World watch

March 30, 2001

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the director of Naples University's food science department for allegedly helping the Neapolitan Mafia with a bogus butter scam. Francesco Addeo allegedly advised the Camorra on how to manufacture the fake butter with petroleum products and pig fat. Then, investigators say, he certified its quality for a pay-off of €2,716 (£1,690) a month.

China has said that a US-based academic detained for nearly six weeks has "openly confessed" to the crime of endangering state security. Gao Zhan, a political science researcher at the American University in Washington DC, was detained on February 11 in Beijing.

Security troops stormed the University of Liberia in Monrovia last week and arrested students who were taking part in a rally to raise legal fees for four journalists detained on spying charges.

Kuala Lumpur

Education minister Tan Sri musa Mohamad wants to increase the number of students entering university to study religion. Only 1,500 of the 8,000 applicants last year obtained places. Pressure is mounting from those who believe the 1,000 or so places for Islamic studies in Malaysia's public universities are too few.

About 15,000 Norwegian students sought support from the state education grant and loan scheme last year for full-time studies abroad, twice as many as a decade ago.

Panama City
Professors at the University of Panama have complained that they are being persecuted for their political beliefs by arbitrary salary cuts and cancelled courses.

A group of retired female professors, who earn pensions of less than C$25,000 (£11,200) a year, have filed a class-action suit against the University of Toronto seeking back pay and higher pensions. The pre-1991 retirees, believed to number 88, were left out of an earlier C$2 million pay-equity settlement that forced Toronto to raise salaries of many of its female professors. Toronto's administration called the demands unreasonable.

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