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
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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.


Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

Updated 30 min 45 sec ago
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Pakistan reimposes ban on charities linked to militant leader

  • The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India
  • The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has re-instated a ban on two charities linked to the founder of a militant group that has carried out attacks in India, the interior ministry said on Friday.
The ban comes as Pakistan faces international pressure to act against militant groups, amid escalating tension with its nuclear-armed neighbor, India, following a suicide bomb attack on Indian police in the disputed region of Kashmir.
The attack, in which 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed, was claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militant group.
The two banned charities are linked to founder of another prominent extremist group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).
Pakistan’s National Security Committee, made up of top military and civilian officials, decided late on Thursday to ban the charities liked to LeT founder Hafiz Saeed, who has long been on a UN international terrorism blacklist.
The United States and India have blamed the LeT for numerous deadly militant attacks, including a four-day siege by gunmen in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.
The United States has offered $10 million for information leading to Saeed’s his arrest and conviction.
“It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organizations,” Pakistan’s interior ministry said in a statement.
Saeed, who denies being the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks and says he has no links to militant violence, has maintained that the two charities — the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation (FIF) — are vital for helping the poor and have militant ties.
JuD spokesman Yahya Mujahid said the two groups would turn to the courts to overturn the latest ban.
Saeed has been placed under house arrest several times over the past decade but he has always been released after a few months and has mostly been living freely in Pakistan, to the anger of both India and the United States.
Pakistan has long banned the LeT but for many years allowed its charity wings to operate an extensive network including 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance services.
The United States has repeatedly complained about Pakistan’s failure to shut down the charities it deems “terrorist fronts” for LeT.
Pakistan last year banned the two charities but the order was temporary and it lapsed.
India has ratcheted up pressure on Pakistan since the Feb. 14 attack in Indian-administered Kashmir.
India accused Pakistan of having a hand in the attack. Pakistan denies that.
Pakistan has also been placed on an international watchlist for failing to curb terrorist financing.