Christ Church says it’s fees-able

first_imgChrist Church JCR held an Emergency General Meeting last Sunday and passed a motion mandating its officers to support the Government’s proposals to raise tuition fees.The finalised motion, proposed by Christ Church OUSU representative Sébastien Fivaz, expressed the JCR’s belief that except for the “extensive cuts”, the Government’s proposals provide a “sustainable future” for higher education.Second year student Adrian Hogan said the Emergency Meeting took place because “our OUSU rep thought that it was important for our JCR to have a position.”Fivaz, who is running for NUS delegate in this year’s OUSU elections, proposed that the Christ Church JCR defined its position “because OUSU assume ours currently.”He continued, “Our views are slightly more nuanced than OUSU’s. We need to take a stance.”Passed by 21 votes to 14, the motion followed a debate, where some students argued that the JCR should not take a position on such a contentious issue.One student, James Ingoldby said, “The JCR should not play the role of government.”It has also been suggested that a JCR position voted on by less than 10 per cent of undergraduates at Christ Church is inconclusive.Stuart Cullen, former Union President, felt that “the JCR is very divided on the matter.”He said, “Surely it is unfair to give the JCR representative a mandate to take a specific position on [tuition fees] when this does not reflect the JCR’s views.”However JCR President Mike Barrett argued that “just because we cannot get a unanimous decision does not mean that this motion should be rejected…these are the processes in place to make the students’ voices heard.”The motion’s suggestion to support an increase in tuition fees was met with opposition from many of those present.One student, Thomas Peter Hire, argued that higher fees would mean that “Oxford and Cambridge will charge more than elsewhere, which will surely impact on who applies there. “If universities can charge such high figures then students from poorer backgrounds would be discouraged from coming to Oxbridge. “Oxbridge would become more of a ghetto for people with money than it already is.”The JCR’s decision also risks putting Christ Church at odds with OUSU, who have expressed their opposition to the Browne Review. OUSU have labelled the Browne Review a “blueprint for elitism” and President David Barclay called the decision to raise fees “a slap in the face to students from disadvantaged backgrounds.”However OUSU has not commented on the Government’s proposals to raise fees as distinct from those outlined in the Browne Review, leading a Christ Church JCR committee member to point out that “the two policies are entirely reconcilable.”Fivaz agreed, “The government have come to a good compromise [on fees] with soft and hard caps of £6000 and £9000.”The final motion stated that the JCR believes “that a sustainable future for higher education funding is provided for by the proposals made by Her Majesty’s Government except the extensive cuts to higher education teaching proposed in the Spending Review 2010.”last_img read more

