Students welcome inquiry into the loans fiasco

first_imgOUSU and suffering Oxford students have welcomed an “overdue” government inquiry announced this week into the Student Loans Company (SLC).Universities minister, David Lammy MP, has ordered the inquiry to look into how the SLC has let down more than 88,000 students.This announcement comes at a time when many Oxford students are still waiting to receive the full amount or even part of their loan.Alistair Strathern, a 2nd year PPEist at St Anne’s is one of the many students yet to receive their loan and describes the situation as “hugely frustrating”.“As far as I’m aware they’re still in the process of accessing my grant application, though the Oxford bursary scheme managed that within a week. Precisely where they are at with my application has been impossible to find out though because any attempt to contact the SLC has been more than useless.“In terms of my application one of the reasons it was so late was misinformation they gave me about what income data I’d need. On top of that attempting to find out where my applications at or when I can expect its completion by has been impossible.”Students are also angry that the SLC has lost important documents, forced them to continuously resubmit evidence and made them endure endless engaged tones on help-lines.Ambrose Holmes-Mackie, another 2nd year from St Anne’s described the lack of contact from SLC. “Although I was late in applying I was not informed as to which information I was expected to supply. If I were one of those people who creates a termly budget and financial schedule I’m sure I would be tearing my hair out, as it is I am simply broke.”Holmes-Mackie has received part of his loan, but points out, “it is not enough to pay off the 4 and a half grand battels I have been left with.”Lammy has announced that Deian Hopkins, the retired vice-chancellor of London South Bank University, and Bernadette Kenny, of Revenue & Customs, will conduct the review. Lammy has promised a “frank assessment of what went wrong.”One possible source of the problems is the increase in University applicants for the SLC to assess. 20,000 more people took up University places this year, with an increase in student finance applications by 50,000. This means that 30,000 people missed out on places, many of who may reapply this year. There has already been a 15% year-on-year increase in registrations on the UCAS website ahead of the Oxbridge deadline last week.Jonny Medland, OUSU vice-president for Access and Academic Affairs commented on the situation, “It’s completely unacceptable that many students are still without their loans nearly a month after they started at university. The review needs to tell us how Student Finance England has proven to be so inadequate at fulfilling its most crucial role… Clearly this is work that should have been done before the finances of so many students were entrusted to a hopelessly underprepared organisation.”last_img read more

Toubab Krewe – Live at The Orange Peel

first_imgA meeting of the mountains of Western North Carolina and the Malian desert of West Africa continues to evolve with the music of Toubab Krewe. The Asheville-based quintet just released a live recording of its cross-cultural fusion of traditional Afro groove and roots rock, backed by the energy of a hometown crowd at The Orange Peel. The percussive, dance-friendly sound floats melodically with Justin Perkins’ traditional string toys, the kora and kamelengoni. It also pulses with the gritty surf guitar of Drew Heller on the standout track “Moose,” which features some spoken word from Umar Bin Hassan. Add the fiddle of Uncle Earl’s Rayna Gellert on “51 ft. Ladder” and you get the full effect of a tribal Appalachian hoedown.toubabkrewe.comlast_img

