Cheating students

ITV carries a story claiming thousands of university students have been caught cheating

Tens of thousands of university students have been caught cheating in the last three years fuelling fears of a “plagiarism epidemic”.

Figures obtained by The Times via a Freedom of Information request revealed nearly 50,000 students had been caught. Students from outside the EU four times more likely to cheat in exams and coursework essays, the analysis showed.

Out of 129 UK universities, 362 students were dismissed because of cheating – making up 1% of those found guilty of misconduct.

Eleven institutions each over 1,000 students cheating over the three-year period, with Kent University finding the most guilty at 1,947.

Five students were even caught arranging for someone else to sit their exams.

Non-EU students made up 35% of all cases but accounted for just 12% of the student population, requests from 70 universities showed.

The Times also has the story.

Almost 50,000 students at British universities have been caught cheating in the past three years amid fears of a plagiarism “epidemic” fuelled disproportionately by foreign students, The Times can reveal.

Students from outside the EU were more than four times as likely to cheat in exams and coursework, according to an investigation into academic misconduct based on more than 100 freedom of information requests.

Fight against ISIS

The Times claims a new SAS battalion will train foreign troops to fight Isis.

The army is developing a new tier of “specialised forces” designed to train local troops in danger zones such as Iraq and Syria, The Times has learnt.

The specialised infantry battalions will also help to single out soldiers with the potential to join Britain’s tier-one special forces.

This could boost recruitment to the Special Air Service at a time when elite military personnel are in increasingly high demand. It may also provide more candidates for the Special Boat Service, although they typically come from the Royal Marines.

British values

The Mail reports the Prime Minister’s call for the country to be loyal to British values.

David Cameron yesterday pledged to end the appeasement of Islamist extremism, and demanded that everyone in Britain show ‘loyalty’ to this country and its values.

In a stark warning, he said 2016 will be a ‘test of our mettle’ in the battle against radicals with a ‘seething hatred’ of this country and the West.

Issuing an uncompromising New Year message, the Prime Minister said anyone who walks the streets of Britain must subscribe to its values, including freedom and tolerance.

The UK and its people should ‘revel’ in their way of life, he said, as he promised to ‘come down hard’ on radicals.

Mr Cameron’s words reflect his determination to confront what he calls the ‘poisonous ideology’ that has turned young Muslims against their country.

There is huge concern in government, the police and the security services about the radicalisation of young Britons online by Islamic State militants.

At least 700 Britons are thought to have travelled to fight for IS in Syria and Iraq, and around half have returned home.

2016

The Independent lists five events that could change the shape of British politics in 2016.

The EU referendum, US presidential race, May’s elections across the UK and key decisions on Trident David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn will both face challenges in party management in 2016 PA

The year of 2015 will go down as one of the most unpredictable in UK politics after David Cameron’s surprise election triumph, Jeremy Corbyn’s astonishing rise to power as Labour leader, the Lib Dem collapse and the SNP landslide in Scotland.

But could 2016 prove to be more consequential, albeit more predictable?

Here are the key events that will shape UK politics in 2016:
1   EU referendum
2   May elections
3   MPs vote on Trident
4   US election
5   Heathrow decision

EU referendum

The Independent reports on a campaign to encourage disaffected Britons to vote.

A non-partisan drive to encourage millions of disaffected voters to take part in the European Union membership referendum is being launched on 1 January, with the focus on young adults, ethnic minorities and unskilled workers.

The “third campaign”, inspired by the huge participation in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, is being backed by prominent figures in the opposing camps in the EU debate.

It is aimed at achieving the highest possible turnout for the referendum by involving all groups in the arguments for and against “Brexit”.

David Cameron is expected to hold the first vote on Britain’s EU membership for more than 40 years in June or July. But there are fears that large sections of the electorate – as well as people who have dropped off the electoral register – will not participate in a crucial decision on Britain’s future.

The think-tank British Future, which is spearheading the move, is calling for the “third campaign” to be allocated free broadcasting time ahead of the referendum, specifically targeting groups considered less likely to take part. They include young adults, unskilled workers, rural voters, ethnic minorities and non-graduate women.

It will also seek to attract free publicity from advertising chiefs and to forge links with employers, schools and colleges, charities and the media on ways of boosting turnout while remaining neutral on the referendum question.

The Guardian claims that referendum opinion polls cannot be relied upon.

One event is set to loom above all others in this new political year: the EU referendum. It is an opportunity for pollsters to redeem themselves after their failure to predict the result of 2015’s UK general election but, as things stand, they are giving very mixed signals.

