Today's news

October 13, 2004

Scholars condemn Bush policies
More than 650 foreign affairs experts have signed an open letter condemning the Bush administration's policies in Iraq, accusing it of harming the struggle against terrorism. The group, who call themselves Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy, include former staff of the White House, the state department and the Pentagon, along with six of the past seven presidents of the American Political Science Association, and academics from the London School of Economics and Oxford, Bradford, Glasgow, Wales, Lancaster and London universities.

Napier University to set up shop in China
Edinburgh's Napier University will be the first Scottish institution to allow Chinese students to study for a Scottish degree without leaving their home country. Napier will open a campus in the grounds of the Zhengzhou University of Light Industry in central China's Henan Province. Jack McConnell, Scotland's First Minister, also announced yesterday that Chinese languages could be taught in Scottish schools as part of attempts to forge closer links between the countries' education systems.

Aberdeen forges closer ties with Chinese university
The University of Aberdeen has signed an agreement with the University of Petroleum in Beijing to work together on a number of projects, beginning with a new staff and student exchange programme.

Aberdeen's graduate talent driven south
Hundreds of graduates from Aberdeen's two universities are being forced to leave the North-east of Scotland in the hunt for jobs, despite a desire to remain in the area, according to a pioneering study carried out by Scottish Enterprise Grampian. The survey showed that, although the actual retention of graduates within the North-east stands at 42 per cent, a further 29 per cent would have stayed in the area had there been the relevant job or graduate training programme opportunities.

Professor told to sit GCSE wins apology
The Department for Education and Skills was yesterday forced to apologise to a distinguished former professor of physics at a US university after wrongly insisting that he could only carry on teaching in a British grammar school if he passed GCSE maths. David Wolfe, who has contributed experiments to the international space programme and speaks seven languages, had been told that he had to take the exam to continue as a physics teacher at the Royal Grammar School in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
Guardian, Daily Telegraph

Institutions scramble to share Nobel limelight
During the past week 12 Nobel laureates have won SKr60 million in prize money (£4.6 million). However the indirect value of the prizes to the recipients and their institutions could be even greater, because they give a huge boost to public relations, fundraising and recruitment. On past form, at least 50 institutions will bask in the reflected glory of this year's laureates. Cambridge University currently claims more Nobel laureates than any other institution. Its website lists 80 "affiliates of the university" who have won prizes.
Financial Times

Homosexual link to fertility genes
Homosexuality is a natural side-effect of genetic factors that help women to have more children, an Italian study suggests. A team from Padua University found that female maternal relatives of homosexual men seemed to have more children than female relatives of heterosexual men. There was no difference with female paternal relatives. The findings are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences .
Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Financial Times, Independent  

Spare tyre can indicate diabetes risk
Checking your waistline with a tape measure is a better predictor of your health prospects than your weight on the bathroom scales, anti-obesity campaigners will say today. Anthony Barnett, professor of medicine at Birmingham University, warns that men with what many might not regard as a spare tyre, a 37 inch (94cm) waist, could be significantly raising their risks of two major diseases.
Guardian, Daily Telegraph

Goethe skeleton reveals back pain
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - the biggest name in the German cultural pantheon and the German-speaking world's answer to Shakespeare - suffered for more than 40 years from acute backache, according to Dr Herbert Ullrich, a German anthropologist who has just published a book on the skeletons of famous people.

Too many creative accountants
This week sees the publication of Concertina , the annual anthology of work by recent graduates of the University of East Anglia's creative-writing course. Novelist and critic DJ Taylor comments on the boom in academic writing courses and says this has led to a glut of soulless novels.

Another view of admissions exams
Some teachers claimed this week that Oxford University's new history entrance test is unfair as it is couched in middle-class language. Oliver Pritchett proffers an exam that is properly middle class.
Daily Telegraph

The ambiguous truths about Derrida's legacy
Readers' deconstruct recent articles about the French philosopher Jacques Derrida, who died last Friday.

Obituaries :
- Michael Grant, scholar and prolific author of accessible histories of Ancient Rome, died on October 4, aged 89. Times
- Patrick Wormald, the Anglo-Saxon historian whose major work set the emergence of English law in its full social and cultural perspective. died on September 29, aged 57. Guardian
- Dominic Montserrat, Egyptologist, died on September 23, aged 40. Independent

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