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August 24 - 30 2011
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 30-31
Going to extremes What scientists could achieve if ethics went out the window
Google buys Motorola Search engine pays $12.5bn to go head to head with the iPhone
Capturing the Queen A new exhibition reveals that few artists have succeeded
Going soft at the National? Becher’s less forbidding as organisers make course changes
19 03 32 40 47 48 02 03 18 30 34 35
Bonus Ball 37
Bonus Ball 24
There were no winners of Saturday’s £7.8m jackpot and no one won Wednesday’s £2.5m prize
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By Graeme Paton and Richard Alleyne FIVE students were competing for every spare university place last Thursday as the publication of record examination results triggered an unprecedented stampede for degree courses.
Sixth-formers faced the most intense competition in history to find places through clearing, the system that matches candidates with remaining places, after the Alevel pass rate hit a new high.
Some 191,833 students were contending for an estimated 40,000 places as availability dropped by around a tenth on last year. The scramble caused a website run by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) to crash when it received four times as many enquiries as last year.
Thousands more students were attempting to secure places before a sharp rise in tuition fees next year, when the annual cost of a course will rise from £3,290 to a maximum of £9,000.
Applications were driven by record A-level results for students in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The overall pass rate increased for the 29th year in a row to 97.8 per cent, figures show.
The proportion of A*s, introduced last year to mark out exceptional performers, also rose to 8.2 per cent. More students did “tough” courses, such as science and maths, seen as a prerequisite for leading universities.
Continued from Page 1
neighbourhood came seven weeks after the city’s Intercontinental Hotel was stormed only 500 yards away.
David Cameron condemned the assault as “particularly vicious and cowardly”, but said that it had failed.
Sir William Patey, British ambassador to Kabul, said staff in the embassy crisis room had been in constant contact with those inside the panic room.
After several hours, they were reached by rescuers, but had to remain inside while a path was cleared to evacuate them as the fighting continued.
Sir William said: “The insurgents were still hiding inside the compound and it was important to go through the compound methodically and secure it before the extraction.”
The attack’s target may have been British interests, he said, but it had killed
The race for places was intensified by some students re-applying after missing out last year, along with those cancelling gap years to go to university before the fees rise.
The number of students deferring places for 12 months is believed to have dropped by a third, Ucas said.
Mary Curnock Cook, Ucas chief executive, sought to reassure applicants. She said: “While this is another very competitive year for higher education admissions, the majority of applicants whose places are results-dependent are likely to be successful.
“The story should be about people that have been fantastically successful as well as those that will be anxious about what to do next.”
But throughout the country, students and teachers spoke of their disappointment after places were narrowly missed.
Most universities, particularly the most selective institutions, raised the bar significantly on admissions in response to rising year-onyear results. Fifteen institutions wanted applicants to gain at least one A*, it was disclosed, and at least three top universities demanded two A*s as a minimum for some courses.
Speaking as students at the school received their results, Keith Hudson, the deputy head of Mill Hill County High School, in north London, said: “I have seen more distress here than I have ever seen in my life.”
Students who failed to get the grades to match their provisional offers are eligible for the clearing process, along with those who rejected their original course choices or applied late. Ucas said that by mid-afternoon last Thursday, there were 191,833 British and European students eligible for places through clearing — up by more than 4,200 on last year.
At the same time, the number of higher-education courses with vacancies was down 11 per cent — from 33,105 to 29,409. Ucas pointed out that each course could have more than one vacancy.
David Willetts, the universities minister, estimated that a total of 40,000 places were free at the start of last Thursday, leaving almost five people competing for each one. “There should be 40,000 or more places in clearing for young people and I very much hope they find an opportunity through that,” he said.
But Frances O’Grady, deputy general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “Because of the rush to avoid next year’s fees hike, and the Government’s refusal to fund extra university places, record numbers of students will lose out on higher education altogether.”
Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said: “We can be under no illusion about how challenging the current circumstances are for students.”
A-level results: Page 6 Comment: Pages 19 & 20
A wounded Afghan policeman is taken from the British Council many Afghans in the process. Military officers at the scene praised the compound’s Gurkha guards for slowing the attackers, allowing the staff to reach the safe room.
A Taliban statement said that the attack was timed to mark the 92nd anniversary of full independence from the British. In 1919, Afghanistan regained control of its foreign policy from Britain after the brief Third Anglo-Afghan War. The day is now a national holiday.
The Taliban insurgents declared: “Now the British have invaded our country again, and they will recognise our Independence Day again.” When the shooting was over, the body of the final armed insurgent was taken out into the street for reporters to see.
The dead man appeared to be in his twenties. A policeman spat in his face before the body was put into an ambulance.
Jon Egging: ‘exemplary pilot’
By David Harrison and Adam Lusher A RED ARROWS pilot died last Saturday when his stricken jet crashed after he steered it away from nearby houses.
Flt Lt Jon Egging, 33, is believed to have tried to eject only after guiding the RAF jet towards a field as it apparently suffered a failure after an aerobatic display.
He was killed when the jet crashed into a field near the Stour, outside Bournemouth. Flt Lt Egging, who lived in Rutland with his wife, Emma, was the first Red Arrows pilot to die in a crash for 23 years.
Mrs Egging, a museum consultant, was watching him perform just minutes before he crashed to his death. She said he was “an exemplary pilot” and watching him in the display was the “proudest” she had ever been.
“Jon was everything to those who knew him, and he was the best friend and husband I could have wished for,” she said. “He loved his job and was an exemplary pilot. I loved everything about him, and he will be missed.”
Flying under the call sign Red 4, he had suddenly peeled away from the other eight Red Arrows as they headed back to Bournemouth international airport.
The jet flew low over houses and other buildings before crashing near the village of Throop, Dorset, bouncing several times and splitting into two. People who ran to the scene pulled the pilot’s body out of the river, about a mile from the airport.
The tragedy happened after the RAF Aerobatic Team had given a “dazzling” performance”, according to a spectator, at the Bournemouth air festival. The RAF Hawks had outlined hearts in the sky with trails of pink smoke between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.
The nine aircraft then left the area to fly over nearby Christchurch before returning to the airport. But only eight of them returned.
The son of an airline pilot, Flt Lt Egging joined the RAF in 2000 and flew Harrier jump jets before joining the Red Arrows. During his time on the front line, he flew operational missions in Afghanistan in support of ground forces.