Today's news

May 23, 2005

Academic boycott of Israeli universities likely to be overturned
The supporters of a controversial boycott of two Israeli universities have accepted that the measure is likely to be overturned at a special meeting of Britain's biggest university lecturers' union later this week. Sue Blackwell, an academic at the University of Birmingham who attracted worldwide condemnation for leading calls to cut academic links with the universities of Bar-Ilan and Haifa, said she expected the boycott to be rescinded on Thursday by the Association of University Teachers.
The Financial Times, The Guardian

Blunkett to rule out graduates working until 70
The government is to set out plans next month to persuade or even compel people to contribute more to their state pension but has ruled out reported suggestions that graduates could be compelled to work until 70 to bridge the funding gap.
The Guardian

Spin-out department accused of wasting university funds
The university group that created the failed spin-outs Kymata and Essient has been accused of mismanagement and wasting funds on projects with no prospect of success. Glasgow University's research and enterprise department had an enviable reputation five years ago, but some at the university believe the department has made some serious mistakes in the way it spends its cash.
The Scotsman

Mother of shot activist accuses Israeli army of cover-up
The mother of a young British activist shot in the Gaza strip has accused the Israeli military of scapegoating a soldier charged over her son's killing, and army commanders of a cover-up, as a yearlong trial drew to an end yesterday.
The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

Young workers will call the shots
The next generation of vocational college graduates and school-leavers will be in a prime bargaining position as companies compete to recruit fresh talent - because their skills will be in short supply. A report published today suggests that there will be a sharp decline in the number of workers aged 25 and under in the next 15 years. A declining birthrate and the increasing numbers of students in higher education mean that young people will comprise just 11 per cent of the workforce by 2020, compared with 16 per cent today - equivalent to a loss of nearly one million workers.
The Times

New £8m centre will battle leukaemia
Plans to build an £8 million leukaemia research centre in Glasgow were unveiled yesterday after the tireless campaigning of two young victims of the disease. The state-of-the-art centre will bring together some of the top scientists in the world in a bid to make Scotland an international leader in tackling leukaemia. However, the laboratory - which is to house 40 experts on the disease - only came about after the campaigning of victims of the blood cancer.
The Daily Mail, The Scotsman

Defending residents of death row
A Scottish law graduate is heading for the United States to defend murderers on death row. Paula Black, 23, will spend three months working on cases in South Carolina, which currently has 74 inmates facing the death sentence.
The Scotsman

Cannabis smokers 'at risk of brittle bone disease'
Excessive use of cannabis may lead to brittle bones, new research suggests. Scientists have found that molecules on the surface of bone cells are targeted by cannabis chemicals. They discovered that drugs which block these cannabinoid receptors may prevent bone loss. But the flip-side to the research is that smoking cannabis is likely to promote osteoporosis.
The Independent, The Scotsman, The Guardian

Scientists say they found the root of sarcasm. Yeah, right
Scientists in Israel have cracked the complicated cognitive code that determines whether individuals are able to understand sarcasm. Yeah, right. No, really. The findings, published today by the American Psychological Association, could provide vital clues to the best way of helping people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, as well as those with some forms of brain damage, to improve their communication skills.
The Times

Letter
Stating that the reform of Oxford University needs to have open debate. The Independent

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • Business leaders have condemned the decision of Oxford Dons to throw out the first of an ambitious programme of reforms designed by John Hood. The Financial Times
  • Students with mental health problems cry out for care. The Times
  • University graduates may be barred from receiving a state pension until they are 70 under proposals from Tony Blair’s pensions supremo to solve the looming crisis. The Times

Sunday

  • The Association of University Teachers will meet next week to reconsider its boycott of Israeli universities. The Independent
  • Gordon Brown has already picked his cabinet team and Ruth Kelly will remain minister for education. The People
  • Top cancer doctor says self-examination and screening can be bad for your health. The Independent

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