Today's news

February 28, 2007

Blair claims tuition fees success
The prime minister came under fire from academics and students yesterday following comments made in his monthly press conference that appeared to vindicate the introduction of higher tuition fees. Asked by the Guardian if it is was now time to open up the market and let universities charge what they wanted, Tony Blair said: "For us and the university system the worries about [higher] tuition fees turned out to be misplaced, and it's a global marketplace." The University and College Union immediately condemned the comments, saying the full impact of top-up fees had "yet to be realised or properly analysed", and they had done little to widen participation.
The Guardian

Student loan interest rates 'should rise'
The blanket interest rate subsidy on student loans should be scrapped, because it only benefits successful, high-flying graduates, it was suggested today. The subsidy costs the government around £1.2 billion a year, which could be better spent on widening participation, a seminar was told. The idea was mooted this afternoon by Nicholas Barr, professor of public economics at the London School of Economics, and Alasdair Smith, the vice-chancellor of Sussex University. They were speaking at a seminar, 'The university funding system: is further reform inevitable?', organised by the Liberal Democrat thinktank Centre Forum.
The Guardian

Website helps locate bursaries
An online map to help prospective students find out which bursaries are being offered by universities and higher education colleges was launched today by the government. The interactive Bursary Aware map will provide links to 219 higher education institutions in England. Students can click on the area in which they plan to study, select their chosen university and link through to an information page on finances. The creation of the map follows a recent poll commissioned by the Department for Education and Skills that showed almost two-thirds (65 per cent) of young people were unaware that universities and colleges were offering non-repayable bursaries as a condition of charging £3,000 a year fees.
The Guardian

Students learn how to get ahead in advertising
Two students have won places on a coveted workshop for people trying to break into advertising. Napier University's Chris Scott and David Grenfell, who are working towards masters degrees, have both been accepted on a six-week D&AD Creative Advertising evening workshop. They will work on briefs with the help of some of the biggest names in the business. The duo were chosen for the course after their work caught the eye of Angus Walker, of the Frame agency in Glasgow.
The Scotsman

300,000 at risk in Vesuvius eruption
At least 300,000 Italians living near the Vesuvius volcano would be killed the next time it erupts if they are not evacuated beforehand, according to the first three-dimensional simulation by supercomputer. However, up to 200,000 others living in the north-north-western areas of the high-risk "Red Zone" could have more time to escape thanks to the volcano's towering Mount Somma rim, which acts as a natural barrier, scientists say. "For the first time, we have seen that these flows could be substantially diverted," Augusto Neri, of the National Geophysical and Vulcanology Institute in Pisa, who led the research, said.
The Scotsman

Vitamins could increase risk of death, study says
Common vitamin pills may "significantly" increase the risk of death, a new study has found. Vitamin A, vitamin E and beta carotene taken singly or with other supplements "significantly increase mortality", according to scientists from Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark. The researchers found no evidence that Vitamin C could increase longevity, while selenium tended to reduce the risk of death. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association , involved analysis of 68 previous trials of the five antioxidant supplements, involving 232,606 participants. The Copenhagen team singled out 47 "low-bias risk" trials, with 180,938 participants, as being the best quality.
The Independent, The Times

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