Today's news

July 18, 2005

Iraq 'made UK a terror target', claims academic report
John Reid today dismissed a report that military involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has made Britain a more likely target for terrorists. Academics writing for the respected independent research group Chatham House - formerly the Royal Institute of International Affairs - concluded that there was "no doubt" that the invasion had enhanced propaganda, recruitment and fund-raising for al-Qaeda. Frank Gregory of the University of Southampton and Paul Wilkinson of the University of St Andrews the report's authors, also said that Britain's efforts to combat terror had been hampered by its closeness to America.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian

£4m campaign to stop fees putting students off university
Fears that higher tuition fees will deter thousands of students from taking degrees have led ministers to order a £4 million drive to promote the new university funding scheme. Adverts will appear on television and radio and in newspapers and magazines to reach parents after signs that the debate over £3,000 annual fees is putting off many youngsters. Current applications, for the last year of the £1,200 fee, have soared by 8 per cent - fuelling suspicions that many teenagers who would otherwise have taken a year off will head straight to university. But Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, insisted that the new fee system, which comes in next year, was a good deal, especially for students from lower income families.
The Times

Euan Blair's off to Harvard after 2:1 in ancient history
Euan Blair plans to study at America's elite Harvard Business School. Tony Blair's eldest son graduates today from Bristol University with an expected upper second degree in ancient history. He will spend three months in Washington working as an unpaid intern for a Republican congressman. But after a gap year he hopes to be accepted for an MBA course at Harvard. Euan, 21, is believed to have tried to get into the college this year but failed. There is fierce competition for entry into the Ivy League university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has produced six US presidents. A government source said: "Euan is ambitious and is really hoping to make it to Harvard.
The Mirror

Poachers blamed as elephants grow tuskless
Elephants in China are evolving into an increasingly tuskless breed because poaching is changing the gene pool, according to new research by zoologists. Up to 10 per cent of Asian elephants in China now have a gene that prevents them from developing tusks, up from the usual level of 2 per cent, academics at Beijing Normal University said. Zhang Li, an associate professor of zoology, said: "The larger tusks the male elephant has, the more likely it will be shot by poachers. Therefore, the elephants without tusks survive, preserving the tuskless gene in the species."
The Scotsman, The Times, The Guardian

Most couples differ over time and money
Most British couples cannot agree on how many years they have been together or who holds the purse strings, research shows. The study by Alistair Munro and Ian Bateman of the University of East Anglia, published in the latest Economic Journal , put couples through a series of tests to see how they made financial decisions. In one scenario reminiscent of the game show Mr and Mrs, 76 couples were asked to predict their partner's choices. None got all 10 questions correct. The average score was six out of 10.
The Guardian

Plan to bring grey whales back to Britain
Conservationists are planning to fly 50 grey whales from California to Cumbria in an attempt to reintroduce the species to British waters after 400 years. If successful, the coast of Cumbria will join North America and Korea as the only three sites in the world to have a population of the whales. Andrew Ramsey and Owen Nevin of the University of Central Lancashire have come up with the proposal, which will be unveiled at a world conservation conference in Brazil on Tuesday. Should it be approved, there could be grey whales off Cumbria within the next 10 years, Dr Nevin said.
The Daily Telegraph

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • The rules of the research assessment exercise are published. The Guardian
  • Universities fear their campuses are being used as recruiting grounds for religious extremists. The Financial Times
  • Graduates have mixed feelings on the quality of university careers services. The Guardian

Sunday

  • In Russia, the problem of cheating in university exams via mobile phone has become so bad that dampening fields have been deployed. The Independent On Sunday
  • Students are opting to take three months off before university rather than a full gap year. The Observer

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