Today's news

October 26, 2005

Lecturers target MPs over terror bill
The Association of University Teachers is today lobbying MPs as the terror bill gets its second reading in the House of Commons, warning that the legislation will restrict academic freedom and create "a culture of suspicion" on campus. The union's action follows yesterday's emergency motion tabled by the Liberal Democrats, who oppose the new laws and warn that the bill could inflame community tensions and alienate young Muslims.
The Guardian Edinburgh plans to scrap resits
Summer exam resits at Edinburgh University are set to become a thing of the past under plans being drawn up by a group of leading academics. The university would be the first in Scotland to do away with the existing system, which gives failing first and second year students the opportunity to retake their exams in August. Instead, hundreds of students could be forced to wait 12 months to resit exams they have failed and possibly repeat the entire course.
The Scotsman

£8m donated to create pioneering drugs unit
The Wellcome Trust, the medical charity, has donated £8 million to Dundee University for a pioneering initiative to conduct drug development work normally undertaken only by pharmaceutical companies. Dundee's School of Life Science will use one of the largest single grants provided by Wellcome to bridge the gap with academia by creating a commercial-style unit with 16 scientists hired from industry.
The Financial Times, The Scotsman

Scientists hunt cure for parasitic infections
Six Scottish scientists have been given £13 million to find a drug to treat three of the world most unpleasant diseases. Sleeping sickness, leishmaniasis and Chagas' disease are all caused by parasites spread by blood-sucking insects. Between them they infect millions in Africa, Asia and Latin America. There are no safe, reliable treatments, and, because the victims are almost invariably poor, little interest from the pharmaceutical companies.
The Guardian

Academy award for star Tilda
Hollywood actress Tilda Swinton is to be honoured by Edinburgh's Napier University as it seeks to build on its role as Scotland's first specialist film school. University bosses are hopeful that Swinton, who has accepted the invitation to receive an honorary doctorate from the School of Design and Media Arts, will get involved in their new Screen Academy, which opened this semester.
The Scotsman

£57,000 to reveal 'the obvious'
The Scottish Executive has come under fire for spending £57,000 on a survey of social work students that reveals that most of them want to be social workers. “Analysis of the survey reveals that almost all (96 per cent) students wanted to become a social worker after they graduate,” the study of first-year undergraduate and postgraduate students concludes. The survey of students from Edinburgh, Dundee, Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian, Stirling and Robert Gordon universities found that “both undergraduate and postgraduate students chose the social work degree course largely because it was the entry route into the social work profession”.
The Times

Elephants recognise remains of their dead
Elephants show a far greater fascination for the bones of their own species than any animal other than people. The first study of its kind has revealed that while the popular notion that elephants actively visit the graves of loved ones is probably a myth, they do react very differently to elephant bones and tusks than to other animal remains or natural objects of similar size. The findings, from a British team, led by Karen McComb, of the University of Sussex, offer the strongest evidence yet that elephants are able to distinguish their own dead and attach significance to these remains.
The Times, New Scientist, The Scotsman

Researchers discover why young children dislike their greens
It has long been known that babies like bright colours over dark hues but researchers say children as young as four months have favourite colours and these are red and blue. Green is a "turn-off" - which perhaps explains why so many young children dislike vegetables - and yellow is also less popular, followed by purple. The research, by Nottingham University, also found that toddlers dislike greys and browns and have difficulty saying the word "brown" because it is seldom heard and they do not understand what it means.
The Daily Telegraph

Ramsay feels heat of Pepper attack
The main rival to Gordon Ramsay in the race to become rector of St Andrews University warned the chef yesterday that being a "celebrity" is no guarantee that a candidate will be able to do the job. Simon Pepper, the former director of the World Wildlife Foundation in Scotland, also stressed that he would be able to devote virtually all of his time to the job. His comments came after it emerged that Ramsay had no plans to even visit the Fife town until after the rectorial election on Friday, because of television commitments.
The Scotsman

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