Update 12:40

September 24, 2002

Lib-Dems brand HE as 'unfit' for expansion
Universities are barely fit for their present role, let alone the demands of expansion made of them by government, according to Liberal Democrat education spokesman Phil Willis. Speaking at a Universities UK fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton, Mr Willis said that student numbers had expanded by nearly 90 per cent over the past decade while real terms funding had fallen by 37 per cent. Mr Willis said that while universities had done well to maintain standards in the face of the funding decline, expansion to reach the government’s 50 per cent participation target by 2010 would be impossible without greater investment in and reform of the structure and funding of higher education.

Sorority sued after US students drown
Alpha Kappa Alpha, the United States’ oldest African-American sorority, faces a $100 million lawsuit after two students at California State University, Los Angeles, drowned in heavy surf in an apparent initiation rite. A preliminary police investigation suggested the deaths were accidental, but the family of one student claims it was a result of the tasks they were required to perform to join the sorority.

Israelis warn: Iraq crisis could jeopardise Palestinians
Prominent Israeli academics have circulated a letter warning the international community that their government may use the "fog of war" over Iraq to “commit further crimes against the Palestinian people, up to full-fledged ethnic cleansing".   

NI's PPP beats deadline for Magee
Northern Ireland’s first higher education public-private partnership has delivered new student accommodation ahead of schedule. Jarvis University Partnership Projects has completed the first phase of a development at Ulster University’s Magee campus. It includes 146 en-suite rooms, with on-site wardens, CCTV and a launderette.

Scots minister opens special needs centre
Iain Gray, Scotland’s minister for enterprise, transport and lifelong learning, has launched a support centre at Stevenson College for students with learning difficulties. The BRITE (Beattie Resources for Inclusiveness in Technology and Education) centre follows the Beattie report’s recommendations on helping youngsters with special needs to have access to education. 

Sikh tome 'oldest outside India', says British Library
An ancient tome found in the British Library is the oldest known copy outside India of the spiritual book used by Sikhs. The library said its copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, previously thought to be 100 years old, in fact dates from the 17th century.

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