OUSU backs criticism of higher education reform

first_imgIn the green paper ‘The Teaching Excellence Framework: Assessing quality in Higher Education’, published in February 2016, government advisors asked universities to engage in ‘speedy establishment of potentially viable metrics relating to learning gain’.In its official response to the paper, Oxford University expressed concern about the division that TEF may place between teaching and research.In a statement to Cherwell, OUSU commented, “We don’t believe that the TEF will have a positive impact on Oxford University, or on UK Higher Education as a whole. In its currently proposed form, the TEF is a broad-brush exercise that doesn’t account for differences in teaching across the sector, and given that undergraduate study at Oxford is based on the tutorial system and differs considerably from other institutions, we do not think that the TEF will account for this adequately.“According to modelling conducted by the Times Higher Education based on the proposed metrics, Oxford ranked 4th on raw data, and 28th once benchmarking had taken place. This would put us in the Outstanding category, which means the University will be able to raise fees by the level of inflation. This has disastrous implications for access. Debt aversion is a known deterrent to prospective students; if the University is able to raise fees year on year, an Oxford education will become less and less accessible to many students from less advantaged backgrounds, making our community less diverse and impeding our ability to attract the best students regardless of background.“The metrics that are currently being proposed are the results of the NSS and DLHE surveys. We believe that neither student satisfaction rankings nor employment and salary data of leavers six months after graduation are reliable or robust indicators of the quality of teaching in an institution. DLHE data in particular has been shown to reflect the background and demographics of the student population more than the quality of the education they received. Attempting to shoehorn teaching excellence into a narrow definition based on these criteria is not only reductive, it is also damaging to UK Higher Education as a whole.“As general principles, we welcome increased transparency and accountability of academic provision within HE – it is important to make sure that universities are providing excellent quality teaching to their students. However, there are ulterior motives at play in the reforms heralded by the government’s White Paper and HE Bill. There is an underlying assumption to the TEF, demonstrated by the link to fee increases, that a better education should cost more. This will result in a differentiated fee system across HE, creating a hierarchy within the sector that will lead prospective students to choose where to study based on cost, rather than quality.“We are fully committed to an Oxford that is as accessible and inclusive as possible. We oppose the TEF because we believe that it will have a catastrophic effect on access. Raising fees in the way proposed through TEF puts the burden on the student, rather than the government, to cover the costs of a university education. Oxford is already an expensive place to live and study; if fees consistently increase at the rate of inflation, an Oxford degree will become exponentially more unaffordable for many prospective students.” Representatives from student unions across the UK, including the Oxford University Students’ Union (OUSU),  have written an open letter to the vice-chancellors of British universities asking them to oppose the government’s proposed Teaching Excellence Framework. The letter, published in the Guardian on Wednesday, criticises the ‘questionable metrics’ that TEF will be based on and the divisions that it will cause between higher education providers.TEF was first proposed in a government green paper in November 2015. Although a final proposal has not been released, it has already been described as a radical shake-up of the British higher education system. It aims to make comparison between higher education providers easier for prospective students, but has also been linked to an increase in the number of institutions able to award degrees and the increase of tuition fees at top universities.The letter criticising TEF was signed by OUSU president Jack Hampton as well as five of the organisation’s vice-presidents. They appeared on the list of signatories along with representatives from 49 other university student unions, including the Cambridge University Students’ Union, the University College London Students’ Union and the University of Bristol Students’ Union. The controversial president of the NUS, Malia Bouattia, signed the letter with twelve NUS vice-presidents and senior officers.TEF will group higher education providers into three bands based on their performance in three ‘metrics’. These metrics are student satisfaction, retention (the number of students who complete their courses at the institution within the prescribed timeframe) and graduate employment. All of these metrics have come under a degree of criticism from universities and student groups as likely to be effected by factors other than teaching quality. It has also been suggested that measuring retention rates may lead to universities making their courses easier whilst graduate employment rates may discourage universities from offering niche or highly academic degrees.In response to these criticisms, government advisors have proposed measuring these metrics qualitatively, via a team of experts, rather than quantitatively. Alternatively replacing the metrics with a measure of ‘value added’ or ‘learning gain’ has been discussed. If adopted, this may involve a test taken by students at the beginning of their course and repeated at the end, but there are currently no published details about how this would be implemented.last_img read more

Kevin Sibley – Winner of 2009 National Cupcake-off

first_imgKevin Sibley, founder of Mama’s Cupcakes and winner of the National Cupcake 2009 Cupcake-off 2009What do you do day-to-day?I’m a sole trader, heading my own business called Mamas Cupcakes. I started the business a little over a year ago after leaving work as a graphic designer to care for my mother who had cancer. Sadly, she died on New Year’s Eve 2008 and, in the following months, I gathered myself up and started to promote my business more. I designed a website www.mamas-cupcakes.co.uk so that I could sell cupcakes and fudge to order. My graphic design skills came into play here, as it did for all my labelling design too.I deliver the cakes myself within a 40-mile radius, as they are too delicate to courier! I also do farmers’ markets every weekend and my main sell there is homemade fudge. I take the cakes along, too, but that is mainly as a promotion, as I tend to cater for weddings, parties and celebrations. How did you get into baking?My mother taught me to bake from a very young age. I was making cakes from about the age of seven or eight. I’ve always had a passion for a good dessert and I love it that now I’m making cakes for a living, something that I really enjoy. It’s very creative so it satisfies that side of my nature too.Chart your career pathFor the past 12 years I have been a graphic designer and I still do a bit of freelance when time permits. The past 18 months has been concentrated on building Mamas Cupcakes. My long-term aim is to have a high-end tea/coffee house where my cupcakes will be my selling point. I’m looking at relocating, hopefully to Eastbourne. The key to a good café is to have good coffee and tea, both of which I have sourced; and if the cupcakes go down well too, hopefully I’ll be on to a winner!What was your training or education?In baking I am completely self-taught, with help from my mother, who was a great cook. She created many of her own recipes, which I have inherited. They’re very nostalgic recipes and I’m tempted to get them published one day – who knows?What have been your highlights since winning the cupcake-off?One function I catered for this year was the National Young Filmmakers’ Awards held in London. The boxed cakes were given as gifts to the awards presenters – celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Ben Miller, David Harewood and Ralph Little, among others. I’ve been interviewed on Gaydar radio, which was amusing, and for a couple of magazines. There has been more interest from customers and orders have certainly increased. It’s amazing what a title can do for you!last_img read more

