Today's news

January 30, 2007

Jobs unfilled because graduates 'lack basic leadership skills'
Almost half of employers failed to fill vacancies last year because many university graduates lack basic communication and leadership skills, according to a survey of leading companies published today. Even government departments experienced problems finding suitable candidates, as graduates with often "very good degrees" were unable to impress during interviews, said the report by the Association of Graduate Recruiters. The main shortfalls were in areas such as construction and engineering, where applicants were unable to demonstrate the right combination of "softer" skills such as team-working in addition to academic achievements.
The Daily Telegraph

Oxford graduate faces jail for knife attack
An Oxford graduate faces years behind bars for repeatedly stabbing his ex-girlfriend after she left him for another man. Andrew Thomas, 29, a film producer, met Rebecca Busfield, a City analyst, for "crisis talks" after she ended their 10-year relationship. He dropped to his knees in front of her on Clapham Common - making her think he was about to propose to her. But instead he pulled out a kitchen knife and stabbed Miss Busfield, 29, three times in the back. Thomas was cleared of attempted murder by a jury at the Old Bailey, but he had already admitted wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and will be jailed next month.
The Daily Telegraph

Nobel prize winners join calls to open research to all
More than 12,000 academics, including two Nobel laureates, have signed a petition urging the European commission to make publicly funded academic research available for free on the internet. The online petition, a direct challenge to the lucrative businesses of many scientific publishers, comes ahead of an EC conference next month where "open access" to research will be debated. The conference will be attended by the Brussels information commissioner, Viviane Reding, and commissioner for science and research, Janez Potonik.
The Guardian

Jobs cut as university finance crisis bites
The financial crisis facing higher education deepened yesterday when one of Scotland's leading universities announced it would shed up to 250 jobs in order to afford increased salaries for lecturers. The cuts made by Strathclyde University prompted warnings that others in the sector will soon follow suit. Professor Andrew Hamnett, principal of Strathclyde University, said the job losses would prevent the institution's "current healthy position being damaged irreparably in the long term".
The Scotsman

Skull of 'hobbit' proves it was a different species, say scientists
The three-foot human "hobbit" who lived on the Indonesian island of Flores more than 13,000 years ago had a sophisticated brain which was rewired internally to compensate for its small size, a study has found. An internal cast of the brain case shows that the hobbit possessed rare cranial features that would probably have conferred unusual intelligence on such a small creature, scientists said. The findings pour cold water on the idea that the hobbit was not a new species of human but an ordinary person suffering from microcephaly, a disease that causes stunted growth and small brain size.
The Independent

Sacred Maori heads go home
Nine tattooed Maori heads yesterday began their journey from a Scottish university museum back to the land of their ancestors in New Zealand. The heads, which had been smoked to preserve them two centuries ago and revered as sacred objects by the Maoris, were returned to the care of the elders of the main Maori tribes and the Museum of New Zealand at an emotional ceremony at Aberdeen University's Marischal College Museum.
The Scotsman

Life may be lurking in Mars' frozen sea
Space probes looking for life on Mars must dig deeper to have any chance of success, according to new research. And they should start in what is thought to be a frozen sea of ice known as Elysium. Unlike Earth, the Red Planet is not protected by a global magnetic field or thick atmosphere and is bombarded by radiation from space. For cellular life to have any chance of surviving such high radiation levels it would have to be several metres below the surface – beyond the reach of even state-of-the-art drills. A team from University College London has been studying cosmic radiation levels at various depths on Mars and has published its findings in the journal Geophysical Research Letters .
The Daily Telegraph

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