Guardian Unlimited OnLine July 13 2007
Thousands apply for 520-day journey to nowhere July 13 2007
· Moscow 'space flight' to simulate voyage to Mars
· Britons seek places in cramped static cabin
Luke Harding in Moscow
More than four-and-a half thousand people have applied to take part in a joint Russian-European venture in which six people will be locked inside a mock spacecraft for 520 days to simulate an expedition to Mars.
Russia's space agency is sifting through piles of applications from would-be astronauts, including Britons, prepared to suffer extreme privation to test endurance levels for a Mars odyssey.
Successful candidates will be locked inside a cramped barrel-shaped spacecraft in central Moscow for a year and a half: 250 days to Mars, followed by a month on the surface, and 240 days to get back. The craft comprises tiny modules - a claustrophobic 550 cubic metres in total that aims to replicate the psychological pressures of an arduous long-distance space voyage.
Mark Belakovsky, head of the Mars 500 project, said yesterday: "We want applicants who are healthy and professional. They have to be intellectually tough."
Dr Belakovsky, of the Institute of Biomedical Problems, said male and female applicants had to be aged 25 to 50. Doctors would be preferred, he said.
"We've had applicants from Britain," he added. "If British firms would like to supply us with books, films, or food we would be happy to hear from them."
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Times OnLine July 13 2007
Crisis of trust after BBC says sorry again July 13 2007
Adam Sherwin, Media Correspondent
The BBC called on its staff last night to inform their managers about programmes that have misled or deceived the public.
The initiative to shore up trust in the corporation came after it was forced to apologise to the Queen — the second embarassing apology within four days.
Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General, has been asked by the BBC Trust to explain why a channel controller issued promotional footage that wrongly implied that the Queen had walked out of a photo shoot.
It admitted that footage which purported to show the Queen storming out of a sitting with the celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz had been spliced together out of sequence. In fact the Queen was filmed walking into the shoot.
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Independent OnLine 'Indy' News July 13 2007
Classroom revolution as curriculum embraces modern life July 13 2007
By Richard Garner, Education Editor
The Government has unveiled a new curriculum to bring schools into the 21st century - giving more space for pupils to tackle controversial issues such as global warming and nuclear power.
Teachers will also be given greater freedom to break free from the traditional subject-based national curriculum for pupils aged 11 to 16, facilitating the introduction of topics which help prepare youngsters for adult life, Ken Boston, chief executive of the Qualifications and Curriculum - the Government's exams watchdog, said yesterday.
They will range from lessons on Britain's place in the global economy to individual economic well-being - which could include how to avoid debt and buy a home, respect for other cultures and even cookery - to help instil healthy eating habits into tomorrow's adults.
Dr Boston said the changes were necessary because the rise in education standards throughout the Western world was "slowing down".
"In some countries, it has reached a glass ceiling through which it cannot break," he said.
"The traditional approach to covering the syllabus has been exhausted: it has delivered all it can: it will work no more."
Under the shake-up, pupils could learn at their own speed - with some youngsters in a class given more taxing books to read such as the novels of Thomas Hardy while others were working on George Orwell.
The alternative, he argued, was to carry on with a system "where learning is not differentiated according to the readiness of the individual to learn".
That caused many youngsters to become disaffected "because the task is utterly beyond their reach and for others to be bored because it is too easy".
The shake-up, however, did mix the new topic-based approach with the traditional subject-based approach. In particular, ministers have listened to complaints about history where teachers have claimed that too many youngsters are starting with the Tudors in secondary school - having neglected the subject at primary school.
Topics in the new curriculum include studying the development of power in Britain from the Middle Ages to the present day to overcome gaps in children's knowledge and give them more of an understanding of Britain's cultural identity.
There was consternation, though, that Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler's names had been omitted from the list of historical figures to be studied, a decision described by the Conservative MP Nicholas Soames as madness. But the QCA and the Government pointed out that study of the First and Second World Wars was compulsory and it would be impossible to teach those topics without studying Churchill and Hitler.
Andrew Adonis, the Schools minister, insisted yesterday that history would include studying developments from medieval times to the present day.
Lord Adonis lent his backing to the new curriculum at its launch at Lord's Cricket Ground yesterday. "There is a reduction in prescription from the centre and a modernisation of the curriculum to make it more relevant to the needs of young people in this world in the future," he added.
He argued that teachers could use the new time at their disposal to ensure extra catch-up lessons in the "three R's" for pupils who were struggling in English and maths - and also lessons to stretch the more able pupils.
Other measures in the curriculum include a reading list - including authors from different cultures for the first time such as Maya Angelou and Meera Syal, also known for her role as a comedian in the BBC TV series Goodness Gracious Me.
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