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Britain pays to keep students in school

LONDON - The British government plans to pay families up to £40 ($60) a week to keep their children in school beyond the age of 16, the treasury chief, Chancellor Gordon Brown, said in an interview with The Times last week. For now, the plan is operating in 56 pilot areas, with families paid on a sliding scale from £5 to £40 a week, depending on their income. In those areas, an average 5 percent more children stay on at school beyond 16 than in comparable areas, the newspaper reported.

BU's space program gets a boost

BOSTON - NASA has awarded Boston University's Center for Space Physics an $89 million grant, the largest research grant in school history. The center, which typically has an annual budget of $6 million, will use the money to build a satellite that will map the strands in an invisible, universe-spanning "cosmic web" of hot gas.

It's exam time in China...

BEIJING - More than 5 million Chinese high school students began college-entrance examinations Sunday. About 2.75 million are expected to enroll in university next fall – the biggest class ever of new college students. For the first time, the entrance exams are open to all Chinese with a high school diploma. The high enrollment comes as China's education reform efforts deepen – and the burden for higher education is increasingly shifted from the government to the students and their families.

... and in Palestine (when curfew allows)

RAMALLAH, WEST BANK - Some Palestinian high school students also took university entrance exams last weekend, after two weeks of postponements because of curfews and road blocks. In Bethlehem and Nablus, students with a backlog of five exams are still waiting for the curfew to lift. Adala Hasan, principal of a girls' school, said that in her 30 years in the profession, she has never experienced such difficulties. But she was triumphant on Saturday: "I'm happy we were able to hold these exams, and prove we could meet the challenge."

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