Today's papers

July 19, 2002

Oxford grade inflation laid bare
Nearly nine out of ten Oxford students are being awarded good degrees and the proportion of firsts has doubled over the past two decades. This summer's results show that more than 87 per cent of students achieved a first or an upper second in their degree, a rise of 5 per cent on last year and 20 per cent over 15 years.
(The Times)

Scientists discover a fearful little gene
Scientists have discovered a gene that influences the brain's response to fear and danger. The findings, by researchers at the US National Institute of Mental Health in Bethseda, Maryland, suggest that a tendency towards bravery, cowardice, anxiety or vigilance may be partly determined by DNA.
(Times, Telegraph, Mail)

Fewer apply to university
Fewer young people in England and Wales applied to go to university this year while more applied in Scotland, suggesting tuition fees and fear of debt may put some off taking a degree.
(Guardian, Independent, Mail)

Skills training is 'bureaucratic nightmare'
The government's delivery of local economic development and skills training is a bureaucratic nightmare that is getting in the way of both, the Better Regulation Task Force said yesterday. In a devastating report, it says businesses, workers and students are lost in a maze of more than 50 government agencies and departments and 52 funding streams, while a training coordinator can have to complete 26 pieces of paper before starting a trainee on a work-based programme.
(Financial Times)

Professor is alleged mastermind of Greek terror group
Greek police claim that a Sorbonne-educated professor, Alexandros Giotopoulos, 63, is the brains behind the 17 November terrorist group that assassinated the British defence attache in Athens two years ago.
(Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Mail)

Indians elect nuclear hero as president
A Muslim scientist who headed India's nuclear missile programme was overwhelmingly elected as India's twelfth president yesterday. The election of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, 71, completed an astonishing journey for the son of a poor boatman whose sister allegedly pawned her wedding jewellery to pay for his education.
(Times, Guardian)

Breast-feeding can prevent cancer
Mothers who do not breast-feed their children may be increasing their chances of developing breast cancer, according to a ten-year study by scientists at Oxford University.
(Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, Mail, Mirror)

Student stands by Tammy Wynette for degree
Lyrics sung by the country and western singer Tammy Wynette have helped a student get a first-class honours degree in geography and environmental management at Northumbria University. While her contemporaries looked at soil samples, Elaine Henderson, 22, studied the lyrics of 60 country songs to demonstrate the changing perceptions of women towards men since the 1970s.

Reptile was skilled in art of fly fishing
Brazilian scientists have unearthed the head of a huge flying lizard that they believe spent its days swooping over seas, dipping its head into the water to nab a fish or two. According to the report in the journal Science, the pterosaur Thalassadromeus sethi, which lived 110 million years ago, had a head and crest almost 1.5m long and the wingspan of a Spitfire.
(Guardian, Telegraph, Mail)

Graduate on stalking charge
A Cambridge graduate yesterday denied stalking a BBC television news presenter whom he met at university 13 years ago. Edward Vines, 32, pleaded not guilty at West London magistrates' court to harassing Emily Maitlis, 31, host of London News.

Clinical biologist dies
Paddy Phizackerley, who was a distinguished fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, and who helped to develop an early 'space suit' for the RAF, has died aged 75.

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