Arts and Entertainment

The Venetian contralto Sara Mingardo is one of a kind, and the nearest approximation to her clarion sound is to be found in the recordings of countertenor James Bowman in his prime; down in the baritone register her voice has masculine firmness, and when she opens up at the top her timbre is thrilling.

Average student debt now £4,500 a year

Student debt levels have rocketed by almost twice the level of inflation during the past year – with those starting university this autumn expected to owe more than £20,000 by the time they graduate.

North Sea gas and oil boom threatens dolphins

Marine conservationists have called for permanent protection of one of the UK's most important colonies of dolphins which is being threatened by a boom in North Sea oil and gas exploration.

Go Higher: A complete guide to higher education

OVER THE next six editions, Go Higher will concentrate on specific areas of higher education to help you make the right decisions.

Education Letter: Are standards declining?

IN RECENT years there has been growing public concern about the alleged dilution of academic standards in British universities and degree- awarding colleges. While not, at this stage, taking a view on this issue, we nevertheless believe there is a need to find out if the allegation of dilution is well founded.

Going Higher: help desk

Q. I left school/college a year ago and I am now working. Who should give me a reference?

Parents' Guide: What to do when they leave

Make time to talk about what a son or daughter going away to university means for the family

Universities to be rewarded for low student drop-out rates

NEW FINANCIAL rewards for universities with low drop-out rates will be outlined by a government quango next week.

Student choices: Prophets of doom were all so wrong

Pessimists predicted a huge fall in college applications - but it just isn't happening

Student choices: Children and parents put off by new fees and loans

How great a deterrent is David Blunkett's new financial package for students? The fear of those who have opposed it in Parliament and in education has been that some of those who might be qualified and able to benefit from a university education will be put off.

Student choices: Raid the family fortune?

There are going to be some interesting family discussions when the university bills come in if The Independent's survey is anything to go by. If the top universities are ever permitted to go ahead with the imposition of top-up fees - the idea will be banned by the Education Bill going through Parliament - 70 per cent of students interviewed are confident their long-suffering parents will pay for them.

Letter: University fees

Sir: Thank you for your praise in your leader on student tuition fees. But contrary to your implication, it is not the intention of the National Union of Students to frighten would-be students away from higher education to make a point in our campaign; the evidence is clear that the prospect of paying university tuition fees is killing ambition among potential students.

Letter: High price of a university degree

Letter: High price of a university

University shamed over ban

A Hong Kong university overturned an earlier ban and agreed to allow its students to display on campus a sculpture symbolising oppression, a student leader said. The University of Hong Kong made the decision on the "Pillar of Shame" monument after a meeting with students.

Inquiry into jet-setting college chief 'flawed'

An investigation into the expenses claimed by a jet-setting university vice-chancellor involved "errors of judgement", the Government's public spending watchdog said yesterday.

University inquiry into expenses was misjudged

An investigation into the expenses claimed by a jet-setting university vice-chancellor involved "errors of judgement", the Government's public spending watchdog said yesterday.
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Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
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Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape