Today's news

August 4, 2004


Tories attacked over student loan plan

The Tories were accused yesterday of planning to penalise graduates on low earnings after a partial leak of their higher education policy suggested they would impose above-inflation interest on student loans.
( Guardian , Financial Times , Daily Express , Sun , Evening Standard )

Dressing down over discount gowns
An upstart student company specialising in discount academic regalia has upset the proctors, and the established competition, at Oxford University.
( Daily Telegraph )

University is what you make it
One student's dismal account of her disappointing course has inspired a heated response from students and lecturers on the purpose of a university.
( Daily Telegraph )

Initiatives aim to turn graduates into entrepreneurs
Graduates are failing to set up their own companies, prompting the Government to launch schemes to tackle the problem. Mindful of its commitments to boost productivity and create a "knowledge economy", the Government will launch the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship next month.
( Financial Times )

Sardinian discovery rewrites history of wine
Dutch and Italian archaeologists digging in the fertile Sardara hills north of Sardinia's capital Cagliari said yesterday that they had discovered grape pips and sediment dating to 1200BC. Sardinia, it seems, may be the cradle of European wine culture.
( Independent )

The continuing failure to take Wales seriously
The higher education system in Wales does the people a great disservice, according to Richard Wyn Jones, an international politics lecturer.
( Independent )

Optimistic mothers have boys, study says
Women who believe they are going to live for a long time are more likely to give birth to sons than less optimistic women, according to research reported today in the journal Biology Letters .
( Guardian , Times )

Messenger launched to probe Mercury
Messenger , the first spacecraft designed to orbit red-hot Mercury, was launched early yesterday after a 24-hour delay due to poor weather. Scientists hope the £234 million mission will help solve some of the perplexing puzzles about the solar system's innermost planet.
( Financial Times )

US scientist challenges UK on Gulf war illness
A US scientist who led investigations suggesting that nerve agents injured troops in the first Gulf war yesterday called on British researchers to join the hunt for reliable brain scans and other tests. Robert Haley told Lord Lloyd's independent inquiry into war-related injuries that the US government had radically changed its attitude towards his work after other scientists replicated studies indicating brain damage in veterans.
( The Guardian , Daily Telegraph )

Schizophrenia drugs risk still unknown
Not enough is known about the side-effects of a new generation of drugs used to treat patients with schizophrenia, according to research published today. There is an urgent need to do more research on possible adverse side-effects of so-called "atypical" antipsychotics, which over the past decade have become the first choice treatment for schizophrenia, warned a report in the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin .
( The Guardian )

For cod's sake stick to salmon, scampi and sprats
Cod, plaice and skate should be off the menu until depleted stocks recover, according to a guide published today. But Dover sole, North Sea herring, coley, red mullet, Cornish mackerel and farmed scallops can still be eaten with a clear conscience, says the guide, which can be found at www.fishonline.org.
( Daily Telegraph )

Fathers 'are too competitive to be playmates'
Children rate their fathers as among their least popular playmates because they are too competitive, according to research among more than 1,000 youngsters. They "played to win", lacked imagination or were simply at a loss as to how to play games, said the Children's Play Council, which commissioned the survey with the Children's Society.
( Daily Telegraph )

Royal Academy told to call in police over missing £80,000
The Charity Commission has ordered the Royal Academy to report suspected financial irregularities to the police after the resignation of a senior figure amid allegations that tens of thousands of pounds have gone missing.
( Times )

Vatican vision of man and woman incenses feminists
In a broadside that is dividing opinion in the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican has attacked modern feminist theories that deny men and women are fundamentally different or portray them as locked in a perpetual "battle of the sexes". "From the first moment of their creation, man and woman are distinct, and will remain so for all eternity," says the document, issued last weekend by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the agency that enforces the Vatican's teachings.
( Financial Times )

New test to detect oesophageal cancer
Scientists say they have developed a test to detect cancer of the oesophagus which could improve survival rates. Oesophageal cancer develops in cells that line the oesophagus, or food pipe, which connects the throat to the stomach. It is difficult to diagnose early and five-year survival rates are low. But researchers at the Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research at University College London have devised an cheap and easy test that detects high levels of a protein called Mcm5, an early indication of the disease.
( Reuters )

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