World watch

December 4, 1998

Panama

Student protests in Panama City greeted a cut in government funding for local universities from $120 million to $80 million a year after President Ernesto Perez Balladares likened them to social clubs where students went to find friends and have fun.

Kunming

An international conference on cooperation between universities and business, sponsored by the Association of Asian and Pacific Universities, has called for tighter links and greater industrialisation of scientific findings. The Kunming Declaration takes its name from the capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, where the conference was held.

Paris

A recovery plan for France's leading journalism school, the bankrupt Paris-based Centre de Formation et Perfectionnement des Journalistes, has been put forward to the courts by CFJ-Demain, a group that includes founding members, long-standing associates and ex-student representatives. The group has costed the centre's short-term needs at FFr10 million (Pounds 1 million), which it is trying to raise from the press, media and distribution companies, as well as former students.

The Paris court is expected to announce a decision in January. A previous plan to merge the centre with the Ecole Superieure de Journalisme de Lille fell through.

Messina

An official of Messina University, Sicily, which has a recent history of serious high-level scandals, has been arrested for allegedly registering exam passes in exchange for sexual services. The official, 52, has admitted registering the non-existent passes, but denied allegations of sexual favours. Three female students have been interviewed.

Bamako

The University of Bamako, capital of Mali, has been temporarily closed following demonstrations over the arrest of a student leader alleged to have held a loaded pistol to the head of the chief of the social science faculty and threatened to kill him unless he reversed a decision that he failed his finals.

He was later arrested by police and is to be charged for attempted murder. The student said he had notified the dean that he would be attending his father's funeral.

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