Today's news

March 23, 2007

Oxford targets bright young things of eastern Europe
Oxford University hopes to entice eastern Europe's brightest students with scholarships worth £25,000 a year from October. The university has likened the scheme to its Rhodes scholarships, set up to lure smart US students such as the former US president Bill Clinton, to study at Oxford for two years. Up to 25 masters and doctoral students will be eligible for the new cash for the next three to five years. Most will be from eastern Europe, but others will be selected from north Africa, the Middle East and central Asia. Lord Weidenfeld, a philanthropist born in Vienna and an honorary fellow of Oxford, will provide £625,000 a year to fund the scholarships and they will be named after him.
The Guardian

Scottish university starts nursing college in Egypt
A Scottish university has increased its influence over shaping the future of nurse education in the Middle East. Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh yesterday revealed it had signed a deal to create a new nursing faculty at the University of Egypt in Cairo. The university has already worked in Saudi Arabia with businesses and the British Council to establish a college of nursing studies in Jeddah, which opened last September with 50 students. That initiative reflected a move within the kingdom to encourage and train Saudi Arabian nationals in professions previously dominated by people from the Philippines and India.
The Guardian

Scots' MRI scanning breakthrough 'has potential to save thousands'
A major breakthrough in scanning technology, which could save thousands of lives by allowing doctors to spot developing diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis at a much earlier stage, was announced by Scottish researchers yesterday. The new scanning device can provide up to 100 different images from inside the body - compared with one from a conventional scanner - and reveal views that are hidden from current equipment. The scientists behind the technology say it should allow clinicians to make diagnoses and gain important information about diseases at a much earlier stage, developments cancer experts said last night would make a "dramatic" difference to saving lives. It could also be used for detecting other illnesses including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.
The Scotsman

Alcohol and tobacco cause more harm than Ecstasy, study claims
Alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than illegal drugs such as cannabis and Ecstasy, according to a new drug classification system set out by scientists. A study published today in The Lancet rates alcohol as only slightly less dangerous than Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The new system ranks drugs according to the estimated harm they cause, rather than by the current A, B, and C divisions. Tobacco appears in the top half of a league table of 20 legal and illegal substances, well above the Class A drug Ecstasy, possession of which can result in a seven-year jail sentence. LSD, another Class A drug, is also considered relatively safe despite its powerful hallucinogenic properties.
The Times, The Independent, The Daily Telegraph

Bomb defused at university in Beirut
Police defused a small bomb at the American University of Beirut yesterday in what appeared to be the latest of a series of attempts to cause explosions in Lebanon, security officials said. An explosives expert defused a bomb of 200 grams of TNT that was found in a bag near an elevator in the Issam Fares Hall, a building off the main campus, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media. The bomb was wired to a detonator and ready to explode, the official added. It was taken to a police barracks for investigation.
The Guardian

Donor discs used to treat back disorders
Spinal discs from dead donors have been successfully transplanted into five people suffering neck problems, doctors in China report. The breakthrough was achieved without the need for immunosuppressant drugs, and could lead to innovative treatments for debilitating back disorders, such as severe degenerative disc disease. Spinal discs are made up of cartilage and fibrous tissue and have a jelly-like centre that acts as a shock absorber between vertebrae.
New Scientist, The Independent

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