No internet, no problem: Teachers in Chile take class to students

first_imgLeveling the playing field Most of the children’s parents raise livestock and grow agricultural products. As of April, only four percent had internet access, and only six percent had access to a computer.The majority of the children speak Mapudungun, their native indigenous language, the school principal Marcela Araneda told AFP.Most schools in Chile are private, meaning public schools like this one rely on subsidies, and are trying to bridge the gap.Private schools “have technology, computers, access to the internet, the ability to download information, watch YouTube videos, and have all the tools,” said Osmín Flores, a lead teacher.He said the aim of the mobile school is to “level” the playing field.Just because they are rural children does not mean “they’re going to have fewer opportunities or be less intelligent,” said Flores. Approximately 70 percent of Dream House School’s 101 pupils are Mapuche, an indigenous people who live in Chile and Argentina. Most don’t own computers and even fewer have access to the internet, meaning the students can’t take part in online classes.The coronavirus has emptied Chile’s schools, forcing millions of children to follow their lessons online, but there are regions where up to 76 percent of pupils don’t have access to the internet, according to a study by the Digital Country Foundation.And while children may have been supplied with school work on paper, they still don’t have the sort of teaching support that is available online. Emotional care Inside the van, measures are taken to prevent spread of the virus, such as social distancing, wearing of masks, and protective clothing and shoes.Pupils are given hand sanitizer and sit on chairs placed on carpets that are washed with chlorine.The aim is not just to look after the children’s educational needs, but also their emotional ones.Before the class begins, the teacher speaks to the pupil to ascertain his or her state of mind.Cesar Mendez, a 12-year-old, likes science class best. The school on wheels “helps us do our classwork which I don’t know how to do and neither does my mom,” he said, before heading off to lock up goats in the family pen, a fun distraction now that he no longer spends his days in class.Meanwhile Zuniga, the 11-year-old, is learning about the Mapuche new year — We Tripantu — which is celebrated during the winter solstice from June 21-24.She says she has no doubt what she’s wishing for in the new year: an end to the pandemic. Preschool teacher Marcela Cea, 29, and van driver Alexis Araneda, 34, are among those who are traveling to pupils’ homes to give lessons.”It seems super good to me, because there are tasks that one cannot understood, not even the parents, so the teachers can come and give extra classes,” Katalina Zuniga, an 11-year-old student who receives lessons in front of her home, told AFP.Her mother, Modesta Caniunir, says the effort helps parents and now the “pupils are not going to get behind on their homework.”Araucania, around 500 kilometers south of the capital Santiago, is the third worst affected region in the country from coronavirus.Chile has recorded more than 254,000 cases and over 4,700 deaths from COVID-19.center_img In the south of Chile, a rural school is bringing the classroom to students, deploying vans to help teach pupils who might not otherwise have access to education during the coronavirus lockdown.Students once rode in the vehicles to attended the Dream House School in the small town of Catripulli, located in Araucania, one of the poorest regions in Chile.In this cold, rainy and rural part of the country, the vans now travel to a handful of students’ homes, after hundreds of children were left adrift when classes were suspended in March.  Topics :last_img read more

Milkweed for monarchs: You want me to plant what?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On Commodity Classic eve, Harold Coble, a professor emeritus from North Carolina State University, had dinner with a corn and soybean grower where he talked about his research work with milkweed. As the New Orleans dinner wound down, Coble asked the farmer if he would be willing to plant milkweed on some of the odd, unused corners of his farm.The famer sat back in his seat with raised eyebrows and crossed arms and said, “I spent two decades trying to get rid of all that milkweed and now you want me to plant it back?”In short, yes. Here’s why.Coble is working with BASF on the recently announced Living Acres initiative, a research effort focused on improving monarch butterfly habitats in high-production agricultural areas. The initiative started at the BASF Research Farm in Holly Springs, North Carolina, with the goal of helping farmers and other land owners increase biodiversity and develop best practices for establishing and maintaining milkweed plants — a critical part of the Monarch lifecycle — in non-cropland areasNorth America has seen declining Monarch populations in recent years in part because of the loss of overwintering site habitat, changing weather patterns and the reduction in milkweed habitat. Monarchs need milkweed for summer forage and larval feeding sites, and reestablishing the plant can positively impact the population.So now, in an interesting twist of fate, Coble is researching the best way to establish milkweed to finish out his career that started out trying to eliminate it.“I started my career in late 60s looking at how to control milkweed problems in southern soybean fields. That is where it all started. I looked at more milkweed plants than I ever cared to,” he said. “Most farms have a few acres here and there and if you get a few plants started, they will take over an area.”Once established, milkweeds are fairly self sufficient, but getting them started can be a challenge. BASF research found milkweed plants are most successful when established through a planting process using root sections. Though it is common to plant milkweed by seeding, only a small number of common seeds germinate. Planting root stock or buds results in the most successful establishment.“It is kind of like planting a tomato plant. If you just spread some seeds out in the field and leave them, your BLT sandwich will be mostly lettuce and bacon,” Coble said. “Plants from root sections are much more vigorous than seedlings and will grow rapidly. They can easily reach up to six feet in height under good growing conditions.”Under a grant from BASF, Coble identified seven steps for successfully establishing milkweed in non-production areas: seed/root, pot, plant, spread, water, grow and mow. While some areas of a farm may better support milkweed stands than others, this work focuses on non-cropland areas such as ditches, roadsides, alleyways and other border areas.BASF as a company is interested in the work to benefit the appealing Monarchs and also to add biodiversity to U.S. farms.“Stewardship has always been a priority for farmers, and it is becoming even more important as a vehicle for improving biodiversity,” said Maximilian Safarpour, Ph.D., Department Head, Global Regulatory and Government Affairs for BASF. “The goal of the Living Acres research initiative is to show how modern agriculture can coexist with refuges for monarchs.”At Commodity Classic, BASF announced first-year findings from Living Acres conducted on the BASF Research Farm in Holly Springs, North Carolina. The research, conducted in 2015, found that creating milkweed refuges will take an upfront investment of time, but once established it should sustain themselves year after year with minimal effort.“The solution will not happen overnight,” said Luke Bozeman, Group Leader, Field Biology for BASF. “But the effort taken to improve monarch butterfly habitats will quickly make an impact.”This, of course, all made for a very unusual dinner conversation at a certain table in a New Orleans restaurant before Commodity Classic. Watching the reaction of her husband at that dinner with Coble, the corn and soybean farmer’s wife quickly informed her fellow diners of her affinity for the beautiful monarch butterflies on the farm.“And you know what?” Coble said. “I think this year he will probably be planting some milkweed plants.”last_img read more

