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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.

Family demand answers over son's mystery death

Andrew Watt died in 2010 Credit: Julie and Les Sheppard

The family of a man who died in France are joining a protest outside the Foreign Office later calling for more details about his death.

Andrew Watt from Durham was 31 when he was found dead in 2010. His body was returned with some major organs missing. His parents still don't know how he died.

Read More: Fighting for answers - Brits who die abroad

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Durham academics honoured by Institute of Physics

Two Durham academics have won national awards for contributions to physics. Professor Brian Tanner and Professor Charles Adams have been honoured by the Institute of Physics.

Professor Tanner, Professor of Physics at Durham University, receives the 2014 Gabor Medal and Prize for distinguished work in the application of physics.

“This is excellent news for experimental physics at Durham and a tribute to all the great staff and students that have contributed so much to the success of our research over the last decade.”

– Professor Adams

Professor Adams, a member of the Joint Quantum Centre, in the Department of Physics, receives the Thomson Medal and Prize for distinguished research in atomic or molecular physics.

Durham was recently named as Europe’s leading centre for space science researchers.

Police hand out flyers in search for missing student

Durham Police officers will hand out flyers in Durham on Saturday evening as part of the search for a missing university student.

Luke Pearce was last seen walking home after a night out Credit: Durham Police

Luke Pearce, who is 19, has not been seen since leaving he left a bar in the city in the early hours of Sunday 11th May. Searches have taken place all week along the River Wear and in nearby woodland.

‘Prisons unable to stem booze-fuelled crime’

Almost all UK prisons are ineffective in dealing with alcohol-related criminal behaviour, according to a commission headed up a Durham University prison expert.

The survey, carried out by the Alcohol and Crime Commission, found that while many prisoners will be abstinent during their sentence, there is little support to help them understand what part alcohol played in their offending.

The report, commissioned by leading addiction charity, Addaction_, also showed 70 per cent of prisoners surveyed admitted they had been drinking when they committed the offence for which they were incarcerated. Yet only half of those prisoners recognised their drinking as a problem.

“What we have is a booze-fuelled revolving door and a system that doesn’t understand the complexities of alcohol-related crime.”

– Professor John Podmore, Durham University

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Will Durham University student experience life on Mars?

A Dutch company is looking to establish a human settlement on Mars. Credit: You Tube

A physics student at Durham University is in the running to be part of the first human settlement on Mars.

Hannah Earnshaw is in the last 700 candidates, out of 200 thousand applicants, for the 'Mars One' mission.

It is being run by a Dutch company which wants a colony of around 24 people to live on the planet and research it, starting in 2023.

The only catch is it is a one way trip. The company says it has the technology to get people there, but not back.

Ancient skeleton had artery disease

Artery disease has been affecting human health for at least 3,000 years, new research from Durham University says.

Ancient African skeletons have been discovered with atherosclerosis - a thickening of the artery wall due to a fatty build up.

And while doctors today blame modern lifestyles as the cause of artery problems, the research shows it was common about farming communities who worked close to the Nile, which is now the Sudan.

The study has been published in the International Journal of Palaeopathology

It forms part of a British Museum archaeological project.

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