European student Olympics
Four thousand students from hundreds of universities are in Coimbra, Portugal for one of the continent’s biggest sporting festivals. The European Universities Games began on the day of the World Cup Final and will last until July 28.
It is the fourth edition of the competition, which is held every two years and consists of 13 sports, including basketball, badminton and judo. Contestants hail from 38 different countries and they will also attend workshops on doping and how sport can be used to make universities a more inclusive place for all students.
The slogan this year is “A Winner’s Heartbeat”. Disabled athletes are participating and the event is held by the European University Sports Association (EUSA) – based in Slovenia.
Portuguese president Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa will attend, alongside minister for youth and sport – João Paulo Rebelo. The next games will be held in Belgrade in 2020. Athletes who wish to take part must be a student (or have just graduated) at an EUSA university and be aged 17-28.
Appeal for exam justice
A new campaign to clear the names of tens of thousands of international students accused of cheating in their English exams has been launched. Migrant Voice is an NGO on a mission to help the students – mostly from Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh – win an apology from the UK Home Office and be able to return to Britain again.
In 2015 more than 40,000 foreign students were kicked out of the country after the testing company behind the English language exams they faced to access their courses claimed they had cheated.
It was subsequently revealed that – although some cheating had occurred – not every student who sat the exams over the three year period were responsible. Migrant Voice and several MPs argue that the decision to issue a blanket punishment to all the students was illegal.
Launching the latest campaign for justice, Nazek Ramadan, director of Migrant Voice, said the original decision was “another toxic effect of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy towards migrants.”
“The handling of the issue contradicts basic principles of British life, including the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and the imposition of collective punishment.”
Since 2015 many of the students have reported financial disaster after paying small fortunes in university fees, being forcibly deported, and being made homeless after losing their jobs.
Students killed in protests
At least two student were killed and dozens others injured as Nicaraguan police and paramilitary forces besieged a church where hundreds of protestors had gathered. The latest violence comes after hundreds of people have been killed during a spate of anti-government protests against president Daniel Ortega.
Students, journalists and religious figures are leading the growing opposition movement to the former Sandinista rebel who led Nicaragua from 1979-1990 and returned to office in 2007. Student activists describe Ortega’s government as a regime and claim he is behind a wave of oppression against his political opposition.
Details of what happened over the weekend remain sketchy. Around 150 students barricaded themselves inside a church near the capital Managua’s biggest university. The church became the site of three student protest camps scattered around the country until it was raided – allegedly by a combination of police and paramilitaries.
One confirmed fatality is believed to be a 20-year-old student named Gerard who studied engineering. The government has blamed student activists for the upsurge in recent violence and say the protests are not spontaneous but coordinated by Ortega’s political opponents.