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Today's news

Evening classes to double charges
The cost of evening classes is to double for more than two million people to help to fund job training for low-skilled workers, the Government admitted yesterday. Night classes in everything from flower arranging to foreign languages are expected to close. Leaders of further education colleges estimate that one million places will be lost overall. Ministers believe that night courses should not be the preserve of the middle classes keen on self-improvement. They consider that taxpayers’ money would be better spent improving the skills of adults and young people who have left school with few or no qualifications.
The Times

Sorbonne chief berates students ahead of protest
The head of France's most renowned university yesterday said he was ashamed of his country and strongly criticised the students protesting against controversial labour reforms. Ahead of marches and strikes across the country today, Jean-Robert Pitte, president of the Sorbonne in Paris, said: "We give the impression of a country that doesn't understand the world. I'm ashamed of my country." The 750-year-old university has become a flashpoint for sometimes violent protests against the government reform that aims to cut France's chronic youth unemployment by making it easier to hire and fire.
The Financial Times

Inquiry recommends teacher training on self-harm
Colleges and universities must educate teachers on mental health issues to end the stigma surrounding troubled young people who harm themselves, a report has warned. Truth Hurts, the new report of the national inquiry into self-harm among young people, says the promotion of positive attitudes towards mental health issues is crucial to colleges and universities if students are to stop hurting themselves. The report, released yesterday, calls for further staff education and training on self-harm and for more campaigns aimed at removing the stigma of self-harm.
The Guardian

Pill that slashes the risk of breast cancer
A contraceptive pill that could reduce rather than increase the risk of breast cancer should be available within five years, scientists have said. It works by stopping periods altogether and would put an end to the symptoms of pre-menstrual tension. It could also reduce the chances of other problems such as endometriosis and cut the increased risk of heart disease in older women who are overweight or smoke and use oral contraception. Several groups of scientists and pharmaceutical companies are carrying out research on the use, as contraceptives, of anti-progesterone compounds, also known as progesterone receptor modulators.
The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Independent

Scientists warn on saving fish stocks
Even drastic action to close many fisheries might not be sufficient to save fish stocks, scientists warned yesterday. A report by Newcastle University for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs found that proposals to declare "no-fishing zones" in the North Sea would be effective only if the zones were tens of thousands of square miles in size and stayed in place for decades.
The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph

Research backs theory that vitamin C shrinks tumours
New research suggesting that vitamin C can be effective in curing cancer will renew interest in the "alternative" treatment for the terminal disease. Three cancer patients who were given large intravenous doses over a period of several months had their lives extended and their tumours shrunk, doctors reported. A 49-year-old man diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer in 1996 was still alive and cancer-free nine years later, having declined chemotherapy and radiotherapy in favour of regular infusions of vitamin C.
The Independent

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