World watch

September 28, 2001

A former Colombian culture minister, Consuelo Araujo, has been kidnapped by the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces leftist guerrilla group. Mrs Araujo, whose husband is the procurator-general of Colombia, was abducted on Monday returning from a religious celebration.

Kuala Lumpur
The Malaysian government has denied any links with terrorist groups following reports that individuals with international terrorist aims are among Malaysia's university academics and students. Malaysia is one of nine countries told by the United States to "hand over suspects or face the consequences".

Military police used rubber bullets to break up demonstrations by students who were attempting to occupy the education and finance ministries. The students want free higher education to be maintained as well as more grants and better contracts and salaries for university teaching and administrative staff.

Three higher education institutions were badly damaged in last week's explosion at a petrochemical plant in Toulouse, southwest France. About 35,000 students have been left with nowhere to study.

Rio de Janeiro
More than 30,000 applicants for places at Brazil's federal universities have had their entrance examinations cancelled as a result of an all-out strike for better pay by teaching staff. The strike has entered its third month.

A first draft of One Hundred Years of Solitude by the Colombian novelist and 1982 Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez remained unsold at auction in Spain after an unnamed US university, which had offered the starting price of $521,300 (£350,000), withdrew following the US government's call for reduced spending after the New York terrorist attacks. The work contains more than 1,000 corrections in the author's hand.


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