Today's news

July 22, 2003

University pay deal bridges gap
Pay rises for the lowest-paid university staff of up to 12.7 per cent over two years, but with smaller increases for senior lecturers, have been agreed in principle in a deal between unions and employers. But unions, which may still veto the plans after consulting members, reacted nervously to the package because it means only near-inflation rises for many lecturers over two years. Most university staff will receive a 3.44 per cent increase from October and a 3 per cent increase from August 2004. London weighting will go up 4 per cent and there will be greater rises for the very lowest paid, of up to 12.7 per cent over two years. The rise in the pay bill will cost universities 5 per cent across the board.

University arranges jobs for students
A university that helps its students find paid work to finance their studies reports that one in five has a full-time job. A further 56 per cent of its students say they work up to 20 hours a week to fund their lifestyles or to reduce their level of debts on graduation. The survey was carried out by the University of Hertfordshire, which has set up an employment office in the students' union to help the search for jobs that can be fitted around lectures and study.
(Daily Telegraph)

Scientists stress uncertainties of GM crops
Government hopes of an early introduction of commercially grown GM crops in Britain suffered a setback yesterday when the world's most comprehensive scientific review of the subject emphasised the uncertainties and potential dangers of the crops rather than the advantages. Following the Cabinet Office review ten days ago, which saw no economic benefit to consumers or the economy in growing GM crops, the government's genetic modification science review highlighted dangers both to Britain's environment and the livelihoods of other farmers if the crops were grown here.

Low science
Kansas is flatter than a pancake, according to scientists from Texas State University, who gathered data about the state from the US Geological Survey and then examined a pancake for comparison. The findings are reported in the Annals of Improbable Research.

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