Assessing wheat progress

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On March 16 and 17, we visited our wheat trials in Clark County and Pickaway County. Both locations were at Feekes growth stage 5 (leaf sheath erect). In northwest Ohio, wheat is at green-up to Feekes growth stage 4.Generally, Feekes growth stage 6 occurs in southern Ohio during early April; however, with abnormally warm temperatures, Feekes growth stage 6 (jointing) may occur sooner. To evaluate wheat for growth stage 6 follow these steps:1- Pull, or better yet, dig up, several clusters of tillers with roots and soil from multiple locations in the field;2- Identify and select three to four primary tillers from each cluster – usually the largest tillers with the thickest stem, but size can be deceiving;3- Strip away and remove all the lower leaves (usually small and yellowish or dead leaves), exposing the base of the stem;4- Now look for the first node generally between 1 and 2 inches above the base of the stem. This node is usually seen as a slightly swollen area of a slightly different (darker) shade of green than the rest of the stem.For a video on identifying Feekes growth stage 6, see this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iukwznx4DPkGrowth stage 6 signals the beginning of stem elongation. Nitrogen should be applied by this time to maximize yield. This is also the growth stage when some herbicides can no longer be applied. For instance, herbicides such as 2,4-D, Banvel, or MCPA should not be applied after Feekes growth stage 6, as these materials can be translocated into the developing spike, causing sterility or distortion. Huskie and products containing tribenuron and thifensulfuron can be applied through Feekes stage 8, and bromoxynil can be applied until stage 9. Keep in mind that the tribenuron/thifensulfuron-containing products such as Harmony Xtra should generally be mixed with dicamba, 2,4-D or MCPA to broaden the spectrum of control, which affects how late they can be applied. The chart on page 151 of the 2016 Weed Control Guide provides a snapshot of growth stage information.You should also begin scouting for early season diseases such as Septoria and powdery mildew. However, we do not recommend foliar fungicide application this early in the season. Although some producers may be interested in tank-mixing foliar fungicides with nitrogen or herbicides, our data shows that under conditions in Ohio fungicide applications at or before jointing do not provide adequate protection of the flag leaf and the heads.last_img read more

London Olympics 2012: Saina will win gold, says Maken

first_imgSports minister Ajay Maken on Thursday lauded India’s badminton ace Saina Nehwal’s performance after she beat Tine Baun of Denmark 21-15, 22-20 to reach the semi-final of the women’s singles badminton event at the London Olympics.Speaking to Headlines Today, Maken said: “Saina will win gold.”Maken added, “The way she played today, she can beat anyone in the world. She is the number one player.”He even thanked his father Harvir Singh for giving India such a great player.He was all praise for her coach Pullella Gopichand, under whose guidance both Siana and P Kashyap have done well at the Olympics.Later Maken even tweeted saying: Padam Shri Gopichand has Khel Ratna, Dronacharya & Arjuna Awards under his belt. Pray that Saina & Kashyap give him the ultimate GURUDAKSHINA! He later tweeted: Both Saina & Kashyap have already created record by entering semis & quarterfinals respectively. Congrats coach Gopichand on your hard work!last_img read more

