Today's news

May 19, 2004


College chiefs take funding protest to Westminster
Members of the Association of Colleges, which represents all further education establishments, will today descend on parliament for a national day of lobbying over funding in the sector. John Brennan, chief executive of the AoC, said: "Colleges cannot deliver the government's skills strategy if they are unable to invest sufficiently in their workforce. If the government wills the ends it must will the means."
( Guardian )

Boys 'less confident' about going to university
The number of boys who want to go to university has dropped in the last year from 70 per cent to 66 per cent, according to a survey published today. A third of them, compared to 22 per cent of girls, believe they are unlikely to go on to higher education because their exam results will not be good enough, according to research carried out by pollsters MORI on behalf of the education charity the Sutton Trust. The number of pupils who said they are very likely to go to university has also dropped in the last year from 40 per cent to 33 per cent.
( Guardian, Times )

Sir Elton helps young musicians
Sir Elton John, who more than 30 years ago won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music, will today repay the debt that helped to launch his career when he hands over cheques to four students from a £1 million endowment fund he has created to help youngsters from deprived backgrounds. The scholarships will range from £1,000 to £10,0000 depending on the students' circumstances.
( Times )

Pioneering stem-cell bank opens for research
The world's first stem cell bank opens in Hertfordshire today, putting Britain at the forefront of one of the most controversial areas of modern scientific research. The bank, based at the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control and funded by a £40 million grant, will accept embryonic cells as well as those from adults and from foetuses. The UK's first two deposits have been developed separately by researchers at King's College London and the Centre for Life in Newcastle.
( Guardian, Independent, Daily Telegraph, Times )

US report refutes MMR jab link to autism
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in the US has concluded that autism is caused by neither the childhood measles-mumps-rubella vaccine nor the mercury-based vaccine preservative thimerosal. It recommended that future research for causes of autism look elsewhere. The institute reviewed large epidemiological studies in the US, UK, Denmark and Sweden since 2001.
( Financial Times )

Scientists hand Putin weapon to kill Kyoto treaty
Experts from the Russian Academy of Sciences submitted a report to the Kremlin yesterday containing their long-awaited assessment of the scientific virtues of the Kyoto emissions treaty for Russia. According to the Interfax news agency, the scientists said that global warming was occurring, but that to conclude that the warming is occurring exclusively due to anthropogenic pollutants, namely, manmade emissions was questionable.
( Guardian )

Amateur rocket reaches space
A team of US enthusiasts has made history by launching the first amateur rocket into space from the Nevada desert. The 21-foot unmanned craft, named GoFast , reached 4,200 mph and an altitude of 70 miles and spent several minutes in space before returning to Earth. GoFast was built by Ky Michaelson, 65, a former Hollywood stuntman, and 24 colleagues from the Civilian Space Exploration Team, based in Bloomington, Minnesota.
( Daily Telegraph )

Team Green set for another eco record
As petrol prices rise, fuel efficiency matters more. The current record stands at 6,198mpg. Team Green, led by Bath University engineer Andy Green, is hoping to beat its own record at the Nogaro circuit in France this weekend in the annual Shell Eco-Marathon.
Details: www.teamgreen.org.uk
( Daily Telegraph )

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