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Anti-BDS motion rejected at OUSU Council meeting

first_img“This was all a proxy fight about the NUS’s existing support for BDS, a policy which I proudly seconded and continue to uphold. It turns out that students don’t think Israel is an illegitimate target beyond our criticism and action. The question is what we do to extricate ourselves from that complicity.”The OUSU motion split opinion in many common rooms. The JCRs of Magdalen and St John’s both mandated their representatives to vote for the motion at OUSU Council, whilst Wadham, University, and St Peter’s JCRs mandated their representatives to vote against it.In other JCRs, the motion provoked extensive debate, with Balliol JCR’s meeting lasting over three hours. It eventually decided to mandate two of its representatives to vote against the motion, and one in favour. At Hertford, an open letter supporting BDS was circulated, subsequently becoming the cause of much controversy within the College.Meanwhile, the JCRs of Queen’s, Pembroke, LMH, New, and Jesus all conducted online polls of their members to determine how their representatives should vote.The motion itself was subject to two attempted amendments during the course of debate.The first amendment considered was an attempt by the original proposers to clarify what the motion meant. Representatives from Somerville were mandated to seek clarification on the meaning of ‘the BDS movement’, as the motion referred to it. Some students believed that it was unclear whether the motion referred to the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), or the general principle of sanctions against Israel. Several mandated JCR representatives stated their opposition to the amendment on the basis that it was undemocratic, as it was not proposed with enough time for them to consult their respective JCRs. The amendment was defeated with 25 votes for, 78 votes against, and 25 abstentions. OUSU council on Wednesday evening rejected an attempt to force OUSU’s NUS delegates to vote against “any motion aligning the NUS with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) at the NUS national conference”.The motion, proposed by Ben Goldstein and seconded by Adam Dayan, was proposed due to fears that full BDS might become an official NUS policy at the National Conference in April. The motion fell, with 30 votes for, 72 votes against, and 28 abstentions. This means NUS delegates now have a free vote on BDS.BDS is a global movement to put political and economic pressure on Israel to agree to certain pro-Palestinian demands. These demands include an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, recognition of the equal rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and giving Palestinians a right to return to their original homes. BDS ranges from arms divestment to a full academic and cultural boycott from Israel.The proposers of the motion disagreed with the methods of the movement. The motion argued that a wholesale boycott of Israel “puts at risk any British student relationships with all Israeli organisations”. It also contested that the BDS movement “alienates moderate Israelis and strengthens the right-wing ultranationalist narrative in Israel”.Dayan and Goldstein told Cherwell, “The mood in the room was mixed and unfortunately discussion of procedural motions obscured a substantive debate on the issues of BDS. It’s a shame that many people weren’t able to represent their JCRs because the debate was cut short.“We trust that our NUS delegates will take into account the many objections to the odious BDS movement raised by Oxford students.”James Elliott, one of the leaders of the opposition to the motion, was delighted with the result, commenting, “It is very clear that Oxford students have profound concern for the colonial occupation of Palestine, and it is no surprise OUSU Council rejected this rushed, hyperbolic motion. The other amendment considered was one proposed by next year’s VP for Grads, Nick Cooper, which tried to mandate NUS delegates to abstain on all BDS motions, as opposed to voting against them. This motion also failed, with more than 100 people voting against it.Second year Christ Church PPEist Jan Nedvídek, who spoke in support of the motion, was disheartened by the outcome of the vote, telling Cherwell, “I find it disappointing that OUSU failed to back the motion. OUSU and the NUS should be looking after student welfare, not passing motions on controversial geopolitical issues.“Tonight, OUSU had a chance to say that, but decided not to. I guess it’s business as usual: the NUS pretending it’s the UN Security Council, rather than an institution representing the diverse student body in the UK.”Barnaby Raine, one of the NUS delegates who would have been affected by the motion, commented, “I was surprised and heartened at the huge margin by which this motion was defeated – as I made clear in the debate before the vote today, I now plan on voting to boycott Israel at NUS conference.”The Oxford Students’ Arab Cultural Society told Cherwell, “This evening’s vote at OUSU represents a success of student democracy in reflecting the views of the majority of the student body. Oxford students did not want to support a motion which attempted to rush through policy forcing NUS delegates to opposed Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel. Students objected to the undemocratic manner in which the motion was brought, placed on the OUSU council agenda without time for many common rooms to meet and discuss the issue.“It was evident in the common rooms that were able to discuss the policy that Oxford students are concerned about the situation in Palestine and the role that our university plays. The University of Oxford, through its investments and research programmes, is invested in arms companies and companies that profit from the Israeli occupation.“The vote tonight makes it clear that Oxford University students want to be able to discuss Israeli human rights abuses in their common rooms, and that our delegates should not be forced to vote against existing NUS policy which supports divestment from companies that profit from the occupation.”OUSU President Louis Trup told Cherwell, “I respect OUSU Council’s right to mandate NUS delegates to vote in a certain way at the NUS conference. In this instance, they chose not to. I will, however, inform Council in 1st Week of Trinity how individual delegates voted.”last_img read more

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LIRR Scrap Metal Scam Nets 17 Arrest