Dez Bryant, Tyler Patmon Got in Fist Fight at Dallas Cowboys Camp

first_imgThere was some Cowboy on Cowboy crime at Dallas Cowboys training camp over the weekend as Dez Bryant and Tyler Patmon went at each other pretty hard in an altercation. Here are a couple of looks at the festivities (including one from the Cowboys Twitter account?!)Dez and Patmon get into it on the far side. They’re still jawing pic.twitter.com/YKcx1i8NmS— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 3, 2015Dez Bryant – Tyler Patmon Fight Full Video & Reaction MUST WATCH: http://t.co/egrkA9lI0R pic.twitter.com/oTWsb5zk1X— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 3, 2015Dez threw ANOTHER punch on the sideline after it was over on the field.“It’s just two great competitors going at it. We were chirping a little bit back and forth, but at the end of the day, that’s what you want,” Bryant told the Dallas Morning News. “I got a little bit overheated. At the end of the day, that’s something that you really need for a team to try to win ballgames.”We both Oklahoma State guys, so I kind of know where he comes from. … You don’t want somebody weak on your team. That’s why Patmon is here. Patmon was undrafted. He is fighting his way and he’s fighting for respect. You can go to war with a guy like that any day of the week.”Jerry weighed in (of course).Jerry Jones said he doesn’t know if he could’ve scripted the Dez-Patmon fight any better. “That’s good stuff. That’s training camp.”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 3, 2015And finally Patmon ended the fun.“Cornerbacks and receivers, there is always history in between that. It’s bound to happen and it’s part of being a family,” Patmon said. “We got at it. We squashed it. It’s over.”Yay!What Brothers do after they Fight @DezBryant @Lion_hearted_26 @dallascowboys @nflnetwork @ESPNNFL @espn pic.twitter.com/ESMvPnO1Br— ?️‍?Drew Rizzuti ?️‍? (@Rizzuti09) August 3, 2015 If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Governor visits TCI National Museum

first_img#TCINationalMuseum #HEJohnFreemanPress Release: TCIG Islanders invited to donate for the preservation and showcase of TCI history; new National Museum design unveiled TCI Nat’l Museum is our Smithsonian Institute says Governor Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 13, 2017 – Providenciales – His Excellency the Governor, Dr John Freeman, accompanied by Mrs Freeman, visited the National Museum respectively in Grand Turk and Providenciales on the occasion of its 25th anniversary in the week of 27 February.  Commenting on the visits, the Governor said:‘The National Museum is a TCI National Treasure.  Over the past twenty five years it has grown from a quiet private initiative into a national resource and repository.   It has gradually accumulated objects and papers of inestimable value to the collective sense of belonging in these Islands.   It now serves as a living expression of a collective memory; and without a collective memory there can be no sense of collective identity.   So the National Museum should be dear to the hearts of all those who live on these Islands.Visiting the Museum’s main site in Grand Turk in the company of the distinguished members of the museum’s Board (themselves reflective of its national vocation) I was struck deeply by the valuable holdings; not just of wonderful artifacts, but also of the tremendously evocative paper holdings, the records of births and deaths, the evidence of continuities in the Islands’ population, and all held in specially constructed air-conditioned archives.  The National Museum is not some quaint local initiative, but the equivalent, for example, of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC: what the latter is for the US, the National Museum can be for the Turks and Caicos Islands.I also visited the new outpost of the Museum in Providenciales.  Here it is possible by visiting the reconstructed dwelling on the site to get a real sense of how life in these Islands was lived not so many years ago.  The house and the associated museum building are both an educational focus for local school groups but also an increasing attraction for visitors from abroad.It is not an exaggeration to say that TCI lives in all its cultural and historical richness in the National Museum.    It behooves  all of us to ensure that it’s longer term future is assured.” Recommended for youcenter_img Related Items:#HEJohnFreeman, #TCINationalMuseum 180 Years of full Emancipation, TCI hosts event tonight at slave plantation Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApplast_img read more