Today's news

November 22, 2006

Universities vital to Olympic success, says Coe
Universities from around the UK have a key role to play in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics, Lord Coe said today. Speaking during a visit to the £15 million Hertfordshire sports village, part of the University of Hertfordshire, he said the higher education sector can offer sporting centres of excellence and attract and develop high-calibre sports coaches and teachers between now and the London games. Lord Coe, who is chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, said: "We need universities, but it isn't just about the bricks and mortar, it's also about their local mass of sporting expertise and where the athletes can train."
The Guardian

Tuition fees to be reduced for former colonies students
Higher education in England is to be opened up to the former colonies of Britain and three European countries. The Government is to greatly reduce university tuition fees for students from the Falkland Islands, Bermuda, Montserrat and 18 other territories whose students currently pay between £8,000 and £20,000 a year for undergraduate courses. From next year they will be charged £3,000 and will not have to pay the money up front but be loaned it by the Government. They will start to repay the debt after graduation when their earnings reach a level equivalent to £15,000 a year in this country.
The Daily Telegraph

Academic says he and ex-spy were on hit list
Mystery surrounding an apparent assassination attempt on a former KGB officer deepened last night as an Italian academic who was the last to see him before he fell ill said he had given Alexander Litvinenko a hit list on which both their names appeared. Professor Mario Scaramella, 38, who met Mr Litvinenko on the day he was poisoned, was surrounded by bodyguards as he arrived for a press conference in Rome to give his version of events at the London sushi bar where he had lunch with the ex-officer.
The Scotsman

‘Perfect storm’ could stifle IT
If the technology sector thrives on skills, then it could be on the verge of starvation. Poor perceptions of the IT industry are choking off the supply of employees with competent IT skills – and it is a global problem. In the UK, a report by Lancaster University School of Management and the British Computer Society revealed that applications for computer science degree courses have dropped by half in the past five years. Software engineering applications have fallen by 60 per cent.
The Financial Times

Things Snowball for geologists at university
An Edinburgh scientist claims to have uncovered evidence that the Earth was once completely covered in ice. Gillian McCay, a research student at Edinburgh University, is part of a group of geologists that has been studying ancient Irish rocks. They claim the rocks are evidence of early glaciation and prove for the first time that the Cryogenian Ice Age, 700 million years ago, affected Britain and Ireland. The theory, nicknamed "Snowball Earth", suggests the Earth's surface was completely frozen for as long as ten million years during so-called "Deep Time" - very early in the planet's history.
The Scotsman

Medical student wins prize for his vision of future
Medical student Gary Cooney has won a prestigious award for his essay on doctors of the future. The University of Edinburgh student looked into the issues that could face society and doctors in years to come. His essay predicted significant advances in biomedics, leading to fundamental changes in the demographics of society. It impressed the judges of the General Medical Council's Doctor of the Future competition and won him the Medical Student award and £500.
The Scotsman

£7bn fusion pact aims to harness sun's power
The dream of unlimited clean energy came a step closer yesterday with the signing of an international agreement to build the world's biggest nuclear fusion reactor which aims to harness the same energy that powers the Sun. Six individual countries and the European Union agreed to spend about €10 billion (£6.75 billion) over the next 20 years to construct and operate the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) at Cadarache in the south of France. Professor Jim Skea, the research director at the UK Energy Research Centre, said: "Nuclear fusion could offer one of the biggest prizes in energy: a secure, low-carbon source of electricity without resource constraints."
The Independent

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