Today's news

July 11, 2006

Wired wigs help students cheat in exams
More than 20 desperate students in Vietnam paid up to 50m dong (£1,700) to don elaborately wired wigs and shirts that allowed them to cheat in their college entrance exams, police said yesterday. During a weekend raid, Hanoi police confiscated 50 mobile phones, 60 earphones, 150 SIM cards, eight shirts and five wigs. The students paid 20m dong to 50m dong to get wigs or shirts that were wired to mobile phones. A police officer said the operation had been running since 2003. The price depended on the popularity of the college the student was enrolling in.
The Guardian

Presiding Officer given honorary degree by university
Scottish Parliament Presiding Officer George Reid has been awarded an honorary degree from a city university. Mr Reid has been given an honorary doctorate from Queen Margaret University College for his work to further the interests of Scotland. Others who received an honorary degree at the university's ceremony on July 7 included Edinburgh International Book Festival chairwoman Catherine Lockerbie, Robert Black, Auditor General for Scotland, and leading speech expert Professor John Laver. Mr Reid, a former journalist, became a member of the Scottish National Party in 1973 and has since held posts including MSP for Ochil.
The Scotsman

Thomas takes on mantle of Wales's national poet
Gwyn Thomas, emeritus professor of Welsh at Bangor University, has been appointed as the second national poet for Wales. He follows in the footsteps of Gwyneth Lewis who, during her tenure, wrote the inscription for the front of the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, and tangled with the Welsh Rugby Union earlier this year. On accepting the position, Thomas stated his intention to use the role to raise the profile of his country's poets, saying that he hopes to "draw attention to the poets of Wales and their work, and try to show that poetry is a unique medium to respond to the world in which we live."
The Guardian

Most graduates fear being unable to buy home
More than half of all final year undergraduates worry about being unable to buy a home after completing their studies, a new survey reveals. The Guardian 's Grad Facts 2006 survey, published today, suggests that low salary expectations, combined with the prospect of student loan repayments, mean most graduates fear they will be unable to buy a property within the first years after graduation, especially in London. Graduate first salaries average £18,000, increasing to £24,000 after two years' employment.
The Guardian

Scientists grow sperm from stem cells
Scientists have turned stem cells from an embryo into sperm that are capable of producing offspring. The advance in reproductive science raises new opportunities to treat male infertility and the possibility that women could make sperm. The professor behind the research believes that, when safe, the advance could help men with certain types of infertility to become fertile, to remain fertile for longer and, controversially, could even one day enable a lesbian couple to have children that, at the genetic level, are truly their own. The experiment used embryo cells to produce seven baby mice, six of which lived to adulthood, though the survivors suffered problems of the kind also seen with cloning.
The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph

Einstein's theory of fidelity
Letters in which Albert Einstein openly discusses his girlfriends and moans to his wife how they showered him with "unwanted" affection were made public for the first time yesterday. The large collection reveals the private life of a much younger and good looking Einstein, a man who talked about his extra-marital affairs with his second wife even though she accepted his philandering only reluctantly. The letters were released yesterday by the Albert Einstein Archives at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times

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