Briton hailed as hero in Italy for exposing university corruption

British-Italian Philip Laroma Jezzi, a tax lawyer based in Florence, Italy, is shown in this picture shared on Facebook.
Updated 26 September 2017
0

Briton hailed as hero in Italy for exposing university corruption

ROME: A British-Italian man was hailed as a hero on social media Tuesday after triggering a police investigation that has exposed extensive exam-rigging in Italian universities.
“Dear Philip, you are great. People like you should be cloned,” was just one of scores of messages posted on the Facebook page of Florence-based tax lawyer Philip Laroma Jezzi.
A hashtag that translates as #riggedexams was one of the top trending subjects on Twitter following reports that the English-born academic and lawyer had gone to police after being put under pressure to withdraw his application for a professorship to make way for a less qualified applicant.
That was during the 2012-13 academic year and a lengthy investigation culminated this week in the arrest of seven academics, the suspension of 22 others and a total of 59 under investigation for involvement in ensuring valuable qualifications went to the best-connected candidates rather than the best-qualified.
In one secretly-recorded conversation, Laroma Jezzi protests about the corruption only to be warned that he will risk his career if he protests.
“Stop doing things the English way and do them the Italian way,” he is told by one of the “baroni” (barons), as heads of university departments are known, according to transcripts published by daily La Repubblica.
Education Minister Valeria Fedeli said the government would bring forward proposals next month for an anti-nepotism code of conduct for higher education.


More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

Updated 24 April 2019
0

More than 60 dead in South Africa flooding after heavy rains

  • Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday
  • The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban

DURBAN: At least 60 people have been killed and more than 1,000 have fled their homes after heavy rains caused flooding and mudslides along South Africa’s eastern coast, authorities said on Wednesday.
Most of the deaths were in KwaZulu-Natal province. Flooding also killed at least three people in neighboring Eastern Cape province, state broadcaster SABC said.
The rains mainly hit areas around the port city of Durban. Multiple dwellings collapsed in mudslides, said Robert McKenzie, a KwaZulu-Natal Emergency Medical Services spokesman.
Rescue workers were digging through collapsed buildings on Wednesday.
Victor da Silva, a resident of the coastal town of Amanzimtoti, said his family managed to evacuate before the floods destroyed their home and cars.
“On Monday, the water was just crazy. And yesterday morning I got here, everything was fine, my garage was still here, the other part of the house was still here, and it just couldn’t stop raining,” Da Silva said. “And then an hour and a half later, everything poof (vanished) because the rain just hasn’t stopped.
Authorities in southern Tanzania ordered evacuations of residents from low-lying areas and the closure of schools and offices ahead of landfall of Tropical Cyclone Kenneth on neighboring Mozambique’s coast on Thursday.
“We’ve decided to evacuate all residents of valleys and other low-lying areas and we advise them to seek refuge at public spaces,” Mtwara regional commissioner Gelasius Byakanwa, told reporters.
Johan Fourie said he fled his home in Amanzimtoti, Kwazulu-Natal, just before part of it collapsed.
“I nearly lost my life, and my neighbor, I believe, is in hospital,” Fourie told eNCA television.
The region had been hit by heavy rains for days, but authorities did not foresee the extent of the downpour late on Monday, said Lennox Mabaso, a spokesman for the provincial Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs department.
“As a result, there was flooding and some structures were undermined and collapsed on people,” Mabaso said.
Some people were swept away by the water, he added.
President Cyril Ramaphosa visited affected communities in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday and was expected in the Eastern Cape in the next few days.
“This is partly what climate change is about, that it just hits when we least expect it,” he said.
Last week, 13 people were killed during an Easter service in KwaZulu-Natal when a church wall collapsed after days of heavy rains and strong winds.