Today's news

October 27, 2003


Thousands join student protest over top-up fees

Students and their supporters brought central London to a standstill yesterday as they marched in protest at government plans to let universities treble tuition fees to £3,000 a year. According to the National Union of Students, there were 31,000 marchers, three times the number estimated by the Metropolitan police.
( Guardian, Times, Financial Times, Daily Mail, Daily Express )

Schools look to O levels to help raise standards
A new exam modelled on the old O level is being adopted by a growing number of schools that believe the qualification, which concentrates on a final exam rather than course work, improves pupils' chances of getting into university. The new qualification, being offered by Edexcel and the Cambridge local Examinations Syndicate, has so far been approved by ten universities, including Durham, Exeter and Oxford.
( Daily Mail, Times )

Scientists 'are born - not made'
The reason that people are drawn to the sciences could be genetic rather than cultural, according to a survey of almost 400 men and women conducted by Mark Lythgoe of University College London for a lecture series to promote The Daily Telegraph /Novartis Visions of Science photographic competition, which is backed by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
( Daily Telegraph )

Scientists begin to map genes of disease
Scientists have started to draw up the first map of human genetic differences in an ambitious project to locate the roots of human disease. The International HapMap Project, which publishes its first results next month, will provide an index to mankind's genetic code, allowing scientists to pick out inherited variations that affect health. The £60 million initiative involves British scientists from Oxford University and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute near Cambridge.
( Times )

Explorers on the trail of Lost City of Atlantis
For more than two millennia, many of the world's greatest adventurers, explorers and thinkers have sought the fabled Lost City of Atlantis. Next month, an expedition to hunt for its remains among submerged Gibraltarian islands will be unveiled at the Royal Geographical Society, London, by renowned geologist Jacques Collina-Girard and the leaders of the Titanic expeditions.
( Daily Telegraph )

Germany leads way in number of websites
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Germany has more websites per person than any other country. Last year Germany had 84.7 websites per 1,000 people, followed by Denmark and Norway with 71.7 and 66.4 respectively. Other leaders in the website rankings are the UK and the US - both have more than 60 sites per 1,000 people. The OECD average is 30, while the norm for the EU is slightly under 40.
( Financial Times )

Roundup of higher education items in the weekend papers
The government wants 50 per cent of youngsters to go to university, but Alan Wilson, its new higher education czar, would like that figure to be even bigger ( Sunday Times ) · Peter Mandelson has set up a room in Downing Street to help steer legislation on student fees through Parliament ( Independent on Sunday ) · A self-styled university in Spain is selling "non-traditional" degrees over the internet ( Observer ) · Advice to students, who are being offered dangerously large amounts of credit cards and overdraft facilities ( Times , 25 October 2003) · Private schools and universities have launched an unprecedented bid to attract the children of wealthy Russians ( Evening Standard , 24 October 2003).

Former Nottingham v-c dies
Basil Weedon, organic chemist at Imperial College, London, Queen Mary College, London and vice-chancellor, Nottingham University 1976-88, died on 13 October 2003, aged 80.
( Independent )

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