No. 4467 Thursday 5 March 1998 Vol. 128

New companies exploit Oxford research : The University has launched two new `spin-off' companies to market scientific know-how developed by Oxford scientists, bringing to 11 the number of companies spun out by the University.

Congregation to discuss North Report : Congregaton will have its first chance to discuss the report of the Commission of Inquiry next week, and members are encouraged to join in the open debate.

Mughal paintings at Ashmolean : Portraits of princes, ladies, and holy men, as well as ragmala pictures (illustrations to ragas or musical modes) feature strongly in an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum.

New Professor of Arabic : Dr Gerard van Gelder, Senior Lecturer in Arabic in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Middle East at the University of Groningen, has been appointed to the Laudian Professorship of Arabic.

Oxford studies new lifelong learning plans : The vision of lifelong education and training contained in the Government's consultation Green Paper, The Learning Age, has been welcomed by the University's Department for Continuing Education.

Scientists study health risks of sunscreens and alcohol : New research by two Oxford scientists has exposed health risks posed by some sunscreens and by alcohol.

Additional Degree Day: An additional degree day is to be held by the University in October as an experiment to allow college year-groups to graduate together. The idea was proposed in Trinity Term 1997 by Helen Evans, then JCR President of New College, and has been approved by Council. The extra degree day, on 2 October, will cater for those taking their Final Honour Schools this summer. Keble and New College will share the morning ceremony; Exeter, LMH, and Pembroke the afternoon.

Courses for diplomats: The University Department for Continuing Education is to mount courses in international affairs and diplomatic practice for diplomats from 27 states of Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, in partnership with Birmingham University and the Centre for Political and Diplomatic Studies. The courses are sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Know-How Fund.

Award for Professor Foster: Professor Roy Foster, Carroll Professor of Irish History and a fellow of Hertford College, has been awarded a 1997 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for the first volume of his biography of W. B. Yeats: The Apprentice Mage 1865–1914 (OUP). Scotland's oldest book award, now in its 79th year, is presented for the best work of fiction and biography published during the previous year.

Plant Sciences appointments: Professor Jeff Burley, Director of the Oxford Forestry Institute, and Dr Bernard Tinker, an associate member of the Plant Sciences Department, are to lead external quinquennial reviews of two major international research institutions, the Centre for International Forestry Research in Indonesia, and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Public speaking awards: Two prizes for public speaking in Japanese have been won by a present and former undergraduate from Oxford. The Student Category of the 1998 Sir Peter Parker Awards for Spoken Business Japanese was won by Rachel Saunders, an undergraduate at St Anne's, and the Business Category by Jason Daniel, of New College, who obtained a First in 1993.

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