EU takes more steps to ease sugar supplies

first_imgTwo measures to ensure the fluidity of the EU sugar market, proposed by the European Commission, have been voted on by Member States.These come in addition to the measures agreed earlier this year to cope with the “exceptional market circumstances”, with regards to world sugar prices, and will be formally adopted by the Commission in the next few weeks.The first measure is to open a further 200,000 tonne duty-free import quota for raw or refined sugar. The second would introduce the possibility for further imports at a reduced import duty, via a tendering system, which would start in July, with “regular adjudications” until the end of the marketing year in September.Peter Hough, business development director at Napier Brown said he doesn’t believe that a lot of the sugar from the opening of a duty-free tariff-rate quota (TRQ) of 300,000 tonnes in April, has hit the market yet, and said the firm was pleased to hear that another TRQ had been announced, as well as the tender system.”Napier Brown got some licences for additional sugar through the first TRQ and will apply for more when the next one opens in July. We have also increased the number of sources we have for sugars in and outside Europe.”Ben Eastick, director of Ragus, an independent importer and manufacturer of specialist sugar products, said the global sugar market had seen a weakening in price over the past three months, due to the earthquake in Japan and the continuing unrest in North Africa.”But prices have subsequently corrected again,” he said, adding that the current lack of rain in Europe is making the beet root longer. “The consequence of this will be an abundance of sucrose in the beet if it rains, or very little if it doesn’t rain.”In the main cane-producing countries, Brazil has seen severe rain in the past few weeks which has reduced production by 69%, he added. A surge in production due to a prolonged dry spell in Thailand has eased supply tightness, while India looks unlikely to meet production estimates in its two largest producing states.>>EU envisages possible easing of sugar supplylast_img read more

Press release: Car hire company director picks up seven-year ban for failing to keep records

first_img Companies are under a legal duty to account for their income and expenditure and fulfilling that duty is a key component of the role of a director. There is no place in the corporate arena for those who neglect their responsibilities in this area. All too often, the lack of records to explain transactions is used to cover up other, more serious misconduct and we cannot determine whether that was the case at Chauffeurline, a fact which is reflected in the lengthy ban now in place. Media Manager 0303 003 1743 Due to the lack of proper records, the Insolvency Service has been unable to sufficiently explain whether assets were disposed of at fair value and for the benefit of the company and its creditors.On the 26 September 2018, the Secretary of State obtained an order against Mr Pender for failing to deliver and maintain/preserve adequate accounting records.Rob Clarke, Chief Investigator Insolvent Investigations North, part of the Insolvency Service, commented: Mr Pender’s ban is effective from 18 October 2018 and lasts for a period of 7 years.Notes to editorsGraham Peter Hanson Pender is of Edinburgh and his date of birth is 1959.Chauffeurline (UK) Ltd (Company Reg. No. SC444545) was incorporated on the 8 March 2013.The order was pronounced by Sheriff Holligan in the Edinburgh Sheriff Court.Steven Chesney appeared for the Insolvency Service and no one appeared for or on behalf of the defendant.A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot: Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime, investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver to establish why they became insolvent. It may also use powers under the Companies Act 1985 to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies in the UK. In addition, the agency deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.Contact Press OfficeMedia enquiries for this press release – 020 7674 6910 or 020 7596 6187 Office currently closed during the coronavirus pandemic. Email [email protected] Graham Peter Hanson Pender was the managing director and major shareholder of Chauffeurline (UK) Limited. The company was incorporated on 8 March 2013 and had contracts with major airlines chauffeuring pilots to and from Edinburgh Airport and local hotels.An Insolvency Service investigation followed the administration.The Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard evidence that: You can also follow the Insolvency Service on: Mr Pender failed to ensure Chauffeurline (UK) Limited maintained and/or preserved adequate accounting records and failed to deliver these to the Administrators, as he is required to do Chauffeurline had arrears with HMRC in excess of £60,000 Mr Pender made out cheques, payable to himself, in the final year of trading totalling £116,896.89 and has failed to provide company accounting records that would explain these transactions company accounts for the year ended 31 May 2015 disclose fixed assets of £490,078. act as a director of a company take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership be a receiver of a company’s property Press Office This service is for journalists only. For any other queries, please contact the Insolvency Enquiry Line.For all media enquiries outside normal working hours, please contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Press Office on 020 7215 1000. Twitter LinkedIn YouTubelast_img read more

