Today's news

September 18, 2003

Ministerial aid urges rethink on top-up fees
The Labour party's anger over university top-up fees spread to MPs on the government "payroll" yesterday, Peter Bradley, parliamentary private secretary to Alun Michael, rural affairs minister, urged the prime minister to rethink the policy. He asked Tony Blair in a private meeting whether it was time to "return the favour" to Labour MPs who had backed him before, sometimes against their instincts.
(Financial Times)

Fee-paying pupils urged to look beyond Oxbridge
Students at fee-paying schools were advised by their head teachers yesterday to look beyond Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol and seek places at less glamorous universities. Many pupils were so determined to join their friends at elite universities that they overlooked good courses at less prestigious institutions where they had a better chance of being admitted, the heads said.
(Times, Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph)

Man drives king of the jungle to brink of extinction
Africa is down to its last 23,000 lions, according to estimates that suggest that the king of the jungle could soon be close to extinction.  Lion populations have shrunk from a healthy 200,000 two decades ago to the point at which their long-term survival is now in question, wildlife biologists at the University of California at Berkeley, said yesterday.
(Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail)

Temperature rise destroys Indian Ocean surface coral
A rise in sea temperatures killed off 90 per cent of the coral reefs near the surface of the Indian Ocean in only one year, while the remaining 10 per cent could die in the next 20 years, devastating fish stocks and tourism vital to coastal economies, University of Warwick researcher Charles Sheppard reports today in the journal Nature.
(Independent)

Monkeys strike if they don't get a fair deal
Monkeys have a natural sense of fair play, throwing tantrums or sulking if they think they are getting a raw deal, US scientists have discovered. In the study, details of which are published today in the journal Nature, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta show that a sense of injustice is not a uniquely human quality.
(Times, Guardian, Daily Telegraph)

Dig finds fish built on a giant scale
Bones belonging to the world's biggest species of fish have been found in Cambridgeshire. More than 2,000 bones of the Leedsichthys, which lived 150 million years ago and reached 30m (98ft) in length, were recovered during a dig at Hanson Brick's Saxon Works, near Peterborough. The skeleton will be displayed at the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University.
(Times)

Other higher education items
Fog of top grades 'clouds' university entrance. (Financial Times) • Philanthropist Peter Lampl has said he does not want to run the Office of Fair Access (Independent) • Graduates seeking career advice will struggle (Times) • Letter: European universities don't need European Commission slur (Independent) Letter: A graduate who supports top-up fees (Independent) • Supplement on engineering (Independent).

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