Today's news

March 9, 2004


French research directors resign en masse
Some two hundred directors of laboratories and scientific research teams have resigned from their administrative duties via electronic mail, according to a spokesperson for the "Sauvons la recherche" campaign. On the surface, the action is symbolic, but it could soon lead to paralysis of the French research sector.
( Le Monde, AFP )

Charity calls for benefits extension for students
Centrepoint, the charity for homeless young people, is calling on the government to allow 19-year-olds in full-time education or training to continue claiming benefit for the duration of their courses. It says many homeless youngsters are forced to abandon studies because the day they hit 19, they must start seeking or being available for work in order to claim jobseeker's allowance.
( Guardian )

Science defeats the menopause
US scientists report in The Lancet online today that they have succeeded in creating an embryo from the ovarian tissue of a young woman made infertile through cancer treatments six years earlier. The breakthrough might offer a "cure" for the menopause and babies for women who have had a premature menopause.
( Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Times )

Dolly firm facing bankruptcy
PPL Therapeutics, which was hailed as a scientific pioneer when Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned in 1996, announced last night that it was on the brink of bankruptcy after key shareholders refused to back a last-ditch rescue plan.
( Guardian )

David Attenborough joins campaign against whaling
In a departure from his long held stance of neutrality on political and conservation questions, wildlife broadcaster Sir David Attenborough makes clear his opposition to whaling in a report produced by the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
( Guardian, Daily Telegraph )

Dust storm may have wrecked Beagle probe
Researchers have discovered that the atmosphere 25 miles above Mars was far thinner than expected when the Beagle II probe reached the Mars on Christmas Day. The unusual conditions, caused by a huge dust storm, may have resulted in the £45 million probe plummeting to the surface too quickly and smashing into the ground.
( Daily Telegraph, Times )

Restorers find David's ankle is cracking up
Michelangelo's statue David may be clean in time for his 500th birthday this year, but experts are concerned that his left ankle may not be strong enough to keep him standing forever. A team at Bologna University has begun analysing tiny cracks in the marble masterpiece's left ankle since restoration work began on the statue last September.
( Guardian )

Staying attractive
Former education minister Baroness Blackstone says that rather than worrying about overseas students 'swamping' our universities, we should be afraid that fees will deter them from coming.
( Guardian )

Competition time
A look at whether plush facilities and freebies will bring in more students to universities and satisfy those paying top-up fees in 2006.
( Guardian )

Principal strategist
Feature on Chris Hughes, who led the way for college heads to make themselves heard on a national level, and has just announced he is stepping down as chief executive of the FE thinktank, the Learning and Skills Development Agency - in his first week as a college lecturer.
( Guardian )


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