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice at press conference announcing arrest of 17 men in scrap metal scam.More than a dozen Long Island Rail Road employees were arrested after a grand jury indicted the group for a three-year scrap metal theft scheme that netted more than a quarter of a million dollars.The indictment charging the 15 LIRR employees and two other men was unsealed Friday in Nassau County court where the men were split into two groups during their arraignments. Prosecutors alleged the men stole more than $253,694 worth of copper from the railroad, sold it to Two Brother’s Scrap Metal in Farmingdale and pocketed the cash.“At a time when riders throughout Nassau County struggle with economic hardship and the disruptions that are caused by natural disasters unparalleled in most of our lives, it is outrageous that these public employees neglected their jobs, stole from us all,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said a press conference.The employees, including two assistant foreman, worked in the railroad’s communications department where they maintain railroad yard signal equipment, officials said. The two other men were described as acquaintances. The alleged scrap metal scheme occurred between Jan. 1, 2010 and Jan. 10 of this year.The schemers were hit with varying charges of conspiracy, grand larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and thefts of services. Officials with the Metropolitan Transit Authority only became aware of the copper theft when a tipster contacted them last June.The MTA Inspector General’s office and the LIRR alerted the district attorney’s office soon after, sparking a high-tech investigation that included GPS monitoring, license plate reading technology and on-the-ground surveillance documenting the alleged scheme.The workers, sometimes while on duty, would allegedly steal new and used copper wire stored in four different railroad yards and use LIRR trucks to transport the valuable metal to a covert location, and then use their personal vehicles to drop it off at the scrapyard, effectively stealing from the public, officials said.17 men nabbed in LIRR scrap metal scheme.“This behavior will not be tolerated at a taxpayer supported agency like the Long Island Rail Road,” LIRR President Helena Williams said. But she lamented how the scheme happened right under the railroad’s nose, saying, “It is a sad day for the Long Island Rail Road.”“I have to rely on my employees,” she added. “And when we have employees stealing from the company, and we have employees violating that public trust, it is a very very sad day for our company.”The LIRR has been marred in controversy recently. Just last year, the railroad was embarrassed by a pension scam that included hundreds of employees faking injuries and illnesses to scam their way to early pensions.MTA Inspector General Barry Kluger said he wouldn’t “characterize it as a culture of theft,” in the LIRR, but said there needs to be an examination of the railroad’s “apparent lack of effective supervision…as well as the evident vulnerabilities of inventory controls.”The railroad acted quickly to the arrests, announcing that they will try to fire all those involved and would move to terminate their pensions, Williams said.And in response to the scheme, which Kluger noted was “obviously too easy” to get away with, the LIRR will increase security at its 12 scrap metal yards by securing bins, increase surveillance, restrict employee parking and continue to track vehicles through GPS.“There was a level of trust and honesty,” Williams lamented. “It is now proved to be me I cannot have that level of trust and honesty.”The workers tenure at the railroad ranged from 6 to 27 years, officials said. Their base salary was between $65,000 and $85,000.last_img read more

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Lakers’ Nick Young adjusting to playing without Kobe Bryant

first_imgOnly five days ago, Lakers forward Nick Young sounded so confident that he couldn’t help but offer trash talk about Kobe Bryant. After all, the Lakers had collected a signature win against the Golden State Warriors without Bryant by showing a rare display of ball movement and shooting accuracy that has been absent for most of the season.“Pretty much going to have to tell Kobe to pass me the ball, pass us the ball,” Young said. “Tell him to take the backseat for a little bit. He can be ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and I can be Miss Daisy and drive.”It didn’t take long for Young to soften his boastful comments that were nothing more than a joke. With the Lakers (9-21) entering Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns (17-14) at Staples Center, Young has shot a combined 6 of 22 from the field in the past two games while Bryant has stayed sidelined to rest his 36-year-old body. “We’re always going to need Kobe out there on the floor, especially for players like me,” said Young, who has averaged 14.9 points on 40 percent shooting. “That releases a lot of pressure.”The Lakers have listed Bryant as “probable” to play against Phoenix. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Bryant rests periodically throughout this season after averaging 24.6 points, albeit on a career-low 37.2 percent shooting. Such a reality puts an extra burden on Young to maintain his high-volume scoring with more defenders drawn to him. “We have to get him open as much as possible. He has to take good shots and not force things,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said of Young. “He has a tendency to do that when Kobe is not there. It goes to show how much Kobe needed him on the floor and how much Nick needs Kobe on the floor. It creates space for both of those guys.”Limited practice Lakers forward Ryan Kelly participated in 3-on-3 drills Saturday, marking the latest progression as he nurses a torn right hamstring that has kept him out for the past 20 games. The Lakers plan to re-evaluate Kelly today and have estimated he would stay sidelined at least until January. Kelly teamed with reserves Jordan Clarkson and Robert Sacre against Lakers assistant coaches Mark Madsen, Larry Lewis and Thomas Scott. The rest of the Lakers’ roster, including Bryant, did not practice and spent Saturday resting and receiving treatment. Silent rebuttalAs he sat on the bench watching the Lakers’ eventual loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, Bryant apparently heard a Mavericks fan heckling him.Bryant did not say anything back. Instead, the Lakers’ star counted to five on one hand, suggesting the number of NBA championships he has won in his 19-year career.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more