Today's news

July 5, 2005

French and British launch neuroscience venture
A group of British and French academics have signed an agreement with potentially far-reaching consequences for brain research. The academic entente cordiale has been signed by University College London with the Ecole Normale Supérieure, one of the prestigious French grands écoles , and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, known as Paris VI, also among the top 30 research universities in the world. Their ambition is to create a tri-polar centre of world excellence in neuroscience, to rival the dominance of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Guardian

Indian call centres recruit UK graduates
UK call centre workers and university graduates are being recruited to fill skills gaps at Indian-based call centres, reversing the recent trend of British jobs being lost to Indian businesses. Launch Offshore, has been established to help Indian companies serving the UK market cope with language and cultural differences, and to provide management and training skills. Wages of 11,000 to 30,000 rupees a month - about £140 to £375 - are low but accommodation is provided and the Indian cost of living is five times lower than in the UK, says Tim Bond, Launch Offshore's founder.
The Financial Times

Prince Harry's art teacher wins case against Eton
The art teacher who accused Prince Harry of cheating has won her case against Eton College for unfair dismissal. Sarah Forsyth, 30, took the public school to an employment tribunal after her contract was not renewed. The tribunal yesterday upheld Ms Forsyth's claim that she had been bullied by Eton's head of art, Ian Burke. But it rejected her allegations that Mr Burke had ordered her to help Prince Harry cheat in his AS-level art by completing his written work for him. It also criticised as "unprofessional" her decision to secretly record a conversation with the prince on his way to his final exam to try to support her claim.
The Independent, The Daily Telegraph, The Evening Standard, The Times, The Scotsman

E-learning under threat
Fears that English college students will lose out on new developments in computer technology have been fuelled by the Learning and Skills Council's decision to slash its funding to the joint information systems committee. In what some see as proof of financial crisis, the LSC is cutting £6.5 million of its annual subscription to the body, which offers higher and further education establishments strategic guidance and support on the use of computers for teaching, learning and research. LSC officials admit its finances are tight and they are not convinced it is getting full value for the £24 million it is paying this year for membership of Jisc.
The Guardian

Breast may not be best after all, says professor
For decades women have been encouraged to breast-feed their babies and told that formula milk is not as healthy. But now this orthodoxy is being challenged by a study that claims “breast is best” campaigns risk doing more harm than good. In a report published today, Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent, criticises the “breast-feeding zealots” who have politicised the issue and turned it into a moral crusade. As a result, he says, women who bottle feed have been made to feel like second-rate parents.
The Times

Women have lower pain barrier, shows study
A woman’s ability to get in touch with her emotions is a severe handicap when it comes to dealing with pain. Research suggests that women complain loudest and longest when they are in pain. But a study at the University of Bath says that they have more to complain about than men, who suffer pain less often and in fewer places. The study, which involved volunteers taking part in painful tasks until they could no longer stand the agony, found that women have a lower pain threshold and tolerance levels. Dr Ed Keogh said men may take a more physical approach to pain, meaning that they think about what they can do to deal with it.
The Times, The Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman

Footprints challenge theories
British scientists claimed they have unearthed 40,000 year-old human footprints in central Mexico which shatter previous theories on how humans first colonised the Americas. Dr Silvia Gonzalez, from Liverpool John Moores University, who led the team of researchers, said the findings were "the tip of the iceberg" and would help rewrite the history books. She said the discovery, near to the city of Puebla, 130 km southeast of Mexico City, challenges the traditionally held view that settlers first crossed the Bering Straits, from Russia to Alaska, at the end of the last ice age around 11,500 to 11,000 years ago.
The Evening Standard, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Nature, The Scotsman

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