This is the last Daily News update for 2004; the service will resume on Monday, January 10. The Times Higher sends all our readers best wishes for the holiday season and new year.
Exeter University cuts to go ahead
Controversial plans to close two university departments as part of a cost-cutting drive were formally ratified last night in a move that will trigger a legal challenge from parents and students. Members of Exeter University's governing council announced their final decision last night after a lengthy meeting, saying the cuts were necessary to reduce a predicted £4.5 million deficit.
The Guardian , Daily Telegraph
US slips in attracting the world's best students
American universities, which for half a century have attracted the world's best and brightest students with little effort, are suddenly facing intense competition as higher education undergoes rapid globalization. The European Union, moving to compete with American universities, is streamlining the continent's higher education system and offering American-style degree programs taught in English. Britain, Australia and New Zealand are aggressively recruiting foreign students, as are Asian centers like Taiwan and Hong Kong. And China, which has declared that transforming 100 universities into world-class research institutions is a national priority, is persuading top Chinese scholars to return home from American universities.
New York Times
Google quickly fixes desktop-search flaw
Google said on Monday that it has fixed a security flaw in its new desktop computer search tool that could have allowed attackers to read parts of files stored on a user's computer. News of the vulnerability, uncovered by researchers at Rice University in Texas, underscores security and privacy concerns about the technology, which lets users search for information stored on their computer in much the same way they use Google's search engine to scan the internet.
Proof that acupuncture works – up to a point
Acupuncture significantly reduces pain and improves function in those suffering osteoarthritis of the knee, according to research published yesterday. Patients who underwent the ancient Chinese needle treatment reported a 44 per cent average reduction in pain and a 40 per cent improvement in mobility.
Daily Telegraph , Times
Out of the flames, a work of art from 4,000 years ago
Archaeologists believe a 4,000-year-old stone carving found among the remnants of a devastating moorland blaze could be the world's earliest work of landscape art. Inscriptions on the yard-wide sandstone panel are thought to depict fields and a house with a mountain or seascape in the background.
Daily Telegraph , Times