Today's news

April 22, 2003

Poll claims voters saw off graduate tax
Government documents have been released that show how voters helped persuade ministers to abandon plans to introduce a graduate tax because they could not stomach the prospect of requiring rich students to subsidise poorer students by paying back more than the cost of their university course after they graduate. A summary of an extensive series of focus groups, commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills during the government's tortuous 18-month review of higher education policy, also shows that students and voters had next to no knowledge of the DFES' policies or personnel. They knew nothing of the government pledge to increase participation in higher education to 50 per cent of under-30s by 2010, and when they heard about it, offered mixed reactions.

Scientists claim malaria advance
British scientists claimed yesterday to have made a breakthrough in finding a permanent treatment for malaria. Scientists say they have identified in the parasite responsible for the disease the element in its make-up that enables it to become quickly resistant to new treatments, a property that has hampered drug companies' efforts to develop a vaccine.
(Financial Times, Guardian)

Weak hearts saved by stem cell injections
A failing heart can be rejuvenated by injections of stem cells from the patient's own bone marrow, research has revealed. Doctors from the United States and Brazil found the technique transformed the health of people desperately ill with end-stage heart failure, which occurs when a damaged heart cannot pump enough blood to serve the body's needs. Results from the study were published yesterday in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
(Independent, Guardian)

MIT falls on hard times
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is to slash $33 million (£21 million) from its budget from July to compensate for a fall in its endowment income. After peaking at $6 billion in 2000, it has fallen to $5.5 billion. Harvard's endowment is $17 billion.

Chalking up experience
More than 1,000 graduates are putting off taking up lucrative jobs in the City to teach pupils in tough comprehensive schools under an initiative pioneered in the US. Students at 25 top universities are signing up for Teach First, a scheme that gives them two years experience of teaching at an inner-city school to help prepare them for a business career. Two hundred places are available on the scheme, and all applicants must have a first-class or upper-second degree. Already, more than 1,000 graduates have applied.
(Daily Mail)

Woman may have founded ancient Rome
Rome celebrated its 2,756th birthday yesterday amid claims that the city may have been founded by a Trojan woman called Roma and not, as legend has it, by Romulus.
According to Rome's Il Messaggero newspaper, a fragment of writing by the Graeco-Sicilian poet Stesichorus (638-555 BC) recounts how a woman named Roma arrived with a Trojan fleet in an idyllic place that could easily be Rome.
(Daily Telegraph)

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