“Serious irregularities” have been discovered in the voting process for the NUS affiliation referendum held between Monday and Wednesday. The official result of the referendum was announced at the King Arms pub at 7.30 on Wednesday with a 1780 to 1652 vote to disaffiliate from the NUS for the academic year 2014-2015 announced. A formal complaint about the referendum has been put forward by the leader of ‘Believe in Oxford’, Jack Matthews, and will be heard by a Junior Tribunal next week.In a post on the ‘Believe in Oxford’ website, Matthews wrote that his suspicions had first been aroused by “the larger than expected turnout, both overall, and for ‘NO’.” Matthews also wrote that “a victory built upon conspiracy and corruption would be hollow, hypocritical, and wrong”, and so as a consequence he would be looking to see the result overturned.Irregularities with the voting process include large clusters of ‘No’ votes that appear to have been cast at the same time, as well as from the same location. Matthews wrote a letter to the OUSU Returning Officer passing on these concerns, in response to which the Junior Tribunal has been called.Cherwell was the first to break the news of the challenge to the referendum result, tweeting:Cherwell understands that the result of the NUS referendum is to be challenged #nusreferendum— Cherwell (@Cherwell_Online) May 24, 2014In a joint statement the leaders of the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns Tom Rutland and Jack Matthews commented,“We are both concerned that the result of the referendum did not accurately reflect the views of students. We await the decision of the Junior Tribunal, and will be working together over the coming weeks to ensure that the democratic principles of OUSU are upheld.”OUSU Returning Officer Alex Walker told Cherwell, “The evidence that I have seen is clearly of a very serious nature and I am sure that the Junior Tribunal will make an appropriate decision. If the Junior Tribunal comes to the decision that the referendum should be voided, then I believe that OUSU Council should either pass a motion to affiliate to the NUS or organise another referendum”.Following the challenge, OUSU President and ‘Yes’ campaign leader Tom Rutland has since tweeted that Oxford actually voted to reaffiliate to the NUS. Rutland later tweeted that the real result of the referendum is thought to approximately be a 70% vote in favour of reaffiliation and a 30% vote against, on a 11% turnout.Disappointed by the ballot manipulation but v happy with real result: Oxford voted overwhelmingly to reaffiliate to @nusuk— Tom Rutland (@tomrutland) May 24, 2014
To continue to stay ahead of rising demand for wireless voice, 3G multimedia and Internet access in Chittenden County, Verizon Wireless has expanded its local network with a cell site in Williston.Consumer AdvantagesNew cell site provides increased wireless voice and 3G data coverage for the Williston Village area and along I-89 between exits 11 and 12, as well as the surrounding areaExpanded 3G data coverage in Williston lets more customers using notebook computers or smartphones:Download and use cool apps, from mobile social networking platforms to GPS-enabled mapsRapidly browse the Web to keep up with news, sports, stock quotes, Hollywood gossip and moreWork on-the-go with fast file sharingQuickly download and play music favorites from Top 40 to ClassicalSend e-mails to friends, family and co-workers with picture and video attachmentsDownload and play vivid 3D gamesStream must-see video and customized radio stationsView from Verizon Wireless“People across Vermont are increasingly relying on smartphones and 3G apps to manage their busy lives and stay connected at home or on-the-go,” said director for Network Systems Performance for Verizon Wireless, Richard Enright. “Our network investment in New England has kept us ahead of consumer trends, provided our customers a 3G advantage and underscored our belief that any mobile device is only as good as the network it runs on. Proactive and sustained investment has made Verizon Wireless the 3G leader in New England and nationwide.”Harnessing the Capabilities of a Robust 3G NetworkVerizon Wireless’ 3G network powers many leading mobile multimedia services, including:Mobile Broadband Internet Access: Notebook computer users can access e-mail, download files and browse the Internet at broadband speed, downloading a one megabyte e-mail attachment – the equivalent of a small PowerPoint® presentation or a large PDF file – in about eight seconds and uploading it in less than 13 seconds.V CAST Video: V CAST multimedia services offer customers the ability to play cutting-edge 3D games and stream video clips straight to their phones, as well as to watch dozens of on-demand videos, including breaking news, weather, sports highlights and the hottest entertainment clips.Sustained Wireless InvestmentThe company has invested more than $60 billion since its inception to increase the wireless voice and data coverage of its national network and to add new 3G services like Mobile Broadband and V CAST. As the carrier with America’s