Today's news

October 22, 2003

Fiasco over top-up fees waiver

Labour's policy on university top-up fees was in disarray last night, after officials could not explain how a scheme to waive the £3,000-a-year charge for poorer students would work. Denying that the policy was in confusion, a Department for Education and Skills spokesman said: "Quite how it will all work, we will announce when we are ready." Many Labour MPs predicted that Mr Clarke's promise would reduce the extra income produced by fees so much that the policy would no longer be workable.
( Daily Express, Evening Standard )

Bring back student grants
Labour MP Graham Allen writes that Mr Clarke should help less-advantaged students by paying them to learn and letting them repay course fees at their leisure.
( Daily Telegraph )

UK plc must draw on widest pool of students
Henrietta Royle, chief operating officer of the Cass Business School, writes that the funding needs of MSc students are just as great as for undergraduates.
( Financial Times )

US student faces jail over test of plane security
A US college student who allegedly hid box cutters and other banned items on four airliners to expose weaknesses in American security has been charged with a federal crime. An FBI affidavit said the banned items were not discovered on two of the planes until a month after Nathaniel Heatwole, 20, had alerted authorities about his scheme via email. If convicted, he would face 10 years in prison.
( Daily Telegraph )

Articulating your way around Europe
A language kit for lorry drivers has been produced by academics at Christ Church University College, Canterbury, with the help of drivers from six European countries. Key phrases in English, Bulgarian, Dutch, Flemish, French and Polish are printed on large cards. A a British driver dying for a bag of chips in Warsaw need merely point to the Polish phrase Poprosze frytki . The one phrase drivers will least want to use is Skradziono moja ciezarowke , or On a volé mon camion or Mijn vrachtwagen is gestolen . In other words, someone’s nicked me wagon.
( Times )

Airline staff cancer risk discovered
Air hostesses may develop breast cancer more readily than other women. Those who had worked as cabin crew for at least five years before 1971 had a fivefold increase in breast cancer, a report in Occupational and Environmental Medicine said. Possible reasons include exposure to cosmic radiation.
( Times, Guardian )

Fancy a new face?
Plastic surgeons say that they are ready for the most emotive advance in their repertoire yet, but there are doubts that the general public is ready for face transplants. A Royal College of Surgeons working party will report on the issue next month where John Baker, director of plastic surgery research at the University of Louisville, will announce that the surgical hurdles associated with face transplants have been overcome.
( Daily Telegraph )

Smallpox not eradicated, scientist warns
The return of smallpox - one of the most lethal diseases in history - is a possibility, according to the scientist who ran the World Health Organisation's campaign to eradicate the virus in the 1970s. Donald Henderson, a senior science adviser to the US government, said past assurances from certain countries claiming to have destroyed their smallpox stocks could no longer be believed.
( Independent )

Bertram Brockhouse , the Canadian Nobel prize-winning physicist, died on October 13, 2003, aged 85 ( Times ) · John Clayton , the Texan-born religious scholar who taught at Lancaster and Boston universities, died on 21 September, 2003, aged 60 ( Independent ).

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