Today's news

December 4, 2006

Warning over 'playing politics' with the threat
A leading academic yesterday warned politicians against "playing politics" with terrorism after John Reid, the Home Secretary, claimed an independent Scotland would be more vulnerable to attack. In the run up to a Scottish election next year, Mr Reid has pulled out all the stops to attack the Scottish National Party, including the charge the party are "hopelessly inadequate" to deal with terrorism. The accusation led to a counter-attack from Alex Salmond, the leader of the SNP, who said Scotland was more vulnerable to attack because of the war in Iraq and would be safer out of the UK. But Professor Paul Wilkinson, a terrorism expert from St Andrew University, said both parties were putting Scotland in danger by focusing on politics rather than working together against terror.
The Scotsman

Doctors prescribe second term at helm for professor
The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh has re-elected its current president. Neil Douglas, professor of respiratory and sleep medicine at Edinburgh University, is the first president in recent RCPE history to be re-elected for a second term and was elected unopposed. Professor Douglas, said: "I am delighted and honoured to be re-elected to serve as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. "The college faces a critical period as changes in UK medical training continue. "As the UK lead for modernising medical careers for the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, I have been deeply involved in introducing these changes and am delighted to be given the opportunity to see them through."
The Scotsman

Private schools are 'no better for A levels'
Private schools often do little better than state schools at A level, according to research suggesting that the brightest pupils perform just as well whatever type of school they attend. The findings, from David Jesson of York University raise serious questions about whether parents who make financial sacrifices to pay private school fees of up to £20,000 a year are getting good value for money. Professor Jesson said that he had been surprised by his own research, which showed very little difference between the state and independent sectors in the proportion of the most able students gaining three grade As at A level, now almost essential for gaining a place at Oxford or Cambridge universities. “This is the demolition of the myth that independent school education is of itself creating better results,” he said.
The Times

Cost of student accommodation rising, survey shows
Students are paying 23 per cent more for university accommodation than three years ago as private suppliers offer more luxurious halls of residence, a new report reveals. The National Union of Students worked with student housing charity Unipol to produce the Accommodation Costs survey, which shows that average weekly rent for students in 2006-07 is £82, compared with £63 in 2003-04. Since 2001-02 rents have risen by 37 per cent, the survey found. More than 50 per cent of 2007-08's accommodation will be developed in private partnerships or directly by the private sector, the report warns, and it predicts that private providers and private sector partnerships will account for the majority of all "university" accommodation by 2010.
The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph

Underweight women '72% more likely to miscarry'
Women who are underweight are more at risk of suffering a miscarriage than those who are overweight, research suggests. Women whose body mass index was low - below 18.5 - when they conceived were much more likely to have a miscarriage in the first three months of pregnancy. But being overweight appeared to have adverse consequences on a pregnancy. A study commissioned by the Miscarriage Association suggests that taking vitamin supplements during the first weeks of pregnancy halved the odds of a miscarriage as did eating fresh fruit and vegetables. Even eating chocolate reduced the risk slightly. Other factors that increased the chance of a successful pregnancy included a planned conception and marriage, said the study.
The Times, The Independent, New Scientist

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday

  • Biofusion has agreed a £25 million deal with Cardiff University to help it spin out businesses from academic research. The Financial Times
  • QPR youth players arrested over student's Tube death. The Times

Sunday

  • Student's body found in hall of residence at Derby University. The Observer
  • Britain's leading centre for researching climate change has been ordered to cut its budget. The Observer

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