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University staff vote for strike action over pensions

Staff at the universities of Newcastle and Durham have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in a row over pensions.

A total of 78% of members of the University and College Union (UCU) who were balloted across 69 universities voted in favour of strike action.

Talks between the union and the universities will be held on Wednesday to try to negotiate a solution.

The union said if the employers continued with their proposals then the union would meet on Friday to decide what form the disruption would take and when it would start.

A vote for action would by likely to include a marking boycott and a refusal to set exams. The action would stop students being set coursework or receiving formal marks and feedback, as well as halting exams.


Strictly star entertains children at Durham Book Festival

Guisborough actor and Strictly Come Dancing star Mark Benton has been entertaining children at Durham Book Festival.

The 48-year-old, best known for his role on the Nationwide Building Society adverts, was reading passages from Kenneth Grahame's classic novel The Wind in the Willows at Palace Green Library.

The show was part of a series of events taking place across Durham to celebrate the book.


Strictly star to appear at Durham Book Festival

Actor Mark Benton will be at this year's Durham Book Festival Credit: Ian West/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Actor and Strictly Come Dancing star Mark Benton will be at this year's Durham Book Festival.

The 48-year-old, from Guisborough, is appearing at Durham's Palace Green Library for an event celebrating Kenneth Grahame's classic novel The Wind in the Willows.

Mark, who played Mr Toad in Northern Stage's production of The Wind in the Willows in 2010, will be reading passages from the book from 11am.

Meningitis: What are the symptoms?

Northumbria University has confirmed that a 22-year-old student from Malaysia died in hospital from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

Students in Newcastle are now being advised to look out for the symptoms of meningitis:

Early symptoms

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Fever
  • Vomiting (being sick)
  • Feeling generally unwell

Later symptoms

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or fits
  • Being unable to tolerate bright lights
  • A stiff neck
  • A rapid breathing rate
  • A blotchy red rash that does not fade or change colour when you place a glass against it

University confirms meningitis victim was a woman

Northumbria University has confirmed that the student who has died from a suspected case of meningococcal meningitis was female. Her identity has not yet been released. Staff and fellow students who came into contact with the the woman are being offered anti-biotics and information about the illness.

University's 'deepest condolences' after student's death

Northumbria University has released more details about a student who died from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

We can confirm that one of our students, a 22-year-old female from Malaysia, sadly passed away in hospital on Wednesday 1 October from suspected meningococcal meningitis.

She came to Northumbria last month to study the final year of her degree. We offer our deepest condolences to her family and friends.

Meningococcal bacteria do not spread easily. Those students and staff identified as being in prolonged close contact with the student concerned in the days before she became ill have been offered antibiotics as a precautionary measure.

– Spokesman, Northumbria University
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