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Ethnic minority

University employees of ethnic origin will receive a bonus ofone thousand guilders if they suggest a suitable candidate ofethnic origin for a job at Utrecht University. The bonus is theresult of the decision of the university board to bring in moreethnic minority employees. The university is the largest employerin the province, but just one percent of its staff are ethnicminorities, which is far from the legal standard of five to sevenpercent.

Titles for sale

Interested in an easy way of getting a Bachelor's degree, MBA orPh.D.? Just pay one thousand dollars to Harrington University inthe United States. They supply academic titles to order within twoweeks, "based on the current knowledge and life experience of theapplicant", according to Harrington University's e-mailadvertisement. Between the lines it reads that the university isnot accredited, i.e. evaluated by independent qualitycontrollers.

Food research

Twenty million guilders is to be appropriated for research intosafe and healthy food. Recent incidents involving excessive dioxinlevels in chickens and BSE and social unrest about growth hormonesand genetically manipulated soya beans are the motivating factors.The NWO, a national research organization, is allocating elevenmillion guilders for the new research program; the Ministries ofEducation and Science, Agriculture and Health are adding acontribution of nine million guilders to the program.

Fly ash

Environmentally damaging fly ash released when coal is burnedcan be converted into zeolite, a highly effective purifier forwaste water polluted with heavy metals. Zeolite can also be used toremove ammonia from sewers. This double environmental advantage isdescribed in two theses by Guido Hollman and Arian Steenbruggen,who will be receiving doctorates this week based on this research.The two geochemists began their research in 1994. The question theyset out to answer was what to do with the 900,000 tons of fly ashreleased annually as a result of coal-burning at power stations.The researchers have developed a new procedure that provides ayield of seventy grams of pure zeolite from one kilogram of flyash.