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Issue 469, 24 September 2001

In the news

Chair of the heads of university counselling services Nigel Humphreys was invited onto Radio 4's All in the Mind programme to explain why mental health problems among students are on the increase. He said: "Greater numbers of students means a broader range of mental health difficulties. Coupled with academic and financial pressure and the fact that they have to work part-time as well, it all adds up to a very stressful situation."

The Times, Financial Times and the Daily Telegraph all picked up on Professor Chris Thomas' research featured in Reporter 468, which suggests that certain species of butterfly are adapting in order to cope with global warming. He pointed out that roughly a quarter of British butterfly species had been extending their range over the past 20 years to places that were previously too cold for them.

Dr Darren Smith's seminar about the large lesbian community in the Hebden Bridge/ Todmorden area was reported in the Yorkshire Post (How gay is my valley, boffin is paid to ask) and the Observer. Dr Smith, who is seeking 30,000 for full-scale research into the Upper Calder Valley lesbian community, said: "I was astonished; all received knowledge has it that lesbians gravitate towards large metropolitan spaces, this mass movement into the countryside is bucking every known trend."

Dr Richard Howells was a guest on Radio 4's media discussion programme, The Message. Among the topics of discussion were 'spam' email and 'angelic' advertising, in which virtue as opposed to vice might be used to sell products. Local and world-wide radio was also on the agenda. He regretted that much of 'local' radio just wasn't local any more - "a record is still a record, whether you're in Barnsley or Basingstoke" - and said a world service which no longer broadcast to North America or Australasia wasn't really a world service either.

As chair of the research policy strategy group for Universities UK, the Vice-Chancellor was invited to speak on Radio 4's PM programme on ethical funding issues in the wake of some universities accepting contributions from so-called 'unethical' industries. Universities UK estimate that financial contributions to universities have grown by 30% in three years. Professor Sir Alan Wilson said: "Universities are there to support their community, and industry is an important community. So it's simply that we are engaging with a group that we ought to engage with, and funding will come from them to support our mutual activities."

A number of Leeds academics have been quoted in the media in light of the tragic events in the United States. Dr Jason Ralph and Professor Christoph Bluth from Politics & International Studies, appeared on ITV's Calendar and in the Yorkshire Post respectively. Law professor Clive Walker featured in the Times, commenting on the difficulties involved in trying to eradicate terrorist groups.

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