Watch Why Alice J. Lee Left Off-Broadway Hit Heathers

first_img Heathers: The Musical View Comments Related Shows Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 4, 2014 This Heather’s got a new candy store! Alice Lee, who recently departed the hit off-Broadway production of Heathers at New World Stages, has just competed on the new ABC series Rising Star. The singing competition show takes place live as viewers vote in real time during performances. In this clip, Lee chats with host Josh Groban about her musical theater journey, and then knocks Lady Gaga’s “You and I” out of the park. And even though judge Ludacris voted yes, he admitted some skepticism that obviously rubbed us the wrong way: “You brought a little too much of the Broadway and the musical theatre aspect here.” Come on, Ludacris. Theatricality (and a healthy vibrato) is what makes great singing. We wonder what Betty Buckley would have to say about that. Tune in to Rising Star to keep hearing Lee sing, and check out her awesome vocals on the Heathers cast recording!last_img read more

Bin Laden, One Year Later

first_img During the commemoration of the first anniversary of the death of the world’s most-wanted man, after a manhunt that lasted a decade and cost billions of dollars, brought to an end by the SEALs in Abbottabad, in Pakistan, some obscure points and uncertainties with regard to the future of international terrorism and the terrorist network that he led can now be seen more clearly. With the disclosure of part of the thousands of secret documents confiscated in his hiding place, the conclusion is that the once-powerful al-Qaida, capable of destabilizing international politics and shaking global economic markets, no longer exists, at least not in the form in which we came to know it through the mega-attacks that it sponsored in various parts of the world during the last decade. In these historical documents that have now entered the public domain, Osama bin Laden himself recognizes the fragility of the organization he created, with the need for decentralization and the increasing lack of trust in that organization by Muslims, due to the thousands of innocent victims who perished indiscriminately in its attacks, including Muslims. However, the most important discovery is certainly that, contrary to what many specialists believed, he was still active and posed an enormous risk to the Western democracies, since he was planning new mega-attacks, especially against U.S. targets. Today, al-Qaida is a fragmented and unstructured network, without the financial support it received previously, with several failed attempts and small-scale attacks, committed by “lone wolves” who sought publicity for the group for little more than the notoriety that also comes with it. In addition, due to the constant failures accumulated over the years, with a leadership lacking the same charisma and some of its old and experienced collaborators imprisoned or dead, it becomes difficult to convince people to die in a war already considered lost by many of the same extremists who promoted jihad in the recent past. Although it would not be wise to underestimate terrorism, the tendency is that the network created by Osama bin Laden still remains a regional threat with the rise of various cells of local sympathizers, especially in the Maghreb region, and that it can spread rapidly. Fortunately, however, it no longer constitutes a global threat, at least for the moment, insofar as security and defense technologies have evolved a great deal since 9/11, and the international community is more aware of the risks that international terrorism and its connections pose. Nevertheless, al-Qaida will always remain a myth in people’s imaginations, a synonym of extremist terror that scarred a decade, but that nowadays is part of a cycle that ended with the death of its chief and most charismatic leader and sponsor. André Luís Woloszyn is a strategic affairs analyst and consultant to international organizations on issues of terrorism and low- and medium-intensity conflicts By Dialogo May 07, 2012last_img read more

NIAID reports potential West Nile treatment

first_img The researchers decided to develop their treatment, a monoclonal antibody, after they found that antibodies taken from the blood of people who had recovered from West Nile fever could cure mice infected with WNV, the NIAID said. But antibodies derived from human blood vary in their ability to fight disease, and they can be accompanied by other potentially dangerous infectious agents, despite efforts to purify them. See also: To solve these problems, the research team “made 46 monoclonal antibodies against West Nile virus and then eliminated the less effective ones through a tedious molecular-level screening process,” the NIAID said. Then they worked with MacroGenics, Inc., Rockville, Md., to create a human-like version of the most effective antibody. WNV causes no symptoms or only a mild flu-like illness in most people. But in about 1 in 150 people infected, the virus invades the central nervous system and can be fatal. The United States had 2,470 reported cases of West Nile disease in 2004, with 88 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Apr 25, 2005 (CIDRAP News) – Researchers have developed an antibody that can cure mice of West Nile virus (WNV) infection, a disease for which no specific treatment now exists, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced yesterday. Oliphant T, Engle M, Nybakken GE, et al. Development of a humanized monoclonal antibody with therapeutic potential against West Nile virus. Nat Med 2005 Apr 24 (early online publication) [Full text] The research, funded in part by the NIAID, is described in a report published online yesterday by Nature Medicine. “MacroGenics stitched the part of the antibody that cripples the West Nile virus into the scaffold of a human antibody,” the statement said. “The monoclonal antibody was several hundred times more potent in cell culture tests than antibodies obtained from people who had recovered from West Nile virus infection.” A team at Washington University in St. Louis “developed an infection-fighting antibody that mimics one produced by people whose immune systems successfully fend off the West Nile virus,” the NIAID said in a news release. “The researchers tested their antibody in mice and say its success warrants further development and testing in people with West Nile disease.” “We could give this antibody to mice as long as five days after infection, when West Nile virus had entered the brain, and it could still cure them,” senior investigator Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, said in the news release. “It also completely protected the mice against death.” NIAID news releasehttp://www.niaid.nih.gov/news/newsreleases/2005/Pages/westniletherapy.aspxlast_img read more

