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In the papers today: 08.01.08

Richard Branson’s Virgin Earth Prize is offering $25 million (£12 million) for a commercially viable idea that can reverse global warming.

The Guardian and the Telegraph report on one such proposal: energy islands which use the natural resources of the oceans in habitable oil-rig like installations to generate energy. Dominic and Alex Michaelis – an engineer father and architect son team – with Trevor Cooper-Chadwick of Southampton University, estimate that the each energy island could produce 250MW of electricity. Four linked together, they say, could match the output of a typical nuclear power plant, at approximately twice the cost. Gordon Brown should take heed as he announces the roll-out of nuclear power as the answer to Britain’s energy security.

Tom Dyckhoff’s profile of newly appointed chairman of the Design Council Sir Michael Bichard in The Times asks how the organisation can promote design within industry. Will Bichard bring the Design Council back to its core clientele of the ‘creative industries’ or keep business and public services at the centre of its activities? The Design Council could face a tough challenge in clarifying its mission.

Not so for the academies programme, says Lord Adonis in The Times , with a roundup of the current status of the secondary school programme which references to similar initiatives abroad. In the UK there are currently 83 academies open, with another 50 a year due from September to form an eventual total of 400. More incentives to qualified teachers, he says, are as desperately needed as the new facilities.

Meanwhile, the London Evening Standard says London’s 02 Arena may house a high-tech rock and roll hall of fame, featuring holograms of rock stars such as Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, who recently performed at the venue.

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