Image credit: Simononly/ Wikimedia Commons Oxford SU passed a motion in 3rd week resolving to ask the University to guarantee all international student residence in Oxford over the vacation. The SU also resolves to push for vacation residence to be offered at 15% of usual vacation rent. College policies do not currently fulfil Oxford SU’s requests. St John’s College has said that their vacation residence and grant scheme “will not operate as usual” during this vacation. All students have to leave, except international students whose home borders are closed and students with extended terms for their subjects. Oxford SU Class Act Campaign told Cherwell: “This is an issue not only for international students, but also for care leavers, estranged students, and independent students. Colleges consistently fail to provide these students with security, instead leaving individuals to negotiate with them for the right to have somewhere to stay. This is a difficult situation for everyone, but many students call Oxford their home, and must not be forgotten in this pandemic.” They also told international students that the requirement to quarantine in their home country and in the UK is “unlikely” to be a “compelling reason” to be granted vacation residence. Queen’s said that, if borders for students’ home countries are closed, students should consider asking friends to stay at their homes. Queen’s reminded students that “there is no automatic right to stay in College”. “I, like many other students, am incredibly grateful for my time at Oxford because of the freedom it gives me. It is also one of the reasons students take advantage of the vacation residence system: escape. To put it plainly, studying in college is better than working at home. We already try so hard to learn to live independently, study efficiently and strike that balance needed to be happy that if we are forced back into our older unhealthy environments no good will come of it.” Oxford SU will further ask the University to ensure students who are required to quarantine upon return to Oxford get free accommodation, and receive food at the average price of their college’s home food. Some colleges are reducing the availability of residence for students over the Michaelmas vacation. Oxford SU is lobbying to ensure international students are guaranteed accommodation for those who wish to remain, and has criticised the impact on care leavers, estranged students, and independent students. Queen’s College emailed students saying they “strongly urge” and “expect” all UK-domiciled students to return, noting that for students with welfare concerns, the welfare services would be closed for a period over the vacation. St John’s told students that this was to ensure staff get a break from a difficult term, and students get a break to spend some time in a “different environment” before next year. One anonymous student told Cherwell: “The vacation residence policy email I received from my college was a disappointing read that placed unnecessary anxiety upon estranged students. For some of us, home life is not safe: it does not matter if this has always been the case, or if this is recent. Trinity Term lockdown was hard enough to suffer because students from other colleges were able to return – hopefully we can stay this time. Students who were required to quarantine upon arrival at the beginning of Michaelmas faced very varied college policies. Oxford SU’s motion stated that students were “in some cases charged extortionate rates for their accommodation”. Cherwell reported at the beginning of the term that Oriel College charged self-isolating international students over £700, including a nearly £30 per day food bill. Some colleges, including Hertford, Magdalen, Queen’s, and Worcester College, made accommodation free.
After 22 years in prison, Grateful Dead fan Timothy Tyler has been shockingly granted clemency. The man, who was 25 at the time of his arrest and is now 47, was sentenced after continuously (and casually) selling LSD to a friend who had secretly been working with the DEA as an informant. Tyler may have made some mistakes, but getting sent to prison with a life sentence was far too much. Adding to this tragedy is that Tyler’s father was also implicated in his sales–simply by Timothy living at his father’s home and using his address in the packages he was sending and receiving. Tyler’s father was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and died 8 years into his sentence.This story is extremely sad, but now seems to be heading towards a happy ending. Tyler has been surprisingly been granted clemency by President Barack Obama after over 400,000 people signed a petition on Change.org asking grant him clemency. Now Tim can see his 70-year old mother, and he can see his beloved Grateful Dead (or something similar to it) once more. Kudos to President Obama for changing up the way America approaches clemency for non-violent offenders.Click here to read more about Tyler’s harrowing tale, and be happy to know that he will soon be out of prison!In celebration of his pending release, watch a video of Tyler’s favorite Dead song, “Althea”, from last summer’s Fare Thee Well concerts, courtesy of YouTube user LazyLightning55a.[H/T Wikipedia and HeadCount]
Jan 22, 2009 (CIDRAP News) – Veterinary authorities in Egypt today reported H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in two governorates, as Chinese officials beefed up their avian flu reporting system and took other measures to limit human exposure to the virus.Both of Egypt’s outbreaks involved backyard poultry, according to reports posted today on the Web site of Egypt-based Strengthening Avian Influenza Detection and Response (SAIDR). The project, funded by the US Agency for International Development with assistance from Johns Hopkins University, is designed to help Egypt coordinate avian flu efforts with its international partners.One of the outbreaks involved 53 chickens, ducks, and geese in Reva village in Asyut governorate. The vaccination status of the birds is not known. Asyut governorate is located in the middle of Egypt on the banks of the Nile River.In the other outbreak, the virus struck 15 chickens, ducks, and geese in Seila Ezbet Edris village in Faiyum governorate. All of the birds had been vaccinated in 2008, the SAIDR report said. Faiyum governorate is in north-central Egypt, about 80 miles southwest of Cairo.Elsewhere, provincial officials in eastern China yesterday banned the raising of poultry in Shandong province’s cities to curb the transmission of the H5N1 virus to humans, Agence France-Presse reported. Xinhua, China’s state news agency, said the ban, which went into effect yesterday, follows the Jan 17 death of a 27-year-old woman from an H5N1 infection. She was from Jinan, Shandong’s capital.A statement from the World Health Organization on the woman’s death said investigators were still trying to determine the source of the woman’s infection.In other developments, China’s health ministry said today that it launched a daily avian influenza reporting system for humans and birds, according to a report from the Associated Press. The action follows four recent H5N1 cases in China, three of them fatal.The health, agriculture, and commerce ministries have ordered provincial departments to provide daily reports on infections, the AP report said. Daily reporting was also conducted during previous outbreaks of H5N1 and SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome).See also:Jan 19 WHO statement