News in brief

December 14, 2001

At a mass at St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope John Paul II told 10,000 students from 20 European countries that Europe needed "a new intellectual vitality" based on the "courage of free and creative thought" and that they should "work towards a university worthy of man" and "not submit to the illusions of a progress that does not conform to the divine plan".

Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has warned of internal conflict if hardliners continue to stifle student dissent.

Addis Ababa
The trial of two Ethiopian human rights activists has been adjourned until April 2002. This has fuelled fears that the authorities are deliberately delaying hearings into allegations that the two instigated April's riots at the University of Addis Ababa. The activists, geography professor Mesfin Wolde-Mariam, chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Council, and Berhanu Nega, director of the Ethiopian Economic Policy Research Institute, have been released on bail.

A student was critically injured and 12 others wounded when police opened fire on a demonstration by some 500 university students protesting at a rise in tuition fees in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police have charged two men in a two-year student loan scandal investigation. Mohamed Sulaiman and Mounir Dallo are alleged to have assumed 67 identities in a seven-year scheme that used fake tax returns to obtain loans from three provincial governments.

The rectors of the universities of Belgrade and Sarajevo met this week for the first time since the beginning of the Balkan conflict at the Italian office of the European Parliament. Marija Bogdanovic of Belgrade and Boris Tihi of Sarajevo met within the South East Europe University Cooperation Programme.

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