Students protest in support of Campsfield hunger strikers

first_imgStudents are planning a protest today at the Carfax Tower in support of hunger strikers at Campsfield House, an immigration removal centre situated to the north of Oxford.Large numbers of Oxford students are expected to attend, with Wadham student Rebecca Sparrow, who is heavily involved in the Close Campsfield campaign, “hoping for a big turnout.”Alistair Johnson, of Oxford University Amnesty International, told Cherwell that they were protesting “to remind those detained in Campsfield that they haven’t been completely forgotten, and to show the people who run Campsfield that we are against what they’re doing.”The protest comes as a result of reports from campaign group Close Campaign that six Darfuri asylum seekers, held in detention at Campsfield indefinitely without charge, have been on hunger strike for six days. The strikers have been held for varying periods of time, the longest time being six months.A statement on Close Campsfield’s website said, “At least one of the strikers is also a confirmed torture survivor with visible torture wounds. Torture survivors are not supposed to be held in immigration detention under UK law, but campaigning groups say that this law is regularly flouted by the UK Border Agency.”Whilst the hunger strikers’ demands are that they all be released and granted asylum, they have also expressed a desire to be removed to a safe place, and have claimed that they are being held arbitrarily with no time limit. They have complained of their treatment inside the centre, saying that they came to Britain asking for refuge, and instead have been locked up.A report on an unannounced inspection of Campsfield by the Chief Inspector of Prisons in May last year revealed, “Health care staff received no training in recognising symptoms of torture and trauma.”Concerns have also been raised over how the centre’s management have dealt with the issue, after those who attempted to visit the strikers, including Oxford students, were denied access earlier this week. In an official statement concerning the attempted visits on Wednesday evening, the Close Campsfield campaign commented, “The hunger strikers requested visits; [additionally] various supporters from Oxford independently organised visits for the evening of 30 May. Despite pre-arranging visits, each of the visitors was turned away on different spurious reasons (some with no reason given) once detention centre management realised they were visiting Sudanese men.”The group added, “Supporters have vowed to try and visit the hunger strikers again to support them and intend to submit a complaint alleging that detention centre management attempted to cover up the hunger strike and illegally refused and lied to visitors, to the company who manage Campsfield (Mitie), to the Independent Monitoring Board, to the HM Chief Inspector of Prisons and to the Minister for Immigration tomorrow (31 May) through their local MP.”The news of the strikes has caused concern among a number of Oxford students. Tilly Hill, a second year medic at St. Anne’s who plans to attend the protest, said, “How can you lock away a man that has been forced to leave his family and life behind and flee from his home country?”After the denial of visiting access, channels of communication with immigrants have come under scrutiny.Sparrow said, “One of the reasons Campsfield House gets away with what it does is that communication with the outside world is so difficult. People just don’t know what’s going on and there is so much denial of responsibility as these centres are run by private companies for profit.”Many students also expressed the opinion that the events at Campsfield were a result of problems with the asylum system more generally. Brasenose student Rachel Rowan-Olive commented, “The current system is labyrinthine and bureaucratic at almost every level; it seems to me that Campsfield and centres like it are symptoms of its inadequacy. Asylum seekers’ wellbeing and rights are low on the priorities list.”In an investigation into Campsfield earlier this term, Cherwell reported that in 2010, 147 of the 216 detainees went on hunger strike. The Home Office told Cherwell at the time, “Immigration removal centres like Campsfield are vital in helping us to remove those with no right to be in the country. HMI Prisons confirmed last year that Campsfield continues to be a particularly well-operated centre, and that it provides a safe and secure environment for staff and detainees.”A UK Border Agency spokesman said, ‘Six detainees at Campsfield House are currently refusing prepared meals. However they have access to food at the centre’s shop, and healthcare teams have no concerns over their wellbeing.‘Staff at Campsfield continue to monitor the situation, work with detainees and listen to their concerns.”last_img read more

