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Iraq's universities last week elected interim leaders, taking a first step towards returning to normality after the looting that destroyed much of their buildings and equipment.

Rebuilding the country's science, technology and academic base — already weakened by years of economic sanctions — will be a huge task. Nevertheless, with sanctions against Iraq now lifted and oil revenue available to pay for reconstruction, these insitutions could — in theory — be rebuilt.

But officials do not appear to have received any substantial offer of help, and US reconstruction efforts seem to be focusing on primary and secondary schools rather than universities.

Link to Nature news story

Reference: Nature 423, 468 (2003)

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