Today's news

July 25, 2005

Islamic scholars urge unity to fight terror
A conference of Islamic scholars from around the world yesterday denounced the recent terrorist attacks on London as "barbaric and inhuman", and called on the public and media to work more closely with the Muslim community to fight extremism.
The Guardian

Last chance to cut fees by taking time out
Students hoping to go to university could save thousands in tuition fees if they apply by the end of today to defer their place for a year. From 2006, all students attending university must pay top-up fees of up to £3,000 a year once they are earning more than £15,000. Under a little-known exemption, however, the Government has agreed to fix fees at current levels of £1,200 for students who take a gap year in 2006, payable after graduating. Under the exemption, each student must have applied for and received written confirmation of the deferred place from their university by August 1 to qualify. For many, today will be the last chance to apply.
The Times

Cambridge funding drive not just academic
Cambridge is considering more risky investments as the university reforms its financial management in the run-up to a big international fundraising drive. The moves, which could result in lucrative business for hedge funds, private equity and other "cutting edge" investment vehicles, have been revealed by Alison Richard, the vice-chancellor, as she prepares to persuade former students and other friends of the university to help raise endowment funds. The campaign will be launched in the autumn as part of the run-up to the institution's 800th anniversary celebrations in 2009.
The Financial Times

Eastern promise is an education for university
A Chinese delegation toured Napier University as part of a visit to Scotland designed to develop economic and educational links. Principal and vice-chancellor Joan Stringer hosted the delegation from the Henan Provincial Government of China. The delegation, led by Guo Guosan, vice-chairman of the Henan Provincial People's Political Consultative Conference, visited Napier's Craighouse and Merchiston campuses and met a group of its Chinese students. In a new partnership, Napier will offer an MBA scholarship each year for five years to a senior government official. Professor Stringer said: "This visit signifies the growing links between Scotland and China, and the relationship with Napier in particular."
The Scotsman

GM crops created superweed, say scientists
Modified genes from crops in a GM crop trial have transferred into local wild plants, creating a form of herbicide-resistant "superweed". The cross-fertilisation between GM oilseed rape, a brassica, and a distantly related plant, charlock, had been discounted as virtually impossible by scientists with the environment department. It was found during a follow up to the government's three-year trials of GM crops which ended two years ago.
The Guardian

World youth congress to kick off
Youngsters from all over the world are set to descend on Stirling University this week to mark the Third World Youth Congress. Stirling will host a series of projects in the international youth event, which begins on July 31. The congress aims to promote the role of young people from 142 countries in a bid to eradicate poverty, spread peace and equality, and green awareness.
The Scotsman

Why cats do not like chocolate
Cats cannot taste sweet things because of a newly identified genetic mutation. Pet owners have long known that while dogs are fond of sweet treats, cats are indifferent. The lack of a sweet tooth is not confined to domestic cats: lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars are known to share it. Researchers in the US and Britain have now pinpointed a peculiarity in feline DNA. Cats never develop the sweetness receptors that exist on the tongues of other mammals. The findings will be used to create better-tasting catfood. Joseph Brand, of Monell Chemical Senses Centre in Philadelphia, a member of the research team, said: “No wonder cats are cranky. Not only do they have to hunt for their food, but they also can’t enjoy a sweet dessert.”
The Times, Nature

Gene breakthrough in dementia fight
Scientists believe a new discovery has brought them a step closer to finding new ways of treating and preventing dementia. An international team of researchers has identified a gene that, when mutated, causes a type of early onset dementia. They said the finding provided clues which added to the understanding of dementia and other degenerative brain diseases. The latest study involved researchers from the Medical Research Council's Prion Unit and the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease at University College London, working with groups in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Lund and Cambridge. The scientists studied a large family - spanning six generations - that is affected by an inherited form of early onset dementia called frontotemporal dementia, which is similar to Alzheimer's.
The Daily Mail

Man who linked smoking to cancer dies
Sir Richard Doll, the scientist who first established a link between smoking and lung cancer, died yesterday aged 92. Oxford University said the epidemiologist died at the city's John Radcliffe Hospital after a short illness. Sir Richard worked at the hospital's Imperial Cancer Research Centre.
The Guardian, The Independent

From the weekend's papers:


  • Students could look for less conventional careers after graduating. The Guardian
  • Blair's old college tops list of Oxford institutions. The Guardian


  • Cambridge hopes to allow poor pupils free entry to university. The Sunday Times
  • Government scheme aims to help graduates start their own business. Independent On Sunday

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