Today's news

January 27, 2004


Prelude to the higher education bill vote - what the papers say

Daily Telegraph
- High Noon for Blair
- Game of bluff, but ministers are fearful
- Leader: This bill is right in principle - but wrong in practice
- Why university is wasted on the young
- Letters: Judge students on their merits

Independent
- The Labour MPS who hold Blair's fate in their hands
- Blair makes last minute plea to avoid universities defeat
- How the bill took shape
- Top-up fees spell disaster - discuss
- If the bill is defeated…
- Rebels and whips locked in desperate number crunching
- For: Ivor Crewe (Universities UK); Against: Mandy Telford (NUS)
- Leader: Mr Blair may be right. But too many compromises have diluted this bill
- Donald MacIntyre: There is only one winner if Blair is defeated tonight
- Terry Jones: Let's make infants pay for their schooling
- Letters: Blair's pledge on top-up fees

The Times
- No deal: Blair stares defeat in the face
- Marathon charm offensive wins over rebels
- MPs agonise over vote that challenges Blair
- How hand-shaking beat arm-twisting
- The awkward squads: top-up rebels
- Universities beware: you're heading for a legal quagmire
- Letters: Universities' attitude to fund raising

Guardian
- Blair 20 votes from safety
- Coercion and cajoling as it goes to the wire
- List of rebels, doubters and abstainers
- Diary of wavering M Brian Iddon, Bolton South East
- Concessions and sticking points
- Today's vote could revive top-up fees debate in Ireland
- Martin Kettle: Whatever the outcome, for Blair this is a week of failure
- Stephen Moss: Was my degree in modern history worth £9,000?
- Letters: The high cost of top-up fees

Financial Times
- Knife-edge vote to test Blair's grip on power
- Gordon shakes hands as Tony twists arms
- Clarke tries to win over top-up rebels with independent review
- Leader: Diluted by degrees
- Vincent Cable MP: General taxation is not the only alternative top-up fees
- Letters: Higher education bill will boost UK's economic future

Daily Mail
- Blair in face-to-face plea to rebels over top-up fees deadlock
- Too close to call
- Q&A on a funding crisis that grew into a nightmare for Blair
- Comment: Fiddling figures, dodging issues

Daily Express
- A fairer option to top-up fees
- Leader: PM's dirty tricks reveal he faces his biggest crisis yet
- Premier to be left in weakened state
- Blair blackmails MPs over £600 fare home from Euro talks

More jobs but fewer frills for graduate recruits
Vacancies for graduates entering the job market are set to rise dramatically this year but golden hellos will be a rarity, according to a survey of members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters. Job vacancies requiring applicants with a degree are predicted to rise by nearly 12 per cent - the first increase in three years.
( Financial Times, Daily Telegraph )

Strike ballots to open at 20 colleges
Lecturers' union Natfhe is opening strike ballots next Monday at 20 colleges around the country. It says they have failed to implement the first stage, 3.5 per cent, of a two-year pay deal that came into effect in September. The union is asking for a rolling programme of industrial action starting with a one-day strike on February 26.
( Guardian )

Red tape running riot in FE
The massive burden of bureaucracy on further education colleges that the government pledged to reduce two years ago looks to be growing, according to finance managers. They fear proposals to establish new systems for auditing the flow of cash through colleges risk making a nonsense of the promise to slash red tape by 25 per cent.
( Guardian )

Fake degree man still working for British colleges
A businessman at the centre of a degrees-for-cash scandal in Israel is still working for British universities there, an academic with close ties to Lincoln University said last night. Another lecturer who regularly visited Israel in the 1990s blamed lax controls and the "naivety and incompetence" of Lincoln staff for allowing Mr Ben-Menachem to exploit the venture for his own ends.
( Times )

Soas director concentrates on academic remit
Colin Bundy, director of the School of Oriental and African Studies says that far from being ivory towers, universities are too preoccupied with turning out graduates for the job market.
( Guardian )

US scientists celebrate Martian bull's-eye
Nasa's Opportunity Mars rover has landed in a small crater, to the delight of scientists who hope that it will provide a window into the planet's geological past. The crater, formed by a meteor impact, will allow the rover to peer below the Martian surface without having to dig. "We have scored a 300 million mile interplanetary hole-in-one," the lead scientist for the Mars rovers said.
( Times )

Scientists add new fish to the gene pool
US and Japanese researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today that they have developed techniques to make genetically modified zebrafish using sperm cells grown in the laboratory.
( Guardian )

Cavemen were a race apart
Neanderthal man is not our ancient ancestor, scientists from New York University have revealed. After decades of argument, computer analysis of skulls suggests that the primitive cave-dwellers who died out 30,000 years ago should be considered as a separate species from Homo sapiens , not a sub-species.
( Daily Mail )

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