Campaigners deliver 169 letters to vice chancellor demanding divestment

first_imgMembers of the Oxford Climate Justice Campaign (OCJC) met with vice chancellor Louise Richardson yesterday to hand over 169 letters demanding University-wide divestment from the fossil fuel industry.During the meeting, OCJC members read excerpts of letters aloud and updated the vice chancellor on the divestment campaign within the University, which has seen twelve colleges pass divestment motions since November.The push for divestment follows revelations from the Paradise Papers leaked last November, which revealed that Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem) and several Oxford colleges have been investing in oil extraction and exploration.Pascale Gourdeau, a DPhil in computer science at Trinity, Caitlin Prentice, a DPhil in education at St Anne’s, and Elana Sulakshana, an MSc in geography at St Edmund Hall, were all present at the meeting.Sulakshana told Cherwell: “We entered the meeting with two goals: the first was that we wanted to update the vice chancellor on the state of divestment and the divestment campaign, because from previous interactions she had expressed that she was unaware that there was a campaign still going and she thought that the University had divested already.”“These letters spoke to themes such as the effects climate change is having on people’s homes and communities, the hypocrisy of the University investing in fossil fuels while producing cutting-edge science on climate change, and economic research on the way in which fossil fuel investments are stranded assets,” Sulakshana said.“There is a hypocrisy between what we are learning in the classroom and how the University is making money.” Gourdeau told Cherwell: “The vice chancellor said that she was as concerned as us about climate change, but ultimately what it came down to was that we disagree on how the University should act.“She mentioned a lot of green projects, such as green buildings and research. She thinks that those things should happen, but that divestment should not for various reasons.“First, she said that she can’t tell Oxford University Endowment Management (OUem) what to do. However, she also pointed out that she has influence on OUem’s decisions, so we think she should use that influence to support the concerns of students and faculty members.“She also said that it wouldn’t make financial sense, because the University’s endowment is so much bigger than all the other universities that have divested in the past. This has not been entirely true for lots of universities and institutions, for example the University of Edinburgh, University of California, the City of New York. So it is totally feasible.Gourdeau said that the vice chancellor didn’t “see how divestment would be effective in fighting climate change. She didn’t see that divestment would be worth loosing, for example, scholarship money from fossil fuel companies.“I think overall, at least on my end, it felt a bit frustrating that we didn’t have time to reply and that she didn’t see the urgency surrounding acting on fossil fuel divestment in the same way as us.”The vice chancellor has pledged to take actions addressing OCJC’s concerns.Gourdeau said: “She said that she would actually read all the letters, that she would bring them to the Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee (SRIRC), and that she would bring up divestment at the next OUem investment meeting.“I think that the discussion ended with us agreeing on both sides that this is not the end of the discussion. At least on our end, we made it clear that the pressure would also come from the colleges.” Peck added: “We are committed to continuing this conversation, and she knows that. We’ll now be strategising how to respond, and putting the concerns she came up with to the test of our community.“This community has answers for her, and we didn’t quite get to tell her today – but we’ll make it quite clear in the future.”The letter delivery follows divestment rallies at Cambridge University earlier this week.The delivery also represents the first formal action taken under the campaign’s revamped strategy, which was changed after the University’s disappointing response to divestment efforts in 2014 and 2015.Lady Margaret Hall MCR Green Rep and OCJC member Julia Peck, who recently published a paper outlining strategies colleges may adopt in order to divest its portfolio from fossil fuels, told Cherwell: “What was so troubling about what happened with divestment in 2015 is that Council was ready to approve the plan and timeline to remove fossil fuel investments that OUem had drawn up based on student recommendations, but then the vice chancellor at the time, Andrew Hamilton, stepped in and prevented that motion from being passed in Council.“He basically subverted a democratic process here at the University. That democratic process started with the students and the Fossil Free Campaign, who collected thousands of alumni signatures, thousands of faculty signatures, and wrote an open letter that finally reached Council.“There was a clear democratic mandate that called for fossil fuel divestment [in 2015], and the fact that it wasn’t able to pass was pretty devastating.“We see new leadership in the Clarendon Building, and we’re hoping to hear from her directly about how she can undo that injustice and actually heed the call that’s been alive since 2014.”However, Peck worried about Richardson’s awareness of the divestment issue. She said: “At a 2016 conference here in Oxford about the Paris Climate Agreement, Louise Richardson said that as vice chancellor she does see the University’s responsibility to take steps towards drastic reduction of carbon, including – and I directly quote – ‘in the stewardship of the endowment.’“But then when we asked her at the Oxford Union why she hasn’t done that yet, she said ‘but we already divested,’ which showed a massive misunderstanding at best, ignorance at worst conception of what happened here.”The vice chancellor’s Office and the University have been contacted for comment.This article has been altered to clarify that there was not violence at a rally by the Cambridge Zero Carbon Society. A separate reference to a ‘bin fire’ at the event failed to mention that it was not started by the group and was in fact a protest against the rally.last_img read more