Mapping mollusks

first_imgWhat do a typical garden snail and an octopus have in common, besides the occasional appearance on the plates of adventurous diners? More than you may realize. Both are mollusks, a group of animals that includes everything from slugs to squids, and one that has for years confounded efforts to describe how its varied members evolved.But now, with the help of the latest genetic tools, researchers at Harvard and collaborating institutions have completed the most comprehensive evolutionary tree ever produced for mollusks. Described in the Nov. 2 issue of Nature, the work also serves as a proof-of-concept, demonstrating the power of genomic techniques to answer difficult evolutionary questions.“I think this is a big step toward understanding the tree of life,” said Gonzalo Giribet, professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and one of three lead authors of the paper. “One reason we chose mollusks was because it has been one of the hardest phyla to reconstruct phylogenetically. This shows very clearly that we can now use this technique to resolve other evolutionary problems.”Using more than a dozen mollusk species collected from around the world, Giribet and other researchers went to work, sequencing nearly every gene in the animal before selecting 1,800 specific genes to compare across species. By comparing those sequences with each other, and with genetic information from other species, they were able to reconstruct the ways in which all mollusk species are related to one another.In a scientific first, the results suggest that bivalves, a class of animals that includes clams and oysters, are most closely related to gastropods such as snails and slugs. Other findings, Giribet said, resolve the divergence between mollusks that developed shells and those that did not.Perhaps the paper’s most interesting finding, however, is that monoplacophorans, a type of mollusk thought to be extinct until the early 1950s, are most closely related to cephalopods, a group that includes octopus and squid. Similar theories had been advanced by paleontologists based on the fossil record, Giribet said, but, until now, without the support of biological analysis.Understanding the phylogeny of an animal, Giribet said, is a critical first step in understanding how developmental mechanisms and anatomical changes evolve over millions of years.“The first step is in knowing the relationship between animals,” Giribet said. “We need to have that phylogenetic framework, because otherwise we’re making the wrong comparisons.“At one point, we thought we would never be able to resolve something like the Cambrian explosion, because there was simply too much diversity appearing in too short a time, but one of the reasons for that was that we had very poorly resolved phylogenies,” Giribet continued. “What we’re showing is that by examining not one or two or 10 or 50 genes, but by looking at hundreds or even thousands of genes we are able to reconstruct any evolutionary event that happened during early animal evolution.”The other lead authors who collaborated on the research were Casey Dunn, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University, and Nerida Wilson from the Australian Museum. Sónia Andrade, a former Harvard postdoctoral student working in Giribet’s lab, also contributed to the paper.The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of California Ship Funds, the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, and the Carlsberg Foundation.last_img read more

Fuerza Bruta Will Shutter Off-Broadway

first_img‘Fuerza Bruta'(Photo: Jacob Cohl) Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 28, 2016 And now for the grand finale! Fuerza Bruta is scheduled to close off-Broadway at the Daryl Roth Theatre on August 28. The international experience began performances in New York in 2007 and will have played over 3,000 performances by the end of its run.The immersive production will continue in Buenos Aires, and a touring company is currently playing in China. Tours throughout the U.S. and Argentina, as well as productions in Milan, Istanbul and Bucharest are also in the works.Fuerza Bruta is an Argentinean-founded spectacle-based experience created by artistic director Diqui James and musical director Gaby Kerpel, the same creators of De La Guarda. Fuerza Bruta premiered in Buenos Aires in 2005 and has been seen around the world including in London, Lisbon, Buenos Aires, Puerto Rico and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Related Showscenter_img Fuerza Bruta View Commentslast_img read more

Westbury Armed Home Invasion Probed

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County police are investigating an armed home invasion in Westbury in which a victim was tied up and cut with a knife over the Christmas holiday weekend, authorities said.An 11-year-old girl answered a knock at the door of her family’s Dover Street when a masked man with a handgun forced his way inside, followed by three more masked men at 7:20 p.m. Friday, police said.One of the assailants grabbed a knife from the kitchen and held it to the neck of a 10-year-old girl before the group of home invaders forced the girls into a rear bedroom where a 35-year-old man and 45-year-old woman were eating dinner, police said.“Where is the money,” one of the assailants said in Spanish while binding the male victim’s hands with a belt, police said.After the assailants ransacked the home, one of them pushed a kitchen knife against the male victim, causing a small laceration and told him not to call 911, police said. The victims then called 911. The male victim refused medical attention.About $1,700 cash was stolen from an unoccupied basement apartment, police said.The suspects were described as 5’6” tall Hispanic men weighing 160-170 pounds and wearing all black clothing.Third Squad detectives request anyone with information regarding this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.last_img read more

Near-new home at Shailer Park snags top price for its quality

first_img17 Moogara Street, Shailer ParkTHIS near-new home at Shailer Park sold for $870,000 last month – much higher than the median sale price for the suburb.Donna Mills Properties partner Steven Mills, at Elders Real Estate Shailer Park, said the four-bedroom home at 17 Moogara St attracted a lot of interest before it was snapped up.During the roughly five weeks it was on the market, Mr Mills said there were 27 visitors to the home.He said its quality and size made it particularly enticing to potential buyers, as homes like these were hard to come by in the area.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 202017 Moogara Street, Shailer Park“One of the things about this particular house was that the people who owned it were builders,” Mr Mills said.A family bought the spacious four-bedroom home, which sits on a 1179sq m block.The median sale price for a house in the suburb was $552,750 to the year ended October 2017, according to the latest CoreLogic market trends data.The median days on the market for a house was 26.Mr Mills said it was one of the best houses that was on the market in the area at the time.“This home is a standout in that particular area,” Mr Mills said.last_img read more

