Today's news

May 15, 2006

Chinese university sacks dean over 'faked' research
A Chinese university has dismissed one of its deans for allegedly faking research results in computer chip technology. Jiaotong University, in Shanghai, has ordered Chen Jin, the former chairman of its microelectronics school, to return money the government invested in his research for the "Hanxin" digital signal processing chip, the school said in a statement posted on its website on Friday. Mr Chen was fired from his posts as dean and professor at the school, it said.
The Guardian, The Times

Do more to combat the animal rights fanatics, Blair told
Tony Blair was urged to do more to target animal rights extremists yesterday after signing a petition defending medical research. The Prime Minister took the unusual step of adding his name to the People's Petition, which voices support for properly regulated animal testing by medical researchers. Mr Blair said it was important to face down hardline protesters who have conducted sickening campaigns of intimidation, including stealing the body of a pensioner from her grave.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian

Chavez stirs up a degree of controversy at Oxford
Hugo Chavez isn't just causing political controversy during his tour of Britain, he's also stirred things up a treat in the cobwebby world of academia. The Venezuelan President, who arrived in London at the weekend, has sparked an almighty panic at Oxford University after his supporters wrongly announced that he's been accorded an honorary degree. Speaking on Venezuelan TV, the country's ambassador to London, Alfredo Toro Hardy, claimed recently that the left-wing firebrand is to receive the honour from Oxford's Centre for Socio-Legal studies.
The Independent

Children to be taught 'traditional values'
Schoolchildren should be taught "traditional British values" as part of an attempt to challenge extremism and promote a more cohesive society, the higher education minister, Bill Rammell, will say today. Under the proposals, all 11 to 16-year-olds will learn about free speech and democracy in the UK, as well as the contribution made by different communities. Mr Rammell will announce a six-month review of the school curriculum by a leading headteacher to see how best "core British values" can be incorporated into the school timetable.
The Guardian

Fungus drug hope
A drug isolated from a fungus found on Easter Island is offering new hope to sufferers of tuberous sclerosis. By understanding the metabolic pathway disrupted by the genetic defect responsible for the disease, scientists announced last year that a drug called Rapamycin (sirolimus), isolated from a fungus in an Easter Island soil sample in the 1970s and used to stop organ rejection, could help fix the damage. The Tuberous Sclerosis Association raised money for a trial on nine adults who have kidney and lung complications, which began last October and is being run by Prof Julian Sampson of the University of Cardiff.
The Daily Telegraph

Gym's the place for a real power workout
Fitness fanatics could soon be creating an environmentally-friendly energy supply - from their gym workout. Scientists at Stirling University say they have devised a grid that can harness electricity from exercise bikes, rowing machines, treadmills and cross-trainers and use it to power the gyms themselves or even light up hotel bedrooms and kitchens. Researchers Tao Pei, 25, and Emmanuel Pogoson, 37, have been given £2,500 in university funding to develop a business plan to launch the renewable energy scheme.
The Scotsman

From the weekend's papers:


  • The Qualification Assurance Agency has expressed concern that the academic boycott this summer could threaten to devalue degrees. The Times
  • Sussex University will not be closing its chemistry department. The Daily Telegraph
  • Simon Heffer believes that precious resources allocated to higher education should be reserved for those who have real ability. The Daily Telegraph


  • Exam chaos looks likely this summer as universities have started to cancel or postpone finals because of the pay dispute. The Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Independent On Sunday
  • Alan Johnson is confident that students will learn to love top-up fees. The Sunday Times
  • Oxford University will this week seek tougher restrictions on animal rights protestors. The Observer

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