Today's news

January 8, 2007

Legal profession 'discriminates against working-class students'
Bright, working-class students who want to become barristers are losing out to public school candidates because of an emphasis on snob value, the new leader of the Bar has claimed. Geoffrey Vos, QC, the son of a Bermondsey leather merchant, said that too often a posh accent was mistaken for intellect when recruiting to the Bar. His comments echo growing concern that the Bar is still dominated by privately educated lawyers from wealthy backgrounds who can afford to shoulder the £30,000 debts needed to become a barrister.
The Independent

Stem cells from womb fluid could end ethical concerns
Scientists believe that they have found a way of gathering embryonic stem cells that does not harm the unborn child and may end the ethical storm surrounding the procedure. Stem cells, which can grow into different types of tissue that can be used to regenerate damaged body parts, are usually harvested from embryos. A breakthrough in the United States has shown that by using amniotic fluid human stem cells could be harvested without killing the unborn foetus. Researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina and Harvard Medical School discovered a small number of stem cells in amniotic fluid.
The Times, The Daily Telegraph

Funding boost creates new research jobs
New medical research posts have been created at Edinburgh University after a multimillion-pound funding boost for studies into cures for serious diseases. Almost £8 million has been released by the Translational Medicine Research Collaboration to support new projects in Scotland. Scientists will study a range of therapeutic areas including cardiovascular and metabolic disease, the central nervous system, oncology, inflammation, and women's health. Around 40 new jobs have been created in Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow universities as a result. And 50 jobs are projected for the core laboratory in Dundee.
The Scotsman

Purists vilify Louvre over 'vulgar' plan to lease out masterpieces
Leading figures from the French art world have accused the Louvre of cultural prostitution for signing a multimillion-pound deal to exhibit works in Atlanta and negotiating a second deal to build a branch of the museum in Abu Dhabi. Critics say that the Louvre is being turned into a vulgar brand name to fill state coffers. The row pits purists, who believe that art must stand high above politics or business, against modernisers, who say that globalisation requires a new approach to cultural values. In the latest salvo, senior curators and art critics have launched a petition denouncing the government of President Chirac for authorising France’s museums to rent out their collections.
The Times

Dark matter is put on 3D map
Edinburgh University scientists have unveiled the first three-dimensional map showing mysterious "dark matter", which gives clues as to how the universe is made up. They used data from the Hubble space telescope and a revolutionary imaging technique pioneered at the city's Royal Observatory. It shows how dark matter, which makes up 22 per cent of the universe, forms a skeleton on which visible matter gathers to form stars and galaxies. Professor John Peacock said no-one knew what dark matter was made of, but without it, there would be no life on Earth.
The Scotsman, New Scientist, Nature, The Independent

From the weekend's papers:


  • Students head to China to get ahead in the jobs market. The Times


  • Blair plans US-style university endowments. The Sunday Times
  • More students taking on part-time work to cover fees. The Observer

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