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News in brief: Inner-city students win top US uni scholarships

Bright stuff: Frome left, Lenox Keeble, Umar Azad, Xuan Nguyen, and Catherine Lowe PICTURE: SWNS

FOUR students from an inner-city UK sixth-form college have been awarded £250,000 scholarships to top-ranked US universities. The quartet impressed after teachers arranged for them to take American SAT aptitude tests alongside their A-Level studies at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form in East Ham, east London. Lennox Keeble is heading to Princeton, Catherine Lowe to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and both Xuan Nguyen and Umar Azad to Harvard. As they are from low-income families all fees are paid. Headteacher Mouhssin Ismail, now seeing his third year of US successes, said he aimed to ‘push the boundaries’.

Loans manager failed to stop £100k IT thefts

A SENIOR manager at the Student Loans Company who was sacked after £100,000 of IT equipment went missing has lost her claim for unfair dismissal. Ruth Porter was found to have been negligent as she failed to make proper checks despite warnings that the gear was at risk. Laptops went missing from an office in Darlington, Co. Durham, in 2014 and from the head office in Glasgow, where she was based, in 2018. There is no suggestion she was involved in the thefts but an employment tribunal agreed she had ‘failed to develop processes and procedures for asset management’ or raise the issue with managers.

Fitness study gives a leg up to anti-ageing drugs

MEDICINE to combat ageing could become a reality after experts identified 141 muscle-boosting genes — by getting people to work out using just one leg. The bizarre weight training regime resulted in the leg kept inactive with a brace losing the same amount of muscle mass as the other had gained over about two-and-a-half months. Experts could then compare gene responses in the two legs to work out which ones fuelled muscle growth. It could lead to drugs that mimic the role of the genes. Study author Tanner Stokes, of McMaster University in Canada, said the findings will help in ‘the fight against debilitating muscle loss in older people’.

NEWS BITES

■ UB40 lead singer Duncan Campbell has suffered a stroke. The 62-year-old, who replaced brother Ali as the band’s frontman in 2008, was ‘up and about’ and doing well, a statement from the reggae group said.

■ A BEACH-GOER’S car vanished beneath the waves after he tried to park as close to the sea as possible. The driver had ignored his wife’s pleas to stop before the vehicle got stuck in mud when the tide came in near Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. The couple were unharmed.

■ A MILLION-POUND project will restore 7,722sq miles of lost oyster reefs. The ‘nurseries’ — off Tyne and Wear’s coast and in the Firth of Clyde and river Conwy — will boost biodiversity and water quality, conservationists said.

■ A GAS pipe explosion in a residential Birmingham street sent a fireball and plumes of smoke up from a manhole. ‘The explosion was so big, fire alarms went off from inside homes,’ said one eyewitness.

■ A COLLECTION of World War II-era ‘Dirty Dozen’ watches is set to fetch up to £35,000. The 12 timepieces for the British armed forces are one of 20 full sets. Fellows Auctioneers in Birmingham will handle the August 24 sale.

WORLD BITES

■ SWEDEN has vowed to crack down on gangland violence after a 12-year-old girl was killed by a stray bullet during a drive-by shooting at a car park in Stockholm County. Justice minister Morgan Johansson promised ‘more police and harsher sentences’.

■ POLICE searching a wooden box at an airport discovered the bones of a passenger’s husband. The 74-year-old woman was allowed to continue taking the remains back to her native Armenia after being questioned at Munich Airport.

■ HURRICANE Isaias has made landfall in the US battering the North Carolina coast with winds of 85mph. The National Hurricane Center warned residents of the danger of ‘life-threatening storm surge inundation’ that would bring with it flash flooding.

■ A DIPLOMAT has visited British-Australian academic Kylie Moore-Gilbert in Iran’s Qarchak prison — confirming she has been moved to the desert jail. Australian officials said she was well. The Islamic studies lecturer was jailed for ten years in 2018 on ‘spying’ charges.

■ A FIRE at a cathedral was an accident, not the result of a terror attack as Catholic authorities reported. Police in Nicaragua said vapours from a disinfectant spray bottle were ignited by a candle at the Metropolitan Cathedral in capital Managua.