Merton’s Winter Ball made £8,000 loss

first_imgMerton’s JCR and MCR are to cover the costs of last year’s Winter Ball, after it was announced that the event had made a loss of almost £8000.Oli Koo, Treasurer of the Merton Winter Ball, explained to the college at a general meeting that the losses were a result of problems with the ticketing system as well as communication issues amongst the organisers of the ball.The college also took a delivery of £6000 worth of Carlsberg beer the day after the ball, without the Treasurer’s knowledge. Incomplete budgets resulted in the Treasurer being unaware of required payments until after the ball. There were also additional problems with the ordering of champagne for guests.Speaking to Cherwell, Coo said, “It was a great pity that the ball ran a deficit, given all the effort and time committee members contributed towards its smooth running both in the run up to the event and on the night itself.”He added, “However, the two major factors which vitiated my attempts at accurate budgeting, highlighted in my ball report, were out of my hands”.The GM was told that confusion over the Ball’s refund policy made accounting difficult. Additionally, it was thought at first that more tickets had been sold than actually had been. This resulted in a £4000 hole in the budget.“I was told that we were legally obliged to refund all guests… This meant my budget was constantly fluctuating up to the day of the ball itself. An issue that was further exacerbated by the fact that we were still accepting payments on the day of the ball”, Koo explained.He further reported, “There was a technical glitch on the website. This meant that a significant number of unpaid ticket orders that exceeded the seven day payment window did not expire and were, therefore, counted as paid.“A secondary and related issue was that this glitch led to fewer sales than would otherwise have been possible; around week four, I had been told that we had sold out of tickets, whereas in fact there were many tickets that were available.” Chairman of the Ball Committee Tim Foot indicated that the lack of sponsorship was another contributing factor to the deficit in the budgets. “The lack of sponsorship meant that we were operating on a lower income, and with higher costs, than should have been the case,” he said.“Our Sponsorship Officer resigned at the start of Michaelmas term, at which point it was too late to seek further funds. We did negotiate discounts for our guests at Shepherd & Woodward and The Student White Tie Company, but this is the absolute minimum that could have been arranged, and sponsorship largely failed.”Foot went on to point out that committee members had instead gone to great lengths to make up for the dearth of commercial backing by negotiating discounts with suppliers instead.Other last minute and unforeseeable problems were remedied swiftly. When the company contracted to provide Dodgems for ball-goers was unable to deliver, Victorian carnival games were sought as a replacement.It was also suggested by the ball committee that the common rooms might recuperate significant funds from the ball’s headlining act. Crystal Fighters were contracted to play for a certain amount of time, but reportedly failed to fill the agreed time slot. The JCR may pursue legal action if the band declines to pay the £5000 which the ball organisers have calculated that the JCR is owed.“Whatever the outcome of the negotiations and potential court cases, I think it’s fairly safe to say Crystal Fighters won’t be coming back to Oxford in a hurry,” noted one second year. “But at least the money would go some way to cover the JCR’s costs though if we won”.The JCR and MCR are currently planning to split the costs equally.One first year historian noted that the JCR seemed to sympathise with the organisers. They added, “I think it would be a bit unfair to be too harsh on the ball organisers. The sponsorship was unfortunate and while some of the other hiccups were surely avoidable the committee had very little experience to draw upon – the previous ball organisers left them no information at all”.Plans to provide the next ball committee with more information have been drawn up.One undergraduate told Cherwell, “I think that Tim and co are forgiven despite everything. As long as the JCR still has enough funds to provide the free alcohol it does throughout the term, everyone will be happy.”last_img read more

