International news briefs

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International news briefs

PNG students confront fee increase

The University of Papua New Guinea has charged 32 students with offences relating to protest actions held last October. The students were opposing plans to increase tuition fees by 25% and their two-week boycott of classes forced the closure of Waigani campus three weeks before the end of term three. Despite their efforts, the fee increase is to be imposed this year.

The protesters are likely to be fined $48 for minor offences relating to the protest actions, or expelled for "more serious offences". Meanwhile, the pro vice-chancellor for Academic Affairs has announced the university's intention to enforce a more severe disciplinary code, including having students arrested for committing "criminal acts".

West Papuan student killed

West Papuan high school student Paskalis Betayob was killed and at least two other people were injured during a protest in Merauke on February 16. Police fired rubber bullets to disperse a rally, which was held in response to the Indonesian government's offer of "autonomy", rather than independence, to West Papua.

Another 400 people protested at Mopah Airport after hearing that a local government official was going to Jakarta to sign the autonomy agreement.

Laws recently passed in Indonesia concerning regional autonomy include the condition that administrations not prepared to accept autonomy will be dissolved or merged. Indonesian government officials announced that these laws will be enacted on April 1.

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