World in brief - 20 November 2014

November 20, 2014

Source: Alamy

United States
Overseas student numbers on the rise

The number of international students starting courses at US universities has increased by 7.5 per cent in the space of a year. Some 0,128 overseas learners began programmes at US institutions during 2013-14, compared with 250,920 the previous year, according to the latest Open Doors report from the New York-based Institute of International Education. Significantly, the number of Indian students across all year groups in the US increased by 6.1 per cent, reversing a three-year trend of decline.

It’s good to talk: scientists told to open up

Polish scientists have been urged to reach out to the media to popularise their disciplines and explain their “importance in solving everyday problems”. Lena Kolarska-Bobinska, the minister of science and higher education, said that although scientists are now required to share their results, “I think we need to go one step further: not only require them to publish, but also to disseminate, reward them for talking to journalists and publishing articles in the press.” Her ministry would provide financial support for this type of activity and launch a pilot programme on the popularisation of science within universities.

Tasters in tribal dialects

Four Indian universities are to offer short courses in native dialects. The University of Delhi, the University of Mumbai, SNDT Women’s University in Maharashtra and Manipal University in Karnataka will offer certificates in dialects of the Tripura and Naga tribes, from northeast India. P. B. Acharya, governor of Nagaland, said: “I am pursuing other Indian universities to start courses on NE tribal dialects as soon as possible to ensure a holistic growth of our country and strengthen the mosaic of national integration.”

Funding ban for five researchers

A Brazilian research funder has released details of five cases of scientific fraud. FAPESP, the São Paulo research foundation, published the findings of its investigations into the incidents, including allegations of data fabrication, rigging images, false authorship and plagiarism, on 7 November. The cases involve four researchers from two universities and one from a government research centre. The researchers have been banned from applying for further FAPESP funding for varying periods of time.

Student carrying copy of George Orwell novel detained

An undergraduate was arrested in Egypt for possessing a copy of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, according to reports. Al-Masry Al-Youm, a broadsheet newspaper, said the 21-year-old had been detained outside Cairo University with the book and a notebook that contained references to an Islamic caliphate. Police cast doubt on the claim that possession of the book was the issue, stating that they were unaware of its literary significance and that it had merely been included in a list of the student’s belongings. But Mokhtar Mounir, a lawyer at Egypt’s Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, said he was concerned that the novel would be “used as evidence” against the detainee.

Parties urged to deliver workable proposals

Mainstream parties in Australia must present “viable” alternatives to the government’s reform proposals if the university funding “crisis” is to be addressed. The warning is made in the elite Group of Eight mission group’s latest newsletter. It says that the Labor and Green parties’ implacable opposition to the government’s plans, which include lifting the cap on tuition fees, places a “disproportionate burden” on the handful of crossbenchers who hold the balance of power in the Senate, but who are mostly “new to the complexities of…higher education policy”.

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