Today's news

January 7, 2004

Blair pushes ahead with top-up fees bill

Tony Blair and Charles Clarke are to finally publish their long-awaited bill introducing top-up fees for university education tomorrow. The decision was taken yesterday after meetings between the two, other ministers and government whips. A ferocious campaign to sell the plan to allow universities to charge up to £3,000 a year for tuition will begin once the education secretary publishes the bill along with a Commons statement setting measures to help poorer students.
( Times, Daily Telegraph )

Rebel MPs split over tuition fee initiative
Last-minute haggling over the shape of tomorrow's controversial package to reform university finance provoked splits within Labour rebel ranks yesterday as government concessions won over some MPs, but not yet enough to secure victory. In manoeuvres ahead of tomorrow's higher education bill, some of Labour's more pragmatic rebels accepted that the government would not give way on the principle of "variable" student tuition fees of up to £3,000 a year.
( Guardian )

Vaccine may offer full meningitis protection
A vaccine that could provide protection against every strain of meningitis is being developed by British scientists. Although vaccines already exist for the A and C strains of meningitis, it is the first time researchers have successfully created a jab which can protect against meningitis B - the most dangerous form of the disease. Scientists from the University of Surrey in Guildford published news of the vaccine in the Infection and Immunity Journal.
( Independent )

High-salt diet doubles risk of cancer
A high-salt diet doubles the risk of developing stomach cancer, according to a study of 40,000 Japanese men and women. Researchers from the National Cancer Centre Research Institute at Kashiwa, near Tokyo, examined the diets, drinking and smoking habits of people in four provinces over 11 years. They found that one man in 500 on high salt diets developed stomach cancer compared with one in 1,000 of those on the lowest salt diets. In men, smoking and a diet low in fruit and vegetables increased the risk. For women, the risk was one in 1,300 for those with the highest salt intake compared with one in 2,000 for the lowest.
( Daily Telegraph, Guardian )

'People say: You went to Cambridge?'
Feature on what life at Cambridge University is like for the black students who make up less than 1 per cent of its population.
( Daily Telegraph )

Letter : Reasons for the decline of Arabic studies in Britain ( Independent )

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