Tag Archive: News item

Some of the weirdest and most scientifically wonderful new species that have been discovered since the beginning of the century are featured in a BBC Documentary, Decade of Discover. Animals like the big red jellyfish, the grey-faced sengi, the bamboo shark, the kipunji (a monkey), the Langkawi bent-toed gecko and the pygmy three-toed sloth. Plants like the carnivorous pitcher plant and the giant slipper orchid.

After reading this article, I was really happy that zoologists and biologists are still discovering new species. The videos under the same article showed some of these animal and plant species. My favourite was the pygmy sloth. The creature was the cutest thing ever! Not exceptionally good-looking (picture Sid from Ice Age), but it was completely oblivious to the cameras and people around it. It was just hanging form a tree and sleeping. And when it did move, it was unbelievably slow. One man was holding it and cuddling it and the sloth looked like it had just woken up and had no idea what was going on but didn’t care either. The pygmy sloth lives on a remote nature reserve island where there are no people living. It has developed the ability to swim – it floats on water and waves its long “hands” with enormous claws.

I wish I could live on a remote island in the Caribbean, not have a care in the world, sleep all day and sleep all night. And hang. A lot.

Pygmy three-toed sloth

I decided to choose a news item which has been all over the media for some time already and all of the major British newspapers and media channels have also been covering the topic quite eagerly. My summary is mainly based on the information from bbc.co.uk and guardian.co.uk.

On Thursday the government’s proposal to raise tuition fees to £9000 will be put to vote. Many, including the National Union of Students and the Labour leader Ed Miliband, are against this, saying that a graduate tax would be a more workable option. Miliband also disagrees with the coalition, who have declared that the rise in fees is unavoidable- he believes it is a ”political choice and a deeply damaging one.” I believe he is right in saying that a rise this dramatic will entrench privilege and inequality and it will also discourage students from poorer families from going to university.

However, the Liberal Democrats have also been prepared for the assault- they have launched a £150 m scholarship scheme, according to which 18 000 students from poorer families could get support for their fees and universities which charge more than £6000 a year could be forced to pay students’ fees for a second year. Universities minister David Willets believes that this should absolutely allay any concerns of the fees rise. It should also increase the numbers of people from poorer families going on to higher education.

In my opinion the idea of raising tuition fees and creating a fund for poorer students will not be a step in the right direction, because in that case the future of a student very talented, yet with an economically unstable background, will be decided by him/her either getting the scholarship or not. It is clear that no certain number of people needing financial help can be set, because no one can predict the financial situation of the future applicants. Therefore how can it be stated that up to 18 000 students will get their fees covered and that’s it? Maybe there will be another financial crisis, maybe the amount of people needing financial support will have doubled by the time the scheme will be put to use?