Of the 21 most recent polls, 13 show the “remain” camp ahead, four suggest the “leave” camp has it, and another four point to a tie. Averaging across all these surveys, the lead for remaining in the EU is four percentage points, which is a real advantage, but a sufficiently small gap to leave a lot to play for.

Alarmingly for the polling industry, however, the result substantially depends on the method used. Nineteen of the 21 polls were done online, and among these the average advantage for remain shrivels to a dangerously slim two points. But the two telephone surveys that have been undertaken point to far bigger pro-EU leads of 17 and 21 points.

In the general election, the average error on the final telephone polls was only a fraction of a percentage point smaller than with online, so the two methods looked similarly flawed. But if the huge differences between online and telephone surveys persist, one method or the other can expect to face a bruising referendum, because they cannot both be right.

Boozy Parliament

The Independent accuses Speaker John Bercow of covering up staff drinking problems in Parliament.

John Bercow has been accused of covering up the scale of alcohol problems in the Houses of Parliament.

The House of Commons Speaker used a controversial loophole in the Freedom of Information Act to withhold information believed to raise concerns about the extent of drinking problems in Westminster’s subsidised bars.

It means MPs, staff and other passholders can enjoy a pint of beer for as little as £2.90.

The extent of Westminster’s drinking problem has been highlighted by a number of high profile incidents over the last few years.

Former Labour MP Eric Joyce was convicted of assaulting a fellow politician during a brawl in the MPs’ bar in 2012, while former MP Mark Reckless apologised for missing a vote on the Budget in 2010 because he was too drunk.

Another Sangatte

The Express reports on French plans to build a mega-camp for refugees.

BRITAIN could face another wave of illegal migrants after France announced plans to build a second migrant camp on its northern coast.

The new centre will be built close to the existing unofficial camp at Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk.

The facility, which will cost the French taxpayer £1.1million, will be close to the notorious Sangatte camp, which closed in 2002, and will be 50 miles from Britain.

The current Grande-Synthe site houses 2,500 migrants and refugees, mostly Iraqi Kurds.

It is believed the majority of them wish to move to Britain – contrary to international asylum law which says they must remain in the first safe country they arrive in.

The muddy campsite is close to the Jungle camp at Calais, which is home to 5,000 people.

And it is feared people smugglers are calling the shots at the site.

As a result, the French authorities are being urged to take control of the location and allow aid agencies to run it.

Grande-Synthe has expanded dramatically since security near ferry terminals and the Channel Tunnel were tightened in response to the refugee crisis in the summer.

And Breitbart carries the same story. 

France is to construct a massive new migrant camp on its northern coast, presenting the UK with major new threat to its border security.

The camp, which will be France’s first official migrant camp for 13 years, will join the several unofficial migrant sites that have sprung up over the past year as thousands try to cross the Channel to Britain.

It will likely be constructed near an existing shanty town at Grande-Synthe that already houses some 2,500 migrants in squalid, rat-infested tents.

The Telegraph reports that the £1.1 million new camp will likely be many times bigger and act as an official point for migrants spread out across northern France to congregate. Authorities hope it will help defeat people smugglers who have taken control of other sites.

One camp at nearby Téteghem was forcibly dismantled after it was taken over by people smugglers, many of whom owned cars with British registrations and held UK passports.

The new camp will be greeted with great concern in Britain, however, since the last official migrant camp – Sangatte – was shut down in 2002 after descending into chaos.

At the time of its creation, the Sangatte camp was hailed as an example of Britain and France working together to solve a migration crisis, but it soon became overcrowded and witnessed riots in 2001 and 2002.

There are fears the new camp may suffer the same fate as the number of migrants trying to reach the UK shows no sign of abating.

Tory leadership

The Daily Star claims London Mayor Boris Johnson is favourite to lead Tories after David Cameron.

A YouGov survey found that Mr Johnson is seen by voters as the best candidate to take over from PM David Cameron.

And Chancellor George Osborne is not even in second place – being beaten in the poll by Home Secretary Theresa May.

According to the figures, a quarter of British adults back Mr Johnson, who will stand down as Mayor of London this year, to be top Tory, with 15% opting for Mrs May and only 13% getting behind Mr Osborne.

Languishing in fourth place on just 5% was Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The Chancellor does much better among Conservative voters, with 31% choosing Boris and 29% opting for Mr Osborne.

Mrs May came third on 21%. Mr Cameron has already stated that he intends to stand down before the 2020 General Election.

The candidates who throw their hats in the ring will be whittled down to the two most popular with Tory MPs before a final vote by Conservative Party members nationwide.

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