Today's news

December 5, 2005

Universities in move to sponsor academies
Some of the country's leading universities have been holding discreet talks with the Government over plans to sponsor schools in the controversial academies programme. UCL and Brunel universities have already agreed to sponsor academies, while four others are in discussions with the Government. The universities will contribute their own funds towards the cost of the academies.
The Guardian

Brown looks to US to develop entrepreneurs
The chancellor will use the Pre-Budget Report today to outline plans to send British students to the United States in an attempt to help them to become more entrepreneurial. Under the enterprise fellowships scheme, which will be finalised in time for next year’s Budget, about 20 students will attend a year-long scholarship programme run by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, based in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Times

Best pupils fast-tracked in university talent quest
A national talent search is being planned to track the brightest 150,000 children through school and into top universities. Thirty thousand children will be invited each year to join the Government’s National Academy of Gifted and Talented Youth, using results from primary school tests taken by 11-year-olds.
The Times

Peru may sue Yale for Inca relics' return
Peru is threatening to sue Yale University for the return of ancient mummies, bones and ceramics taken from the "Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu, by an American explorer nearly a century ago. In the latest of a series of legal moves by nations trying to recover archaeological relics, Peru's ambassador to Washington, Eduardo Ferrero, has delivered a warning to the university in Connecticut.
The Guardian

Brain circuit link to autism
A brain circuit that helps people to observe and imitate the emotions of others is almost completely switched off in children with autism, according to new research that could shed light on the origins of the developmental disorder. Scientists in the United States have discovered that autistic children have almost no activity in part of the brain’s mirror neuron system.
The Times

The clue giving doctors new hope of Alzheimer's cure
Completing crosswords has long been credited with keeping the brain healthy well into old age, and delaying the onset of Alzheimer's and other degenerative diseases, but doctors have been unsure why. Now scientists at Edinburgh University have discovered the "survival genes" switched on by problem solving, and keeping brain cells healthy. By working out how the genes work, they hope to develop treatments to cure Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases.
The Scotsman

St Andrews researcher questions belief in hell
Fire and brimstone sermons are less likely to thunder from Scottish pulpits these days, but a third of the clergy still believe in the existence of hell, according to a survey published this week. Eric Stoddart, a lecturer in practical theology at St Andrews University, surveyed 750 randomly selected clergy and found that 37 per cent believed in hell, although this was more marked in the Highlands and Western Isles, where conservative, Presbyterian congregations predominate.
The Guardian

From the weekend's papers:


  • Natfhe and the AUT voted overwhelmingly to merge into 'UCU'. The Guardian
  • Cricketer Imran Khan is the new Chancellor of Bradford University. The Independent


  • Oxbridge students twice as likely to get a first. Independent on Sunday
  • St Hilda's, Oxford, to admit men from 2007. Sunday Times
  • Police are using volunteer students to patrol campuses. Sunday Express

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