Today's news

September 6, 2005

Soas resumes talks over library cuts
Negotiations over the future of one of the UK's leading specialist libraries will resume tomorrow, amid protests from academic staff. The School of Oriental and African Studies is seeking to make two specialist librarians redundant - a move lecturers fear will damage research into Japan, China and Korea. Fourteen academics have resigned posts at the school, though not their jobs, in protest. The school, part of the University of London, boasts "one of the world's most important academic libraries for the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East, which attracts scholars from all over the world to conduct research".
The Guardian

Crackdown planned on student visa abuse
Universities are being asked to inform the Home Office when overseas students fail to take up a place at university after they've been granted a visa to study in the UK. The pilot programme is part of government moves to crack down on people gaining entry to the UK via a student visa. According to reports over the weekend 17,000 non-EU students failed to take-up a place at university after accepting an offer last year.
The Guardian

More state-educated pupils given places
The number of state-educated students being admitted to Edinburgh University is on the rise. New figures show today that the number of privately educated students taking up places is on the decline. Extra "points" being awarded to children applying to courses from state schools in a bid to make higher education less "elitist" may be responsible for the rise. The number of undergraduates at Edinburgh from a state school background has risen from 61 to 66 per cent, according to Scottish Executive figures.
The Scotsman

Students wait three months for degree results
Angry students at London Metropolitan University are still waiting for their degree results, three months after final exams and more than a month after the end of a long-running dispute between lecturers and management. Although graduates in many cases have a good idea of their degree class because of previous modules, they are being hampered in their search for work or placements by the lack of an official certificate. Up to 2,000 new graduates are affected, although the university was unable to say how many are still without their results.
The Guardian

'Hotspot' clues to heart disease
Research has pinpointed six genetic “hotspots” that can double the risk of heart disease. A British Heart Foundation DNA database of brothers and sisters across Britain has been used to identify culprit genes that make some people more vulnerable to heart problems when they are middle-aged. Scientists looked at samples from 2,871 siblings from 930 families, searching for genetic differences between those with heart disease and those without, and concluded that certain variations led to more than a doubling of risk of heart disease for some family members.
The Times

Sands of Mars may hold vast reservoir of water
The sands of Mars, which hold the biggest dunes in the solar system, could contain up to 50 per cent snow and ice, a US scientist told the British Association festival of science meeting in Dublin yesterday. The discovery could be of enormous significance. President George Bush has named Mars as the destination for a manned mission in the next 30 years. Nasa and the European Space Agency both plan orbiter missions and robot landings in the next decade. Researchers are also anxious to settle the dispute over whether Mars was ever home to life, and whether microbial life could still endure beneath the soil.
The Guardian

Trams best for reducing congestion says expert
A leading expert in public transport claims trams reduce congestion better than buses. Richard Knowles, professor of transport at the University of Salford, was speaking as Edinburgh awaits the go-ahead for its £473 million project to reintroduce trams to the city. He said that light rail is better than buses at reducing congestion and the Government should not reject new tram schemes. Speaking at the annual Royal Geographical Society conference, Professor Knowles said: "Light rail schemes outside London were scrapped by the British Government on the grounds that they are too costly and require more public sector funding than the Government is willing to pay".
The Scotsman

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