Today's news

December 11, 2006

Language barrier blocks British graduates
British graduates are missing out on top business jobs because of their lack of language skills, an academic has warned ahead of a review of the Government's foreign languages policy. Bill Houston, programme director of undergraduate international business at Newcastle Business School at Northumbria University, said a shortage of languages was having a knock-on effect in the business world. Mr Houston said British graduates were increasingly losing out to their foreign counterparts for top jobs because they did not have the bilingual skills required for those positions. Lord Dearing, in his interim report on language teaching to be published this week, is expected to say that French, Spanish and German should be made compulsory in primary schools.
The Guardian

Economics - the electronic way
Cambridge students signing up for the Judge MBA in 2007 will discover that dusty old economics textbooks are passé. Instead, they will be taught the latest in both macro and micro economics using only electronic tools. The Judge Business School will be the first MBA programme to adopt the LiveEcon electronic system of teaching economics, which creator Charles Jordan describes as turning economics textbooks "into a movie". The electronic textbooks are intended to cut down the time it takes to learn economics and accounting by using interactive graphs, computer modelling, annotated text and quizzes. The micro and macro economics courses have been designed for undergraduate economics students, but at the Judge School, Jochen Runde, reader in economics, is using the material to teach MBA students.
The Financial Times

Chemical firm 'paid cancer pioneer'
The reputation of Professor Sir Richard Doll, one of Britain's finest post-war scientists, was under siege yesterday. Sir Richard, who first definitively linked smoking to lung cancer, conducted much of his research while in the pay of chemical companies. The American Journal of Industrial Medicine says that Swedish researchers have found that Sir Richard, who also co-wrote a famous paper minimising the role of chemicals in causing cancer, failed to disclose that he was being paid at the time by the chemical company Monsanto. From 1970 to 1990, Sir Richard, who died last year, was paid up to £1,000 a day as a consultant by Monsanto, now associated with GM crops rather than chemicals.
The Daily Telegraph

Success of shuttle is new dawn for revived Nasa
A British astronaut was celebrating his first day in space yesterday after a spectacular shuttle launch that turned the Florida night sky to day and sealed a new dawn for Nasa. Nicholas Patrick and six crewmates streaked into orbit at 17,500mph after dismal weather conditions suddenly cleared over Cape Canaveral to allow Nasa’s first night-time launch in four years. At the moment of ignition, the explosion from Discovery ’s 500,000 gallons of fuel lit up the sky for 30 miles and the spacecraft was visible across much of the eastern US as it climbed aloft trailing a blinding fireball, en route to the International Space Station.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph

'Ray gun' cancer cure nears speed of light
Medical scientists will soon be able to offer cancer patients a radical new treatment using hugely accelerated ion particles to target tumours precisely without the dangerous side-effects of current procedures. The carbon-ion therapy accelerates ions to up to 73 per cent of the speed of light in a synchrotron - a machine similar to the particle accelerator at the Cern laboratory in Switzerland - before beams are fired into patients' cancerous cells. Juergen Debus, the chief radiologist at the Heidelberg Ion Beam Therapy Centre in Germany, where the treatment will first be available, claimed the process turned the carbon ions into "miniature precision-guided missiles" that can destroy cancer cells with pinpoint accuracy.
The Scotsman

From the weekend's papers:

Saturday


  • Edinburgh University backs down after Christian group's legal threat. The Scotsman

Sunday

  • Bangladeshi economist Muhammad Yunus accepts the Nobel Peace Prize. The Observer
  • Scientists draw lessons from polonium scare. The Financial Times

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