Today's news

July 7, 2006

Scotland's 'Ivy League' of top universities should raise own funding
Scotland should develop an American-style "Ivy League" of elite universities by allowing existing institutions to pull out of the state system and raise millions of pounds in private tuition fees, a university leader said yesterday. Professor Bernard King, the principal of University of Abertay Dundee, said the privately funded universities could model themselves on institutions such as Harvard or Princeton, charging high fees for wealthy students and using the money to fund scholarships for the less well-off. He said institutions that chose to remain within the state sector would then be able to receive more money from the public purse.
The Scotsman

Slave trade research unit in Wilberforce birthplace
Britain's first research unit into slavery was opened yesterday in Hull, the home of William Wilberforce, who led the campaign to abolish the trade. The Wilberforce Institute, at Hull University, will research the history of slavery, including the collaboration of some Africans with the traders, up to today's traffic of women for the sex trade. Its first patron is the Nobel peace laureate and archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu. The unit was opened by the president of Ghana, John Agyekum Kufuor, ahead of next year's bicentenary celebrations of the legal emancipation of slaves in Britain.
The Guardian

Struggling China graduates stay put on campus
Thousands of new graduates in China's booming southern city of Guangzhou have refused to leave university dormitories due to a lack of affordable housing and satisfactory jobs, state media said on Friday. Students in Guangzhou have to contend with rental prices 10 to 15 percent above the city average of 1,000 yuan (68 pounds) per month in areas popular with graduates, the China Daily said, so about 20,000 of them have simply stayed put. "I didn't find a job until the end of last month. And now I am busy looking for a house, which the company will not provide," newly minted graduate Chen Qi told the paper.
The Scotsman

Teenage fat camp organisers call for subsidy
Leeds Metropolitan University is next week to host a weight loss camp for overweight teenagers for the eighth consecutive summer. About 150 young people aged between 11 and 17 will attend the camp for at least two weeks of its two-month duration. Kacy Mackreth, the marketing coordinator of Carnegie Weight Management, the unit of Leeds Metropolitan University that devised the camp, said some parents viewed the residential programme as a last resort when other attempts to reduce their child's weight had failed. The non-profit residential camp costs around £60 a day, which Ms Mackreth said represented good value for money compared with childcare averaging about £45.
The Guardian

Test may identify mad cow disease in humans
A test has been developed that offers the first real hope that scientists will be able to identify early those people carrying the human form of mad cow disease. People could be infected with vCJD for more than half a century without developing the illness. An American team today announces a blood test that can identify carriers of the disease. If the test is validated it would mark the most significant development in the understanding of the disease for many years. Discussions have already started with British authorities to use it in a screening programme.
The Daily Telegraph

Cell treatment offers hope to liver patients
Patients with deadly liver diseases were today given hope following the announcement of a medical breakthrough which could spell the end for transplants. Scientists at Edinburgh University have discovered cells which have the potential to transform and regenerate damaged liver tissue. Acute and chronic liver failure is fatal unless patients receive a liver transplant. The lack of donors means that a fifth of patients who are waiting for a transplant will die before a suitable organ becomes available.
The Scotsman

Small seeds bear strange fruit
The beauty of seeds was celebrated yesterday by the worlds of science and art in a collaboration harking back to the traditions of 19th-century botanic illustration. Seeds as never seen before are shown in microscopic detail in a series of pictures produced in an initiative promoted by the Royal Botanic Gardens. They reveal the intricate design of seeds, whether from common British garden flowers or exotic tropical blooms on the verge of extinction. The project culminated yesterday with the publication of a book at the Millennium Seed Bank at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Wakehurst Place, West Sussex.
The Times

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