Today's news

October 30, 2006

Universities to collect students’ visa fees
Companies and universities are to be asked to take responsibility for collecting the visa fees of their migrant staff and overseas students in an overhaul of immigration and nationality charges to be unveiled by Home Office ministers today. A Home Office consultation paper to be published today also raises the idea of linking immigration charges to the likely economic benefits that new migrants will gain by coming to Britain. The immigration minister, Liam Byrne, confirmed the wide-ranging review: "We are looking at the whole charging process to see how it can more fairly reflect costs of across-the-board immigration services. This is an important part of our review of the immigration service."
The Guardian

Straw gave blessing to controversial university award for Iranian leader
St Andrews University was encouraged by Jack Straw when he was foreign secretary to award an honorary degree to the former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami. Mr Khatami will receive his degree tomorrow, when he officially opens the university's Institute for Iranian Studies. The university's decision has been severely criticised in recent weeks by Iranian exiles, the Israeli government, academics and students. They say Mr Khatami ran a brutal regime that regularly breached human rights and that he has also supported Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group.
The Scotsman

Sunni activist professor killed in Iraq
A leading Iraqi academic and prominent hardline Sunni political activist was fatally shot by three gunmen Monday as he was leaving his Baghdad home, police said. The killers escaped in a car after gunning down Essam al-Rawi, head of the University Professor's Union and a senior member of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars, according to police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq. The association is a Sunni organization believed to have links to the insurgency raging against US forces and their Iraqi allies. The group has boycotted elections and stood aside from the political process.
The Guardian

Academic exchange with N. Korea strained
Fostering academic ties with isolated North Korea, already a challenge, is likely to get even harder after the country's nuclear test, scholars at an international conference said Sunday. Universities and academic societies in the noncommunist world have sought over the years to develop relationships with educational institutions in North Korea - with their degree of success often linked to the quality of Pyongyang's relations with the outside world. "Academic exchange with North Korea looks quite difficult these days," said Song Jae-mog, secretary-general of the Japan-based International Society for Korean Studies.
The Guardian

Harvard targets UK state schools
Harvard University's student recruiters are to target state schools this year in an effort to break the grip the private sector has over its UK intake. Representatives of the prestigious US university will be dispatched to state schools to ensure students are aware of Harvard's policy of waiving fees for parents with incomes of less than $60,000 (£32,000). Janet Irons, senior admissions officer at Harvard, said only a "tiny handful" of students from the UK came from state schools and the university wants to correct the imbalance. Last year 5 students from the UK applied to Harvard - 34 were offered places.
The Financial Times

Edinburgh University spin-outs double
Edinburgh University doubled the number of companies it created and spun-out last year, including its first ever arts-based companies. Figures released today show the university created 20 new start-ups and three spin-outs in the year to 31 July, more than ever before. Of the new companies, 19 came from science and engineering disciplines, one in medicine and three in the humanities and social sciences. The arts-based companies are Dunedin Arts, a digital animations company; Seven Things I Daren't Express, which records and distributes experimental music and 83db, a sound design company formed by the DJ and producer Mike Dred.
The Scotsman

Don't feel guilty about that extra hour in bed this morning. It's made you smarter
Teenagers have always insisted that lying in does them the world of good. Now it would seem they have been right all along. Extra hours in bed really are good for the brain, according to findings announced on the weekend that the clocks go back, giving people 60 minutes more sleep. Three psychologists at the University of Rome analysed more than 100 studies on the effects of sleep on cognitive tasks and found that being awake for too long could have a serious effect on the ability to learn and remember new information. For students, a bad night's sleep could result in worse grades, they discovered.
The Daily Telegraph

From the weekend's papers:


  • University courses hit by NHS cuts in training provision. The Times
  • Drop full English, go Continental and save on the tuition fees. The Daily Telegraph


  • Several thousand students converged on Trafalgar Square in a rally against top-up fees. The Scotsman
  • Estimated £35,000 cost of degrees will put teenagers off applying for university. The Mail On Sunday

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