Tue, May 16, 2006 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■ United Kingdom

`Values' lessons possible

The government is considering introducing compulsory lessons on "core British values" for children in response to last July's suicide bomb attacks on London, the education minister said yesterday. Bill Rammell said a six-month review would examine whether all 11 to 16-year-olds should be taught about issues such as freedom of speech, civic responsibility, and democracy and how historically they developed in Britain. "If we are to get a proper modern sense of British identity, which I think is the best way to tackle extremism, then I think that's very important," Rammell told BBC radio.

■ United States

Bush says it with trees

US President George W. Bush thanked one of his staunchest allies, Australian Prime Minister John Howard, for supporting his "liberty agenda" by presenting Australia with the gift of two trees with White House roots. The two men and their wives, Laura Bush and Janette Howard, planted the elm and magnolia grown from White House trees on the grounds of the Australian embassy on Sunday evening as both leaders called the gift a symbol of their countries' friendship. "I can't thank you enough, John, for your strong support of the liberty agenda, deep desire for the world to be a peaceful place," Bush said.

■ United States

Teacher sorry for assignment

A high school teacher has apologized for asking students to write about who they would kill and how they would do it, and officials said he will likely keep his job. Michael Maxwell, who teaches industrial technology at Central High School in St Joseph, Missouri, said his request that students in his beginning drafting class describe how they would carry out a murder was merely a writing prompt. It was not clear why he asked the drafting class to write fiction. "I made a horrible mistake that I regret," Maxwell said. "I want to apologize to my students, my colleagues and to the community."

■ United States

Intelligent stave off dementia

A study of Alzheimer's disease has found that on average the onset of the disease tends to occur later in intelligent, well-educated people. The study, conducted by Columbia University in New York and reported in the May edition of a German magazine for pharmacists, found that better-educated people who contract the disease, however, experience a more rapid degeneration of brain cells once the disease advances. Participants in the study with higher intelligence were able to stave off the effects of Alzheimer's apparently thanks to the especially good network of nerves in their brains, the report said. But their conditions worsened more rapidly than study participants who were less educated.

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