The interest of British tour operators and airlines for Croatia is growing

first_imgDuring the second day of the World Travel Market (WTM) at the stand of the Croatian National Tourist Board, Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli held meetings with tour operators and airlines Thomas Cook, TUI, Ryanair and Saga.After the meetings, Minister Cappelli stated that he expressed satisfaction that the partners plan to expand their business in Croatia and that Croatia remains one of their most important markets. “Today we received confirmation from the most important partners in the British market that our tourism policy is moving in the right direction and that the Croatian market represents an exceptional tourism potential in which they plan to expand their offer. The London WTM fair traditionally brings the first impulses on which we base our estimates of tourist traffic trends in the next year, and based on the knowledge we received today, I can say that next year we will continue positive trends from the British and I believe other markets. Regardless of the return of competition from the markets of Greece and Turkey, the announcements and expectations are at the level of last year with the planned growth of up to 7 percent. ” said Minister Gary Cappelli. The number of arrivals from the UK is directly correlated with the number of flights from the market and the length of the flight period. The vast majority of flights start at the end of April and the beginning of May and the flights last until the middle or end of October. The tendency is to extend the flight season every year, and the same is expected in 2019, which was confirmed at WTM meetings. During the meeting at the fair Niall O’Connor i Gary butler Ryanair confirmed that it will open eight new routes to Zadar Airport in the new season, from the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy and Germany, and two new connections to Rijeka Airport, London and Manchester. On behalf of the tour operator TUI David Burling, Helen Caron i Lucy Ling at the meeting with Minister Cappelli, they pointed out that they are doing excellent business with our country and noted that they plan to introduce a new tourist tour City break on the route Zagreb-Plitvice-Krka-Split. During the first ten months of this year, British tourist arrivals increased by 8 per cent to almost 850, while overnight stays rose by 8 per cent to almost 4,4 million. British tourists mostly traveled to the regions of Dalmatia – Dubrovnik (36%), then Dalmatia – Split (23%) and Istria (20%), and spent most nights in hotels.last_img read more

Chinese tourists will break the record in outbound travel during the Spring Festival this year

first_img“The fact that the Chinese are willing to spend more money and time on travel is proof of the rise in living standards and incomeSaid Peng Liang, an employee of Trip.com’s tourist data research center. “As more Chinese travel abroad on vacation, the world will also benefit from Chinese development”, He concludes. Better wages and a simpler way to start a business through startups drive the middle class in China, but also in many other parts of the world. After allocating money to basic living needs, middle-class families spend their hard-earned money on travel, a luxury in the past. Source / photo: Chinese Internet Information Center; Travel Daily Media; Pixabay Chinese tourists are the drivers of the travel industry. By 2030, two-thirds of the global middle class is projected to live in Asia. In the next 10 years, the number of middle-class people will increase fivefold, to 3,2 billion, and will be the largest group of consumers, reports Travel Daily Media. The Chinese made 2019 million outbound trips during the 6,3 Spring Festival holidays, up nearly 12,5 percent from the same period last year. Ninety percent of Trip.com users have chosen high-quality travel products and services. Tourists prefer private tourist groups with tour guides and flexible driving schedules. Chinese tourists will travel to several overseas destinations during their holidays during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) in 2020, according to a report published by China’s largest online travel agency Trip.com Group. Chinese Internet Information Center. Thanks to the warm climate, Australia and New Zealand were among the most popular destinations for Chinese tourists during that period. Trips to Italy, the UK, Spain, Russia, France and the United Arab Emirates are also bestsellers, the report said. “Chinese tourists have booked trips to 419 overseas cities, to over 100 countries and regions, during a seven-day vacation starting on January 24, 2020.”, It is stated in the report of Trip.com, and it is added that both figures are new records for the company.last_img read more