Today's news

April 9, 2003

Universities must show they are open to all
Elite universities must abandon their socially exclusive image if they want to convince the government’s new access regulator that they should be allowed to increase tuition fees, the education secretary said yesterday. Mr Clarke said that the main barrier to university entry for poorer students was low attainment. Nine out of ten students with two A levels entered higher education. The government had responsibility for improving schools. But universities had to do more to seek talented students from all backgrounds. Thirty-five per cent of students who got three A grades at A level did not apply to Russell Group universities. They needed to know that the entire range of universities was open to them, Mr Clarke said.
(Times, Financial Times, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph)

Common cold may have spawned killer virus
The hunt for the cause of the pneumonia-like illness that has spread global fear narrowed yesterday when two more laboratories said they had isolated the virus responsible. The Central Public Health Laboratory in Colindale, north London, said it had found evidence of a hitherto unknown corona virus in samples taken from Sars patients. The head of virology at the University of Hong Kong has reported in The Lancet that the corona virus is now the main suspect. Sars has infected more than 2,600 people and caused more than 100 deaths in 20 countries around the world in the past month.
(Independent)

Ibuprofen and aspirin could halve breast cancer risk
Regular use of ibuprofen and aspirin can reduce the risk of breast cancer, a study of more than 80,000 American women has revealed. Taking regular doses of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs also inhibited the growth of breast cancer, according to the study by the US National Cancer Institute. Taking two or more tablets a week is considered regular use.
(Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail)

English pupils among best readers in world
Children in English primary schools are among the world's best readers, although they spend more time watching television or playing computer games than their peers in most other countries. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study , a survey of reading standards of pupils aged nine and ten in 35 countries, put the English in third place, beaten only by those in Sweden and the Netherlands.
(Independent, Daily Telegraph)

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