McWatters testifies before Senate Banking today on economic growth

first_img 11SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr NCUA Acting Chairman J. Mark McWatters is set to testify today before the Senate Banking Committee as part of the panel’s series of hearings focused on fostering economic growth.NAFCU will attend today’s hearing, which is slated to begin at 10 a.m. Eastern. The Senate Banking Committee will also hear from Federal Reserve Gov. Jerome Powell, FDIC Chairman Martin Gruenberg, Acting Comptroller of the Currency Keith Noreika and Texas banking Commissioner Charles Cooper, on behalf of the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.Earlier this month, NAFCU witness Steve Grooms, president and CEO of 1st Liberty Federal Credit Union of Great Falls, Mont., appeared before the committee and said that NAFCU stood ready to work with Congress on meaningful regulatory relief for the credit union industry.Grooms said that if Congress wants to foster economic growth, it is vital to enact relief for credit unions, including: relaxed field-of-membership restrictions; modernized credit union capital standards; exemptions from rules targeting banks and larger institutions (including Home Mortgage Disclosure Act rules); more freedom for member business lending; and a total credit union exemption from the CFPB’s rulemaking. continue reading »last_img read more

City take-up and rents hit new highs

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17 dead dolphins wash up on Mauritius beach near oil spill site

first_imgA spokeswoman for local Mauritian environmental group Eco-Sud called for the autopsy results to be released publicly and said the group wanted to be present during the autopsy “to better understand why the dolphins died,” but was still waiting for a response from authorities.The spill came from the Japanese-owned MV Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25 and began to spill oil about a week later. The ship was scuttled Monday.The full impact of the spill is still unfolding, scientists say, and the damage could impact Mauritius and its tourism-dependent economy for decades.The wildlife at risk include the critically endangered Pink Pigeon, endemic to the island, the seagrasses, clownfish and mangrove forests, whose roots serve as nurseries for fish.The Mauritius Marine Conservation Society said 15 kilometers of coastline have been affected by the spill and it is moving towards the Blue Bay Marine park, home to 38 types of coral and 78 species of fish.  Topics : Seventeen dead dolphins washed up on Mauritius’s shore on Wednesday, a government official told Reuters, a month after an oil spill from a Japanese ship that ran aground caused a major ecological disaster in the area.”The dead dolphins had several wounds and blood around their jaws, no trace of oil however. The ones that survived, around ten, seemed very fatigued and could barely swim,” said Jasvin Sok Appadu from the fisheries ministry.The dead dolphins have been taken to the Albion Fisheries Research Centre for an autopsy, Appadu said. Results are expected on Wednesday night.last_img read more

Arrest of KAMI activists criticized as attempt to suppress freedom of expression

first_imgKAMI’s Medan affiliates were transferred to Jakarta to be investigated by the National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim), he added.In a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Wednesday, KAMI condemned the arrest of its affiliates and said they perceived it as “repressive action” that was “politically motivated”.KAMI also criticized the police’s statement as prejudiced.“KAMI considers the announcement made by National Police spokesman Awi Setiyono on the arrests as having elements of framing [public] opinion, tendentious overgeneralizing and of prematurely revealing conclusions in an ongoing investigation,” KAMI said in the statement, which was signed by its co-founders Din Syamsudin, Gatot Nurmantyo and Rochmat Wahab.They also claimed there were strong indicators that the mobile phones of the KAMI executives had been hacked in recent days.Other activists have been quick to condemn the arrests, saying that they reflect the authorities’ efforts to stifle criticism of the government relating to the controversial passage of the omnibus bill on job creation into law.“These arrests were made to spread fear in those who criticize the passage of the Job Creation Law,” said Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, in a statement.“Additionally, these arrests have shown that freedom of expression in the country is under threat and that it can be seen as an effort to intimidate the opposition and those who criticize the ruling regime.”Usman also expressed concern that the arrests had been made under the allegation of violating the ITE Law. He also called on the state to stop discriminating against its critics and that it fully respects the human rights of all people.The KAMI arrests are just the latest in a wave of similar incidents to occur in Indonesia over the past year.In April, independent researcher Ravio Parta was briefly detained by the police following an allegation of public incitement through his WhatsApp account, which was believed to be hacked. Ravio had turned heads for his vocal criticism of the government, including in its poor handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.Read also: Government critic faces incitement charges after WhatsApp hackedMass media critical of the government have also found themselves in the crosshairs of unknown assailants.Tempo.co, part of the Tempo Media Group that also publishes the Koran Tempo daily and the Tempo weekly magazine, as well as popular news portal tirto.id, have both been inundated by cyberattacks after publishing reports critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.According to Amnesty International Indonesia’s records, there have been at least 49 cases of alleged intimidation and hacking of government critics since February.Others still have noted the underhanded tactics that the government and the legislature have employed to dampen criticism of the Job Creation Law, which was widely criticized for being rushed without giving fair and adequate space for the public to supervise or take part in crucial discussions.Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) deputy director Wahyudi Djafar also said he believed the KAMI arrests were carried out in an attempt to silence government critics.“These arrests, in the context of freedom of expression, were carried out as if [authorities] wanted to create a chilling effect to [dissuade] the public from expressing their political [standpoint] for fear of incarceration,” he said.“One of the biggest forms of threat to the ‘control’ function of [supervising] state transparency and accountability is this shackling of freedom of expression. These kinds of practices should best be avoided by the government.”Topics : Read also: Police arrest eight KAMI activists for alleged hate speech linked to jobs law protests“[They] are alleged to have spread hate speech discriminating against certain groups and incited protests against the Job Creation Law that ended [in rioting],” said National Police spokesperson Brig Gen. Awi Setiyono on Tuesday.As evidence, the police have confiscated records of their conversations over social media.Awi said the eight detainees faced charges of violating the second paragraph of Article 45 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law and/or Article 160 of the Criminal Code (KUHP). The ITE Law provision carries a maximum punishment of six years’ imprisonment and a Rp 1 billion (US$67,950) fine, while the KUHP provision carries up to six years’ imprisonment. The recent arrest of eight people affiliated with the Save Indonesia Coalition (KAMI) over allegations of spreading hate speech and violating a sweeping online censorship law has raised concerns about the erosion of freedom of expression in the country, rights activists have said.The figures were nabbed in a string of police operations in the capital Jakarta and in Medan, North Sumatra between Oct. 10 and 13.The police detained KAMI executives Syahganda Nainggolan, Jumhur Hidayat, Anton Permana and Kingkin Anida in Jakarta, while in Medan, law enforcers arrested the group’s local chapter chairman Khairil Amri, along with members Juliana, Devi and Wahyu Rasari Putri.last_img read more