largest and most reliable wireless network, Verizon Wireless cell sites in New England provide 3G wireless data connectivity.Engineering America’s Most Reliable Wireless NetworkThe company’s ‘America’s most reliable wireless network’ reputation is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and test women throughout the country. By traversing more than one million miles annually on Interstate, U.S. and state highways, as well as major roads and surface streets in high-population areas – the equivalent of two roundtrips to the moon or 40 trips around the world – the test men and women confirm that voice calls and data connections are successful on the first attempt and stay connected. Vehicles are equipped with computers that automatically make more than 3.5 million voice call attempts and more than 19 million data tests annually on Verizon Wireless’ network and the networks of other carriers. Source: Verizon Wireless. WILLISTON, Vt.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–8.27.2010Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 92 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 79,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: VOD). For more information, visit www.verizonwireless.com(link is external). To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia(link is external).*Verizon Wireless received the highest numerical score among wireless providers in the proprietary J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Wireless Call Quality Performance StudySM—Vol. 1 Study based on 23,373 total responses measuring 4 providers in the Northeast Region (CT, ME, MA, NH, NY, RI, VT) and measures opinions of wireless users about the call quality of their service. Proprietary study results are based on experiences and perceptions of consumers surveyed in July-December 2009. Your experience may vary. Visit jdpower.com
Hiking the Mountains to Sea trail has been a gift. I am out here every day living a dream. I say that because hiking a 1,175 mile trail with two kids under the age of five who are tagging along seems more like a fantasy or delusion than an executable plan. Yet I am able to make this hike a reality as a result of my husband’s support. While I am out walking Brew has the difficult job of watching our kids without a home base, managing the logistics for our hike, and working hard to keep additional work at bay. I have spent my days climbing mountains, passing farmland, and enjoying the serenity that comes with hiking long trails. Brew, meanwhile, has been busy changing diapers, searching for lost pacifiers, and trying to keep mold from overtaking Gus’ sippy cup. He has done an outstanding job of making this trip educational and social for our four-year-old daughter. And as a result he has become an expert on museums, nature centers, and libraries across the state. He has also kept our baby-turned-toddler from destroying himself and everything in his wake. (When we passed through Durham, we stayed with a friend who is a pediatric surgeon and she aptly described caring for a one-year-old as “suicide watch.”)The only problem is that Brew hasn’t enjoyed it. I wanted us ALL to have a great experience going across the state. Or I at least wanted everyone to pretend they were having a good time. It has been hard on me to see the toll that this trip has taken on my husband. At times it has made it difficult for me to fully appreciate my experiences. But despite his discomfort and complaints, Brew has never once wanted to quit. When we started talking about this hike two years ago, he willingly signed on. And even after a rough start that included a trip to the emergency room, Brew has been unwavering in his commitment to his family and this trail. I have asked him a few times throughout the hike if we need to take a break or abort our efforts and his response has stayed resolute: “We are going to finish this trail.”Brew will be the first to tell you that he has had moments of fun this fall. He was thrilled to connect with old friends along the way and there have been concerts and craft breweries that have made the trip better. (He still hasn’t found the best North Carolina barbecue, but he’s committed to keep trying.) It’s true that I wanted my husband to have more fun on this hike, but recently it struck me that the gift he is giving us might not be as valuable or meaningful if it were easy. Sacrifice trumps flowers and chocolate any day.Brew is committed to being out here because he loves me and he realizes the significance of the Mountains to Sea Trail for recreation, conservation, and unity within our state. He wants to be a part of this effort even when it’s hard because it is work worth doing. This week we reached the ocean. I still have over 200 miles to hike to reach the finish, but at this point I have a strong feel for the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and a good idea of what has to happen to help the path reach it’s potential and become a continuous and protected trail. It’s going to take effort, money, and sacrifice but it is work worth doing. We are going to finish this trail.
