from the ancient city of Babylon, about 55 miles from modern-day Baghdad. It will be sold abroad unless the British Museum can raise the price - believed to be £1.5 million - although the owner, a Japanese collector, is keen for the sculpture to go to the museum.

UCL to show off oldest dress in the world
The world's oldest dress, virtually forgotten for 65 years as part of a collection kept in rooms above the boilers at University College London, once worn by an Egyptian aristocrat born in about 3000BC, is to be relocated and put on display with the help of a £4.9 million lottery grant. The dress was considered worthless until a curator reassessed it in 1977. It will be rehoused in a five-storey museum called the Panoptican, to be built beside the university's Bloomsbury Theatre.
(Daily Telegraph)

Why students should give a bean
Coffee and café culture are as much a part of student life as juggling part-time work with academic study. Oxfam, NUS and People & Planet campaigners will confront representatives from Nestlé at the annual National Union of Students conference today to thrash out the ethics of the coffee trade, an issue close to students' hearts.

Flooding blamed on sheep and cows
Sheep and cattle are to blame for the rise in winter flooding in many parts of England, according to scientists from Leeds University, who said there was little or no evidence that changes in rainfall have played any part. Large increases in sheep and cattle stocking densities have trampled upland pasture to such an extent that the ground now absorbs less water.
(Daily Telegraph)

Warwick offshoot to run vehicle research centre
An offshoot of Warwick University has struck a partnership with Ford to create a £70 million automotive research centre in the West Midlands. The government is backing the initiative by providing £37 million over three years through the regional development agency. The balance will come from Ford and suppliers.
(Financial Times)

Parchment pieces traced to German epic
The oldest existing fragments of the Nibelungen Song , the most famous Germanic text of the Middle Ages, have been discovered at the library of Stift Zwettl, an abbey 75 miles northwest of Vienna. The ten fragments, which date from the 12th century, are part of an epic saga detailing the rise and fall of the Burgundian Empire through the adventures of the mythical hero Siegfried . The tale was later adapted by Richard Wagner into his four-opera Ring Cycle .

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