Billingy storms to four titles in three days

first_img…‘Focused’ Van Lange wins Cadet and Junior Challenge titlesJASMINE Billingy and Jonathan Van Lange are not just the future of table tennis – they are also the present. The Titans Table Tennis Club players dominated the GTTA Cadet and Junior Challenge, which was played at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH) on Monday.The Challenge, which attracted 53 players in total, was held by the national association to keep the young players active.Jonathan Van Lange won both the Cadet and Junior titles at the Challenge.Both Van Lange and Billingy had won titles over the weekend at the GTTA National Mini- and Pre-Cadet Table Tennis Championships, which was held at the same venue. Nine-year-old Billingy won both Mini-Cadet (11-and-under) and Pre-Cadet (13-and-under) competitions, while Van Lange had defended his Pre-Cadet title.The 12-year-old, who won the National Cadet and Junior Championships in March this year proved his dominance at the 18-and-under level, by stopping all challengers.FOCUSSEDAccording to the pre-teen, although he emerged victorious, he needed to stay focussed and had to implement new strategies when needed.“It was very challenging, especially as there were players who had a lot of experience in the discipline, so I had to be very vigilant and with the help of God and the support of family and friends I pulled through.”The youngster, who is also a quality cricketer, said he had solid training help for the event.“I managed to put in the hours with coach Dwain Dick who is very determined and committed to this sport. I also received some useful advice and tactics from veteran Colin France. Hopefully, I could get some much more needed hours in training as I am not where I would like to be; as getting to the top is much easier than staying at the top.”Van Lange defeated Jamal Nicholas in the 18-and-under final by a 3-1 (12-10, 11-4, 7-11 and 11-8) margin.Van Lange had defeated Terrence Rausch 3-1 (12-10, 9-11, 11-9 and 12-10) in a close semi-finals, while Nicholas had gotten past Isaiah Layne 3-0 (11-8, 13-11, 11-4) in the other final-four clash. Both Rausch and Layne finished joint third.Layne battled against Van Lange in the 15-and-under final.  Van Lange, who called the match his toughest for the day, said that he was exhausted.  He won the opening game 11-8, before losing the next two 8-11, 9-11.  The youngster got his second wins in the fourth game and drew the clash even with an 11-2 win, before he claimed victory at 11-7.Colin Wong and Krystian Sahadeo finished joint third in the 15-and-under division. IMPROVEMENTBillingy, who continues to improve, got past Nkechi McRae in both the 15-and-under and the 18-and-under finals.Both girls played some quality table tennis to reach the 15-and-under final unbeaten, but in the championship clash, Billingy surged ahead 3-1 (11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-8).Tatyana Mohamed claimed third place, Rose-Anna Saunders fourth and Racheal Saunders fifth.  Meanwhile in the 18-and-under final, Billingy dispatched McRae by a 3-0 margin (11-6, 11-1, 11-9), while Mohamed and Rose-Anna Saunders finished joint third.last_img read more

Florida man arrested for firing gun into the air during an argument

first_imgAuthorities in the Florida Keys say they arrested a Miami man who reportedly fired several gunshots into the air during an argument.The incident occurred over the weekend in Key Largo.The suspect 35-year-old Danny Daniel, told authorities that he went to his friend’s house where his family was staying and began arguing with another man about  “issues they had earlier in the day.” At some point during the argument, Daniel went to his vehicle and pulled out a gun which he then began firing into the air.Authorities reported that Daniel fired at least four gun shots, which was called in to them.He was later arrested on a misdemeanor charge of firing a weapon in public or on residential property.last_img read more