Today's news

January 17, 2005

Pupils from disadvantaged schools to get easier route into Cambridge
Cambridge University is backing discrimination in favour of pupils from poorly performing state schools, according to confidential guidance to admissions tutors. A handbook to admissions tutors in all Cambridge colleges advises that seven A-grade GCSE passes by a pupil from a poorly performing school should be treated as equal to eight A* passes from a "highly selective school".
The Independent

'Open access' universities policy backfires
The Government's drive to recruit more students from poorer backgrounds to universities risks increasing the number of drop-outs, who would be unwilling to try again, new research reveals. Student leaders said it was evidence that the government's policy of widening participation in higher education is not being matched by better support once they get there.
The Guardian, Times Higher

Doctor treats shortages with first private medical school
A Harley Street doctor is setting up Britain’s first independent medical school since the start of the NHS to cater for the increasingly urgent need to train more doctors. The Hunter School of Medicine will open in September next year on Brunel University’s Uxbridge campus and is aimed primarily at training senior NHS nurses and paramedics to become doctors.
The Times

Polluted air is blamed for most childhood cancers
Most childhood cancers are probably caused by exposure to pollutants while babies are in the womb, a leading scientist has claimed. George Knox, Emeritus Professor at the University of Birmingham, said that prenatal exposure to industrial and environmental pollutants, most likely to have been inhaled by the mother during pregnancy, was probably to blame for most cancers in under-16s. The most dangerous were produced by industry or transport, he said.
The Times, The Independent, Daily Telegraph

Windy world gives Huygens probe a 300mph bumpy ride
Titan is a windy world buffeted by high-altitude gales significantly stronger than those on Earth, according to measurements from the European Huygens probe. Huygens endured a "wonky ride" as it descended through the atmosphere of Saturn’s largest moon on Friday night, suggesting that it had been blown around by winds of close to 300mph, scientists behind the mission said yesterday.
The Times

Classical treasures threatened by Vesuvius
An earthquake or volcanic eruption is likely to destroy a library of ancient books at Herculaneum, near Pompeii, before they can be excavated unless urgent action is taken, according to the Herculaneum Society at Wadham College, Oxford.
Daily Telegraph

'Chernobyl created a negative view of nuclear technology. I don't think it's the right view': Interview with Sir David King, Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government and professor of chemistry at Cambridge University.
The Independent

From the weekend's papers

The ban on student loans for those aged over 54 is set to be scrapped after it was described as 'one of the most blatant pieces of age discrimination in any area of public policy'.
The Observer

Jubilant European scientists unveiled the secrets of mysterious Titan, a world that has a surface like crème brûlée. British-built instruments have revealed an alien surface with a thin crust and soft, sticky material underneath.
The Observer

Two John Moores University graduates have set up a walk-in paternity clinic, as part of the university's Student Enterprise Scheme.
The Guardian

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