Welsh pension funds to merge passive equity holdings

first_imgTrustees at Welsh funds are set to approve plans this week to allow the procurement exercise to begin after guidance from the SWT, according to agenda documents for the £1.4bn (€1.9bn) Swansea Pension Scheme.After approval, the eight pension funds, with more than £10bn in assets, hope to have a new manager in place by April 2016, with procurement starting by the end of November.A briefing from the SWT said the eight schemes had £3bn in passive equity and bond holdings, run across three managers and 18 mandates – with a disparity of fees.The schemes will appoint a third party to run the procurement exercise and split the cost of doing so accordingly.Any provider would be appointed to accommodate geographical investment requirements of pension schemes – while each would retain autonomy and ownership of assets.In May, the SWT received a report from Mercer on how the eight Welsh schemes could increase efficiency and cut investment management costs by collaborating.The consultancy suggested joint procurements for passive investments and custody arrangements as an “easy win”.It also recommended the creation of a regulated structure to allow the schemes to invest together in more complex asset classes.The LGPS has come under increasing pressure from the central government over a fragmented system, where the 89 schemes, with more than £193bn in assets, use a variety of mandates and managers to invest in similar classes.Others also have in-house capability.However, in the summer, the government said LGPS funds need to collaborate or face stricter guidelines imposed by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).The DCLG has since told the LGA all the £193bn would be pooled, with no funds being offered exemptions, regardless of in-house capability.Further details are to be released in the autumn. The eight local government pension schemes (LGPS) in Wales are to procure a joint passive equity manager as collaboration among the public schemes takes hold.The procurement, being organised by the Society of Welsh Treasurers (SWT) Pensions Sub Group, comes after discussion among the Welsh funds came to a halt with trepidation over central government policy.Last week, the umbrella organisation for devolved government bodies, the Local Government Association, was told by the central government the 89 LGPS in England and Wales would have to pool assets to create efficiencies.The move follows a string of collaborative efforts by LGPS in the Midlands to combine passive equity mandates, as well as efforts in London to create a collective investment vehicle (CIV).last_img read more

Curren$y to perform at Gearfest music festival

first_imgUSC’s Black Student Assembly announced Tuesday that rapper Curren$y will headline this year’s Gearfest.Shante Scott Franklin, who performs under the stage name Curren$y, has collaborated with multiple high-profile acts including Rick Ross and Wiz Khalifa. Known mostly for his mixtapes, Curren$y released his first studio album This Ain’t No Mixtape in 2009, receiving positive critical feedback. He performed at Coachella.Lamar Gary, the executive director of BSA, said the organization chose Curren$y as a headliner because the artist embodies the traits that he hoped festival attendees would aspire to. He also represented Gearfest’s theme of “Dreamin’ of Destiny.”“Curren$y fit the theme well because a lot of his music talks about upward mobility and being above the nonsense, which is all about the ‘Dreamin’ of Destiny’ theme,” Gary said. “Because he talks about that in his music and infuses elements of jazz and a chill vibe, he was the absolute best pick.”Some students responded positively to the headliner selection.“I like the fact that USC is showcasing upcoming artists. I’m excited to see the performance,” said Chris Raidy, a senior majoring in business administration.The Gearfest concert and fashion show, which focuses on art and clothes representative of the various stages of the college experience, will be held jointly with Springfest for the first time this year.Gearfest will also be featuring artists Rippy Austin and Rhyon Brown, as well as designers J.D Luxe, Chinyere and others. In past years, Jhene Aiko, Bruno Mars, Travie McCoy and Omarion have performed.Gary said the act will offer attendees a cultural aspect to the festival.“Gearfest is its own show within Springfest. It provides a deeper element of culture we wanted to bring to the student body,” Gary said.Both events are slated to begin at 11:30 a.m. on April 6 on McCarthy Quad. Springfest headliners include Big Sean, A-Trak, Travis Barker and Mix Master Mike. Other performers include Walk the Moon, Capital Cities and Papa.All students attending the festival will be required to show their student identification. Access to the festival is free. Christina Schoellkopf and Jordyn Holman contributed to this report.last_img read more