World watch

February 2, 2001

Washington
United States education secretary Roderick Paige confirmed plans by the new Bush administration to increase the maximum Pell grant for first-year students by more than 50 per cent to $5,100 and to award an extra $1,000 for Pell grant holders who took advanced maths and science courses in high school.

Camberra
Australian prime minister John Howard has announced A$3 billion (£1.1 billion) over the next five years to increase higher education enrolments, raise research output, build new-economy industries and develop online courses for school students. A A$1 billion loans scheme for postgraduate students and 21,000 new undergraduate places, with priority for those taking science, information technology and telecommunications, are central to the package.

Rome
Italy has earmarked E26.5 million (£16.7 million) to lure back scientists who have gone abroad. Italy hopes to target about 200 people, mostly engineers and physicists working mainly in the United States and Britain, who will be offered attractive contracts to return.

Ashkhabad
Mered Orazov, former rector of the Turkmen State University, has been named ambassador to the United States by president Saparmyrat Niyazov, just ten days after he dismissed Mr Orazov from his post on the grounds of "poor performance".

Jakarta
Indonesian police fired teargas and warning shots at 10,000 student demonstrators who stormed the gates of the parliament in Jakarta demanding the resignation of president Abdurraham Wahid over alleged corruption.

Tehran
Iranian students have set up an interactive website to drum up support for a protest against the detention of political prisoners. The Amir Kabir University site will allow the public to demonstrate their support via email and a chat room.
Details: http:///clubs.yahoo.com/ clubs/akunews

Cochabamba
Seven Bolivian law students who were suspended from the Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Cochabamba have embarked on a hunger strike in a bid to be re-admitted. The hunger strikers are among 133 students who are alleged to have paid $200-500 to a dean to secure admission without taking courses and examinations. The rector has insisted on the expulsion of all 133 and the prosecution of the dean.

New York
Former United States vice-president Al Gore is to teach journalism to graduate students at New York's Columbia University as a visiting professor for at least two terms, running up to eight seminars from next month.

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