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Speech: Preventing further conflict in Cameroon and the Lake Chad Basin

first_imgThank you Mr President. I may I also thank Special Representative Fall and Ms Ghelani of OCHA for briefing the Council today and for all that your respective teams are doing in what is a complicated and difficult region as you’ve both set out.Today I will address issues that affect the region as a whole, the situation in the Anglophone Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon and the impact of Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin. I will not address DRC, Burundi or CAR as we have the opportunity to discuss these issues in other Council meetings.Mr Special Representative, the United Kingdom welcomes the holistic approach that you have taken both with this report and to promote peace and stability in Central Africa. An approach that covers the political, humanitarian and human rights situation and addresses root causes is crucial to conflict prevention and resolution. We also welcome UNOCA’s work to drive forward the Women, Peace and Security agenda, under UNSCR 1325.We encourage UNOCA to continue to focus on building the capacity of regional organisations to enable delivery of their early warning mechanisms, conflict prevention and peace-building initiatives.Mr President, I would like to focus now on a country of particular concern in the region and that’s Cameroon.I should start by saying the United Kingdom recognises the many positive contributions Cameroon is making to stability in the region, including their continued commitment to the fight against Boko Haram and the sanctuary that Cameroon offers to refugees from Nigeria and the Central African Republic. However, we are concerned by the reality of the rapidly deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Northwest and Southwest regions of Cameroon.In particular, we are concerned about high levels of displacement and take very seriously Reena Ghelani’s warning that this is now one of the fastest growing displacement crises in Africa and reports of human rights violations and abuses perpetrated by armed separatist groups and Government forces, including extra-judicial killings, other killings, abductions, restrictions of movement and access to health and education as described in the Secretary-General’s report. We must always be alert, colleagues, to the risk that the situation escalates, affecting the broader peace and stability of the Central African region, and we have already seen over 30,000 Cameroonians flee into Nigeria. If grievances are not addressed, tensions are likely to increase further.Mr President, these concerns are not new – I raised them in the Council’s discussions in March, as did others. Unfortunately, we have not seen the action needed to address the situation and since March, it has deteriorated further.We welcome President Biya’s recent pledge to address the situation but words alone will not improve things. We strongly urge the Government of Cameroon to take urgent action, including by:· actively addressing the situation through inclusive dialogue with the Anglophone leadership to address the underlying issues;· undertaking confidence-building measures in order to diffuse tensions and build conditions for dialogue. This includes the release of political detainees, and implementing the Government’s own commitments on decentralisation, and the recommendations of the Commission on Bilingualism;· allowing full humanitarian access and access to human rights monitors to all parts of the country – and I would also hope and expect that our own SRSG would have access wherever he wanted to go;· and ensuring accountability for all those responsible for human rights violations and abuses.And clearly Mr President we also call on the armed groups involved to cease their attacks on civilians, allow full humanitarian access, and access to human rights monitors, and to engage with the Government on these issues.The UK, for its part, is committed to supporting Cameroon and I am pleased to announce today that the United Kingdom is contributing $3.1 million to the UN’s response in the Anglophone regions – that’s equivalent to 20% of this year’s flash appeal for the Anglophone crisis – to address immediate humanitarian and medical needs. We strongly encourage other Member States to fund this as an important part of the conflict prevention effort. Preventing a crisis costs significantly less than resolving one.Mr President, we have raised our concerns quietly so far and directly with the Government and we are committed to working with the Government of Cameroon in every way we can to help resolve this situation. But I fear, unless action is taken and the situation improves, concern over the situation in Cameroon is likely to increase amongst Security Council Members and become a more prominent part of our discussions.Mr President in addition to Cameroon I would like to raise our ongoing concern about the humanitarian and security situation in the wider Lake Chad Basin, which continues to deteriorate. The United Kingdom has played its part in providing humanitarian support, as well as significant support particularly to assist the Nigerian security forces in the fight against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa (ISWA), but this matter needs the ongoing focus and support of the international community.The deteriorating security situation in northeast Nigeria is of particular concern, and one I note shared by the Secretary-General. ISWA has increased the frequency, range and sophistication of their attacks and has attacked forward operating military bases in North East Nigeria. The execution by ISWA of humanitarian workers such as Saifura Khorsa and Hauwa Liman, who were both abducted while providing antenatal care to communities in desperate need is a telling reminder of the brutality of ISWA’s activities.Let me conclude Mr President by reiterating that we have an opportunity together to prevent further conflict, and the inevitable suffering and insecurity, and I hope we can all act to do so.Thank you Mr President.last_img read more

