Today's news

March 10, 2006

Oxford silences animal activists
Oxford University served an unprecedentedly strict injunction yesterday to protect students and staff by banning animal rights activists from screaming through megaphones or taking photographs. The university wants to shield students from noise and harassment during the exam term. Its decision comes after Tony Blair held a private meeting with senior university figures, industry leaders and police to discuss the threat. The legal action tightens an existing injunction, which allowed a weekly demonstration against the construction of a new £20 million animal research laboratory, but placed no restriction on noise. Protesters regularly use horns, whistles and play tapes of dogs howling. They also photograph and video staff, students and construction workers.
The Times

Sussex students protest over cuts
Students at Sussex University staged an unofficial protest sit-in in their library last night over claims that the institution has cut courses and student contact time with lecturers because of a predicted £4 million deficit. Around 100 students occupied the campus library for nearly six hours until 2am to highlight their disquiet at what they see as "financial mismanagement" at the Brighton university. The students claim teaching hours in arts and humanities degrees have been cut and there have been cuts in interdisciplinary courses. They are demanding a minimum of eight hours contact time per week for all students and no course cuts.
The Guardian

Rules and restrictions hamper Tokyo University's fundraising
Hiroshi Komiyama, president of Japan's elite Tokyo University, hopes to raise "maybe $1 billion (£0.6 billion)" in donations by the end of his four-year term. But Mr Komiyama's ambitious fundraising is just one part of his strategy to boost the university's income, currently £1.2 billion a year, and maintain its competitiveness in Japan and around the world. Tokyo University, the country's most prestigious, is also keen to loosen government shackles on financial management
The Financial Times

Scientists say British greenhouse gas emissions now higher than in 1990
Britain's emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide are now higher than they were in 1990, the benchmark year used in government targets to tackle the pollution which is driving climate change. A study by scientists at the Tyndall centre, at Manchester University, shows that soaring carbon emissions from the aviation and shipping industries have swamped attempts to reduce pollution from other UK sectors.
The Guardian

Scientists hope it’s third time lucky as they try to unlock Mars secrets
Tonight the most advanced space probe ever will complete its 300 million-mile, seven-month journey and slip into orbit around Mars. If all goes well that is: until 10pm, nervous scientists huddled around computer screens will be hoping that the Martian curse, which has doomed so many missions to the red planet, does not strike again. They hope the Mars Climate Orbiter will send back 10 times more information on our near neighbour than all the other Mars probes put together. Its high-resolution cameras will map the planet's dusty surface in incredible detail, helping Nasa work out where to land robotic rovers and scout locations for possible human landing sites.
The Guardian

No future for fusion power, says top scientist
Nuclear fusion will never be a practical source of electrical power, argues a prominent scientist in the journal Science . Even nuclear fusion’s staunchest advocates admit a power-producing fusion plant is still decades away at best, despite forty years of hard work and well over $20 billion (£12 billion) spent on the research. But the new paper, personally backed by the journal’s editor, issues a strong challenge to the entire fusion programme, arguing that the whole massive endeavour is never likely to lead to anything practical or useful. "The history of this dream is as discouraging as it is expensive," wrote William Parkins, a physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project during the second world war, who later became the chief scientist at US engineering firm Rockwell International.
New Scientist, Nature, The Financial Times

Protest over 'homophobic' donor rules
Edinburgh University students were yesterday demonstrating outside a blood transfusion centre in opposition to a ban on gay and bisexual men being donors. The protest was to coincide with other student-run demos in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dunfermline and Kilmarnock. However, the students were encouraging people to give blood rather than trying to stop them going into the centre in Lauriston Place, at noon.
The Scotsman

Regarding university lecturers on strike.
The Times

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