Today's news

February 27, 2007

Police thwart activist bomb plot at Oxford
A plot by animal-rights extremists to target Oxford University was foiled yesterday. Bomb disposal experts cordoned off an annexe at Templeton College after security experts spotted an anonymous website message boasting of an attack at the university. Four containers filled with a liquid, thought to be petrol, and bags full of a pink material were found at outbuildings on the Kennington site. Detectives believe that the packages made up two incendiary devices. Police specialising in the tactics of animal-rights extremists were dealing with the incident.
The Times, The Independent, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph

Students eager to study 'unpopular' subjects
More students are taking up "hard to recruit" subjects at Edinburgh University than in the past five years, according to new education figures released yesterday. They reveal that increasing numbers of students are applying for subjects which traditionally struggle to attract interest. The figures are part of a UK-wide survey by the University and College Admissions Service. They show encouraging rises at Edinburgh in subjects such as engineering and European languages - courses which had previously been among those that tended to be under-subscribed.
The Scotsman

China to set up table tennis academies
China is setting up a string of academies at top universities to secure a stream of talented young players in the face of huge changes to Chinese society, table tennis chief Cai Zhenhua has said. Although China continues to dominate the game, the days when "ping pong" was the one of the few sources of entertainment in the country are over and parents are no longer prepared to let their children give up their education for a shot at stardom. "We have fewer and fewer promising athletes," Cai told China Daily . “We used to have the best reserves of talent in the world, but the situation is different now.”
The Guardian

Sceptre from Roman emperor exhibited
The only Roman emperor's sceptre to have been found has gone on public display in Rome for the first time. The sceptre, which is topped by a blue orb that represents the earth, was discovered at the end of last year and is believed to have been held by Emperor Maxentius, who ruled for six years until 312AD. Maxentius, who was known for his vices and his incapacity, drowned in the Tiber while fighting forces loyal to his brother-in-law, Constantine, at the battle of the Milvian bridge.
The Daily Telegraph

Scientists learn to program pigeons
Scientists in eastern China say they have succeeded in controlling the flight of pigeons with micro electrodes planted in their brains, state media reported. Scientists at the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shandong University of Science and Technology said ther electrodes could command them to fly right or left or up or down, Xinhua news agency said. "The implants stimulate different areas of the pigeon's brain according to signals sent by the scientists via computer, and force the bird to comply with their commands," Xinhua said.
The Scotsman, The Daily Telegraph

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