World watch

December 21, 2000

Rome
Hundreds of Italian university students held a noisy demonstration outside St Peter's Basilica in Rome during rightwing Austrian politician Jorg Haider's audience with the pope to demand that Mr Haider's gift of a giant Austrian Christmas tree should be replaced with a smaller, "anti-Nazi" one.

Washington DC
United States attorney general Janet Reno has ordered the release of a former University of South Florida adjunct professor, who has been held in jail without trial since May 1997 as a suspected terrorist.

Mazen Al-Najjar was affiliated to the World and Islam Studies Enterprise, a university-linked think-tank, and worked with Ramadan Abdullah Shallah, who left Tampa in 1995 to become head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

A number of courts have rejected the secret evidence that the government used to justify his continued detention.

Lusaka
Zambia is to set up a private university to increase the number of graduates in the fields of engineering and applied sciences, Abel Chambeshi, the country's science minister, announced.

Santiago
Chilean education minister Mariana Aylwin has announced plans to develop an accreditation scheme for higher education institutes, designed to help prospective students choose suitable universities and courses.

Sucre
A Bolivian constitutional court has ordered the immediate release from prison and full reinstatement of Jaime Robles, rector of the Universidad San Francisco Xavier. Professor Robles has been accused of mishandling a donation from the United States.

The university has asked Professor Robles to provide a written account of his dealings with the US before he can resume his position as rector.

Kampala
Makerere University students who are unwilling to return home to the district of Uganda that has been hit by the Ebola epidemic are being charged £1.20 a day to remain in their university accommodation over the Christmas break, the Kampala Monitor reports.

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