Today's news

May 11, 2005

Blunkett's 'Alistair Campbell' to advise Blair on education
David Blunkett's former spin-doctor Conor Ryan was last night appointed Downing Street's education advisor. He is to replace Andrew Adonis, who controversially has been made a peer and given a junior minister job in the Department for Education and Skills. Mr Ryan served as Mr Blunkett's spokesman - his own “Alistair Campbell” - from 1993 to 2001 through four years of opposition and two in the department for health. He was Mr Blunkett's political advisor during his tenure as education minister.
The Guardian

Ruth Kelly keeps her job but may lose her seat
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly may have retained her Cabinet job, but there is a serious question mark over whether she will be able to hold on to her parliamentary seat at the next election. In 1997, Kelly defeated the Conservative incumbent to win Bolton West for Labour with a comfortable majority. But the redoubtable MP clung on this time by a precarious 2,064 votes, leaving her vulnerable to a further swing of less than three per cent to the Tories.
The Daily Telegraph

University fees plea to new minister
New higher education minister Bill Rammell must act quickly to tackle student fears over top-up tuition fees, university leaders said last night. Mr Rammell, who was given the job in the post-election reshuffle, should make sure prospective students are not put off, umbrella group Universities UK said.
The Scotsman

Two dead, 50 injured in Afghan student riot
Police and US troops opened fire in an eastern Afghan city to control hundreds of students rioting over alleged desecration of Islam’s holy book at the US jail in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. At least two protesters were killed and more than 50 injured, officials said.
The Scotsman

Easy A-level exams need radical reform
A-level examinations are much easier than they were 20 years ago, the director of admissions at Cambridge University warns today. Students can now get top marks without having a single original thought, according to Dr Geoff Parks. He believes moves to make A-levels more "accessible" to "middle-ground" students have worked too successfully. Radical reform is needed to restore the "challenging" A-level students took a generation ago, Dr Parks will tell a conference of private school head teachers on Thursday.
The Evening Standard, The Guardian

Welsh university determined not to follow merger route
Glamorgan University today set itself on a collision course with the Welsh Assembly over recommendations in a new report that it should merge with two other Welsh institutions. The findings of the report into the long, drawn out but eventually abortive merger discussions between Glamorgan and the University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, and subsequent negotiations between Uwic and the University of Wales, Newport, were warmly welcomed today by ministers.
The Guardian

Art colleges to merge in push for university status
Two art colleges in the south-east are to merge in August as the next step to gaining university status. The merger will give Kent Institute of Art and Design and the Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College a combined student body of 6,500 as the two become a university college - large enough to qualify as a university.
The Guardian

Clothes guru George designs Heriot-Watt fashion retail course
The founder of style giants Next has established a fashion course at a city university. Fashion guru George Davies, who is also behind George at Asda and Marks & Spencer’s Per Una range, has gone into partnership with Heriot-Watt University and will teach masterclasses in retail fashion. Dr Davies has helped design the International Fashion Marketing course, which will accept its first students in the autumn, and has also been involved in selecting its staff.
The Scotsman, The Financial Times

Greek anarchists clash with police on university campus
Dozens of self-styled anarchists clashed with police early Wednesday and trapped more than 20 people attending a book-launching ceremony inside Athens' Polytechnic University for more than six hours before they peacefully dispersed. Two deputies with the main opposition Socialist party were among the two dozen or so people trapped inside the university campus in downtown Athens after the anarchists late Tuesday attacked two cars belonging to the politicians, police said.
The Guardian

Year of soul-searching to research the human spirit
An academic is set to embark on a year-long period of soul-searching after being given funding to research the human spirit. Melody Stokes, a research fellow at De Montfort University, in Leicester, has been awarded the £,250 fellowship to investigate one of the great mysteries of life – how souls work.
The Scotsman

Can E beat the Big C?
Cancer could be treated in future by a modified form of clubbers’ drug ecstasy. Scientists have found ecstasy can slow the development of lymphoma cancers which affect white blood cells. The Birmingham University researchers got similar results with anti-depressants like Prozac.
The Sun

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