Today's news

May 23, 2006

University pay talks resume
Striking lecturers and university employers are to meet for an urgent mediation session today in an effort to end the escalating pay dispute that is threatening to delay graduations. The Association of University Teachers and lecturers' union Natfhe will hold talks from 11am today at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. It will be the second time the employers and lecturers have met at Acas since the dispute hit new heights in March, following a one-day strike. Lecturers are seeking a 23 per cent pay increase over three years and are refusing to mark students' exams until their demands are met. The Universities and Colleges Employers' Association has offered 12.6 per cent over the same period.
The Guardian

Strike action threat to degrees
Thousands of students may be blocked from taking up their vocational legal training as a result of industrial action by 70,000 university lecturers. The Law Society of England and Wales gave warning last week that law students who cannot complete their degrees will be unable to start the Legal Practice Course. The action could also affect non-law students planning to start a law conversion course. Peter Williamson, chairman of the society’s regulation board, said: “We do need to know that students have completed their studies to the required standard and that means receiving a degree that is properly awarded.”
The Times

Women law lecturers pay the price for their freedom
Law students may be surprised to learn that their lecturers are some of the worst paid academics at universities. The average salary for legal academics is just over £35,000 - putting them on a par with academics in education and the creative arts and way behind physicists and chemists. Louise Ackers, professor of European law at Leeds University and an expert on academic employment, says: “Law departments are attracting more and more female lawyers. Many women like me - I have four children - find the long hours of law firms not suited to family life.”
The Times

Week's grace for students to upgrade
Students who fail to secure university places will have to wait a week before they can seek alternatives through the clearing system under reforms announced by the Government yesterday. Instead of the rush to secure vacant places on the day that results are announced, there will be a seven-day delay while those who get better grades than predicted by their teachers are allowed to change their minds. The new system announced yesterday by Bill Rammell, the Higher Education Minister, is designed to help students from state schools to secure places at the best universities. But the scheme was dismissed as "a dog's dinner" by critics.
The Daily Telegraph

Students in the pink for London cycle
Students are to cycle almost 600 miles from Edinburgh to London to raise money for prostate cancer research. The 13 final-year students from Edinburgh University have agreed to take part in the sponsored ride to raise £10,000 for the King's College Hospital Urology Charity after their final exams. The hospital in Camberwell, London, last year treated more than 246,000 patients. The team, called the Pink Pedallers, will begin their journey from the capital on May 23 in tight bright pink Lycra tops and shorts. They aim to arrive in Trafalgar Square seven days later after travelling an average of 80 miles a day.
The Scotsman

Keeping fit may stave off Alzheimer's, say scientists
Balance problems and a weak handshake are early signs of dementia, according to a new study that suggests regular exercise is a good way to keep your brain healthy. Researchers had expected the first signs of Alzheimer's disease to be mental. But after following nearly 2,300 elderly people for six years they found that those who were physically more able were up to three times less likely to develop the condition. Among those who did get dementia, the first signs were problems walking and with balance generally, followed by a weak handgrip.
The Scotsman

Amazing odyssey of the loggerhead turtle
Their epic journeys over hundreds of miles each month are among the longest in the animal kingdom and have remained mostly mysterious, until now. Ten loggerhead turtles were tagged off West Africa two years ago and, using satellite tracking, researchers have been able to uncover their migratory secrets. Nha Pretinha, "my dear little black mother" in Cape Verdean creole, spent most of her time in unprotected international waters, not foraging close to shore as had been thought. Krioula, on the other hand, headed down the coast to the waters of Sierra Leone, before making a return migration after only one year.
The Daily Telegraph

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