State inspectors found some problems at Virginia peanut facilityVirginia inspectors found some sanitation problems at a Virginia peanut-blanching plant owned by PCA, the company whose Georgia plant has been linked to the nationwide Salmonella outbreak, according to USA Today. The Tidewater Blanching Plant in Suffolk, Va., was cited last year for problems that included mouse droppings in a warehouse, a live bird inside the plant, and mold on totes holding peanuts, the story said. The Tidewater plant has not been linked to the current outbreak.[USA Today report] Study suggests H5N1 virus more virulent than 1918 pandemic strainArizona researchers report that the H5N1 avian influenza virus had more damaging effects on the lungs of nonhuman primates than reassortant versions of the 1918 pandemic virus did. Carole Baskin and colleagues compared the effects of a seasonal flu virus with those of a 2004 strain of H5N1 and two versions of the 1918 virus, according to an Arizona State University press release. Although the 1918 viruses were highly virulent, the H5N1 virus replicated faster and more widely in the lungs and caused a more intense inflammatory response. The study is to appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).[Arizona State news release on EurekAlert] China reports no dangerous mutations in recent H5N1 casesMao Qun’an, a spokesman for China’s health ministry, said that analysis of H5N1 viral samples from the country’s recent human cases shows no evidence of mutations that would enable the virus to spread more easily among humans, according to a report from Xinhua today. He also said scientists found little mutation among the virus strains isolated from the recent patients.[Feb 10 Xinhua story] Peanut firm linked to outbreak puts Texas plant on holdPeanut Corp. of America (PCA), whose processing plant in Blakely, Ga., has been linked to the nationwide Salmonella outbreak, said today it was suspending operations at its processing plant in Plainview, Tex., while state and federal officials investigate the facility. Also, the Associated Press (AP) reported today that Texas health officials said private test results showed a possibility of Salmonella in some products from the plant, though it did not appear that any of those products reached consumers. Last week it was reported that the Texas facility had operated without a license or government inspections from 2005 until PCA came under investigation because of the outbreak. Salmonella outbreak reaches 600 casesThe Salmonella outbreak tied to peanut products reached 600 cases in 44 states, as Florida reported its first case, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported yesterday. The latest illness onset date was Jan 23.[CDC investigation update] Children more likely to be treated for fluA review of insurance claims of 20 million people over the 2005-06 and 2006-07 flu seasons by the Thomson Reuters healthcare division revealed that children were more than twice as likely as adults to use health services because of influenza-like illnesses (ILI), according to a press release from the company yesterday. The survey also found low rates of antiviral medication use among all age-groups—only 4% to 6% of patients filled their prescriptions during the week they received their ILI diagnosis. China, Vietnam report avian flu outbreaksChina’s agriculture ministry today announced that H5N1 avian influenza struck 519 birds in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in the northwestern part of the country, according to a Reuters report today. Authorities culled 13,218 birds to stop the outbreak. In Vietnam, animal health officials reported that the H5N1 virus struck nine farms in Quang Ninh province on the country’s northeastern coast, Xinhua, China’s state news agency, reported today. Vietnam’s latest H5N1 case-patient, a 23-year-old woman, is hospitalized in Quang Ninh province.[Feb 10 Reuters story][Feb 10 Xinhua story] Absolute humidity strongly affects flu virus transmissionOregon researchers say that absolute humidity (the actual amount of water vapor in the air) affects flu virus transmission much more strongly than does relative humidity (the amount of water vapor relative to the saturation point at the ambient temperature). Jeffrey Shaman and Melvin Kohn reached this conclusion by reanalyzing data from previous studies. Their report was published online by PNAS.[PNAS abstract] House committee holds Salmonella hearing tomorrowThe House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10 am (EST) on the nationwide Salmonella outbreak linked to peanut products. The hearing will be available via webcast. The witness list includes Steward Parnell, PCA’s president; Frank Torti, MD, MPH, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Thomas Irvin, Georgia’s agriculture secretary; and officials from two laboratories that PCA used.[House Energy and Commerce Committee press release] Feb 10, 2009
Former Coach of the Black Stars, Emmanuel Afranie says a return of AC Milan duo; Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng to the senior national team, would boost Ghana’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.The duo, alongside Marseille duo; Andre and Jordan Ayew and on loan Real Madrid midfielder Michael Essien, were among key players who missed the just ended Nations Cup in South Africa that saw the black stars place an undesirable fourth, behind Mali, Burkina Faso and eventual Champions Nigeria.There has been Nationwide clamoring for the return of such key players ahead of the World Cup qualifiers which begin next month and the experienced Coach who has had stints with a number of clubs in the country, has added his voice. He was speaking on the JOY Sports Link on Saturday.“One player can make a difference! And I think that player is Sulley Muntari, because he is the only player who can give hot shots, at the moment most of our players want to score in the 18 yard box…but the modern system of defense hardly gives you that time and space. So I think we would brighten our chances of qualifying to the World Cup in Brazil if we can get Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng,” he said.Meanwhile, the Black Stars would play Sudan in the Brazil 2014 World Cup qualifiers on March 20 at the Baba Yara stadium in Kumasi but would be keeping an eye on the outcome of Sudan’s request to the Court for Arbitration for Sports (CAS), to reverse an earlier decision by FIFA that saw them stripped off, a victory against Zambia in Khartoum for fielding an ineligible player.