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The Northern Lights Thrill Britain

Parts of Scotland and Northern England have enjoyed stunning displays of the Northern Lights over the last few nights. Unusually strong solar storms have caused the aurora borealis to be seen far further south than normal, allowing people to enjoy their best appearance in more than a decade.

Although the Northern Lights are most usually associated with the Arctic Circle, they can be seen fairly regularly in northern parts of Scotland. However, it is very rare that they ever reach as far south as England, and locals are taking full advantage of the beautiful sight. For the last two nights English counties as far south as Yorkshire have been enraptured by the lights, and can expect one final hurrah tonight. Indeed, Robin Scagell from the Society for Popular Astronomy, said:

"It looks like we could be treated to another cosmic light show and so it is well worth watching the northern part of the heavens."

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Are International Students Still Welcomed to Britain?

Over the last six months there have been several incidents that from the outside could suggest international students are no longer welcome in the UK. First there was the Malaysian student Ashraf Haziq who was the victim of one of the most shocking videos to come out of the London riots (pictured above).

More recently there was the tragic murder of Indian student Anuj Bivde in Manchester on Boxing Day. Similarly, though clearly on a lesser scale, there was the symptomatic story that came out of Plymouth last week of shop keepers banning foreign students from entering in groups.

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Is England “International Student-ist”?

There has not been much good news for international students recently. Everything from the implementation of stricter visa requirements, to the recent events in the news, has shocked many students, leading them to question is 'England international student-ist'? 

To start with the worst, a twenty-three-year-old Indian boy Anuj Bidve was fatally shot on December 26th during a night in Salford. It is believed that the shooting was unprovoked and racially motivated. Is England racist? Equally, in today's England, a ban WAS going to be issued on international students in Plymouth preventing them from using shops in the town centre. This plan came from a belief that international students were the cause of unruly behaviour in the area and an increase in shoplifting. Back to the days of segregation? Here? Today in 2012's England?

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Most Watched YouTube Videos of 2011

YouTube has revealed that the most watched videos of 2011 include a cartoon cat, a royal wedding spoof and a Charlie Sheen remix. However, the crown for the number 1 most viewed video in the UK this year has gone to 'Ultimate Dog Tease'- a comedy clip of a dog pretending to talk. 

The video site unveiled the top videos of the year both globally and in the UK, with the UK versions claiming a combined total of over 300 million views, and the gobal ones boasting an incredible 650 million. 

Whilst Rebecca Black with her infamously bad 'Friday' song only made 8th place in UK views, she topped the world chart with a staggering 180 million views worldwide. The winning UK entry shows a dog moving its mouth whilst its owner teases him with food and talks over the top.

Have a look at the UK top ten below to find your favourite.

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The Changing Future for International Students in the UK

The landscape of the UK higher education system has gone through a huge process of change over the past year and the effects this change will bring are still largely unknown. One group of students who face increasing uncertainty over their position in the system are foreign students. With international student visas becoming harder to obtain and EU students facing the same increased fees as UK students, many feel that overseas students are being marginalised.

A recent study (Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education) showed that international student numbers have increased hugely in the last decade, but as the new rules are introduced, the real question is whether this trend can continue.

Increased Tuition Fees

There are a number of issues to be considered when addressing this question. First of all, there is the fact that EU students, just like British students, are facing the new £9,000 a year tuition fees from 2012 onwards. This sudden tripling of the fees will inevitably make European students think twice about coming to study in the UK, especially when there is already more expense and effort involved to study outside of their own country.

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