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Amnesty warns Premier League over Newcastle takeover

first_imgA Saudi-backed consortium is reportedly on the verge of buying Newcastle UnitedLondon, United Kingdom | AFP | Amnesty International has warned the Premier League that it “risks becoming a patsy” unless it takes a serious look at Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in connection with the proposed takeover of Newcastle.The Magpies are on the verge of being sold to a Saudi-backed consortium that involves Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for around £300 million ($368 million).It was reported on Tuesday that a non-refundable deposit of £17 million has already been paid to current owner Mike Ashley as part of the deal.The Premier League must decide if the new owners meet the criteria in its owners and directors test.Amnesty, a global non-governmental organisation that seeks to prevent abuses of human rights, said that unless the league provides thorough justification for its decision to approve the takeover, it risks damaging its own reputation.Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen has sent a letter to Premier League chief executive Richard Masters spelling out the concerns of the organisation. “So long as these questions (concerning Saudi Arabia’s human rights record) remain unaddressed, the Premier League is putting itself at risk of becoming a patsy of those who want to use the glamour and prestige of Premier League football to cover up actions that are deeply immoral,” she said in the letter.Critics have accused Saudi Arabia of “sports washing”, saying the government uses sport as a way of distracting attention from its human rights record.In a statement separate from the letter sent to Masters, Allen said: “All businesses need to safeguard against any possible links to human rights violations, and English football is no different.“This is more than just a financial transaction — it’s an image-building exercise that draws on the prestige of the Premier League and the passion of Newcastle United’s fanbase.”Amnesty have also previously criticised the UAE’s investment into defending English champions Manchester City as an attempt to sports wash the state’s image.Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

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Sen. Kamala Harris Laughs after Constituent Called Trump’s Actions “Mentally Retarded”

first_imgDemocrat presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris is apologizing for telling a man “well said” when he called President Trump’s actions “mentally retarded.” The California senator said now that she did not hear the man use the word “retarded” even though she responded, “well said.”Harris says that word is never acceptable. Meanwhile, it is back to work for Congress today after a long late summer recess. Democrats are expected to work on gun control, election security and of course impeachment of President Trump.last_img

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President Trump Discusses Impeachment, Economy and Election in Local Speech

first_imgPresident Trump spoke to a group of young conservatives gathered at Turning Point USA’s annual Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach on Saturday.The commander-in-chief addressed House Democrats who voted last Wednesday to impeach him, saying, “Didn’t they look bad. They are violating the constitution, folks.”He continued, “[She says] let’s not submit it. It’s so unfair,” referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to delay submission of the articles of impeachment to the Senate, for fear there will not be a fair trial.The President then turned the audience’s attention to the economy, telling them it is proof of his success. “We’re in a battle for the survival of this nation,” he explained to them. “We have to win this election.”“I’m on the ballot this time,” Trump added, referring to the Republicans losing House of Representatives in the 2018 Midterm Elections. “We’re going to have record setting [voter turnout].”He also discussed “left-wing arsonists” attempting to derail the confirmation hearing of Justice Kavanaugh, his appointment of conservative judges, as well as the newly created Space Force.Mr. Trump arrived in town with the First Lady and their son, 13-year-old Barron, late Friday night. They are expected to remain here until January 5.last_img read more

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Wildlife Experts Hopeful after Video Shows a Gator Eating a Python in the Everglades

first_imgA recent video has Everglades officials feeling hopeful about the current snake problem.The video Tweeted this weekend shows an alligator eating a Burmese python.The snakes are not native to Florida, and they have upset the Everglades ecosystem.In the video, though, Everglades officials say this invasive Burmese python was no match for our mighty, native American alligator.They also say they hope this is a sign that our native animals are fighting back against the invasive predator.last_img

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