International News In Brief

World Bank assists African ResearchersThe World Bank has launched a fellowship scheme for PhD researchers of African descent. The paid fellowships last a minimum of six months, with the programme focusing on development research and particularly encourages female candidates to apply, as women in Sub-Saharan Africa are heavily under-represented in third-level education.World Bank Vice President for Human Resources, Sean McGrath, stated that the programme represents an opportunity for African scholars to conduct research and build their careers. The program aims to build a pipeline of researchers and professionals working in development from the African diaspora.The World Bank hopes to train students who are interested in pursuing careers in development, at home and abroad, alongside students who want to pursue careers at the World Bank. Those selected for the programme will work at their Headquarters in Washington DC.They will conduct work in the generation and dissemination of knowledge; the design of both global and national policies and the building of institutions to foster economic growth in developing countries. The programme will also give special focus to development initiatives in fragile and conflict-affected countries. Reprieve for Iranian Student ActivistsThe Iranian Ministry for Science has offered a reprieve for students expelled from university due to political activism. The announcement, however, only benefits students who faced restrictions since 2011. All students barred before this will be required to retake national university examinations.This includes students who were punished for their involvement in the Green revolution of 2009, a series of mass protests against the theocratic government. Head of the Iranian Ministry for Science, Jafar Tofghi, is behind the measures and has promised that students will no longer be targeted by the Ministry for Science because of their political or personal beliefs.The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran (ICHRI) reports that hundreds of students have been barred from university since 2005. Many professors have also been removed from their positions because of their reformist ideology.President Hassan Rouhani, a candidate with reformist leanings whose victory this June surprised many observers, appears to be embarking on a path of policy reform. Australian cabinet composition under criticismNewly-elected Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbot, has dispensed with the Ministries for Science and Climate Change. It is the first time since 1931 that a cabinet portfolio responsible for Science has not existed in Australia.Abbot’s decision not to announce a minister for Climate Change has not surprised Australians due to his on the record claims that Climate Change is “crap.”He has, however, come under heavy criticism for the lack of female presence in his cabinet. One woman holds a minor cabinet position among the 19 available. This marks a change from the previous government, which was led by Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard.Opposition leader, Chris Bowen, has pointed out that more women in socially conservative Afghanistan hold a ministerial portfolio than in Australia. Government Senator, Sue Boyce, has described the cabinet composition as “embarrassing internationally.”Reactions from third-level lobby groups have been muted. They are waiting to see if election promises to not cut university funding will be maintained. Abbot has also dispensed with the ministries for Early Childhood, Energy, Disability, Mental Health, Youth and Status of Women.