20 years ago

February 28, 2008

Evangelist Oral Roberts, who runs his own university in Tulsa, Oklahoma, climbed a campus tower last year and announced to millions of television viewers that God would "call him home" if they did not give him $8 million. Mr Roberts prayed and fasted, cheques were written and the Almighty relented - his project to pay the tuition fees of overseas-bound medical missionaries was fully funded. Now, with considerably less fanfare, the university has announced that the students will have to fund their own tuition. What has happened to the $8 million? The university won't say, but Mr Roberts is reported to be staying away from high places just in case God, too, changes his mind.

A novel way of dealing with the blight that afflicts all conferences, namely speakers who drone on too long. Organisers of the Atlantic Canada Studies Conference, which will be held at the University of Edinburgh in the spring, have warned that a bagpiper will be stationed in each session, with the order to skirl out any speaker who exceeds the 30-minute limit. Ged Martin of Edinburgh's Centre of Canadian Studies said: "We have decided to apply the principle of fighting fire with fire to windbags."

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