Today's news

April 11, 2003

Firm sells essays to student cheats
A Birmingham-based company is offering to write students' essays claiming they will never be found out by new university anti-cheating technology. For up to £50 an hour a team of writers at Elizabeth Hall Associates will churn out dissertations and assignments. The firm also boasts on its website that the service it provides is "undetectable to cheating". One of its services, called MBA Rescue, offers "tutorial support and writing academic papers to make sure your investment is safe".
(Daily Mirror)

Universities urged to use blind selection
Admissions tutors should not know about students’ social and educational history when deciding whether to offer them places at university, independent schools said yesterday. The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference and the Girls’ Schools Association said that universities should operate "blind" admissions procedures. Information on a student’s social class, schooling and parental education or income should be removed from application forms to prevent any suspicion of bias. The demand puts the two bodies, representing 450 leading schools, in direct opposition to the government on admissions.
(Times, Independent, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph)

Education watchdog executives face redundancy
More than 40 senior managers at the government's exams watchdog have been told their jobs are at risk. The move, which union leaders say amounts to a declaration of redundancy, is part of the attempts to modernise the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority after last year's A-level fiasco. Dr Ken Boston, the chief executive of the QCA, told eight members of the authority's executive and 37 senior officials that they had to reapply for their jobs. Three senior executives have already been made compulsorily redundant, union leaders said. The rest will know their fate next week.

EU bans embryo clones
Scientists, medical charities and patient groups reacted with concern yesterday to a European Parliament vote that could end British embryo research. While the vote was welcomed by the pro-life movement, there was bitter disappointment among those striving to find treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and cancer.
(Daily Telegraph)

Genes say we were once cannibals
Cannibalism by ancient man may have provided some defence against variant CJD, a team led by Professor John Collinge of University College London, said. A protective gene that emerged in the population helped those who had it to survive CJD.
(Times, Financial Times)

Camera sets its sights on smells
According to New Scientist, Hewlett-Packard has filed a patent on a "smellivision" camera that can create photographs with scents matching the pictures. There could be two ways of linking smells with a photograph, the company believes. Both versions recreate smell using an adapted inkjet printer, which deposits a mix of basic scents on to the paper.
(Financial Times)

Harry Potter works magic in the library
For the first time in 17 years, Britain's favourite library book is not a Catherine Cookson novel. The queen of popular fiction has been dethroned by J. K. Rowling, whose magical adventure Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was the nation's most-borrowed title in 2001-02.
(Daily Mail)

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