Vigil draws attention to plight of Oxford’s Gaza scholars

first_imgA vigil was started outside Oxford’s Carfax tower on Tuesday in support of Hassan Al Hallaq, a Brookes student who lost his family in an Israeli air attack.Al Hallaq was initially in intensive care after the attack killed his wife, two children, and six other family members. His wife was expecting their third child.Hassan was a Masters student at Brookes University during the 2012/13 academic year, living with his family in Oxford. A statement by the University described how he “did exceptionally well. He won the Technologies Prize awarded by the University Department of Computing and Communication for outstanding achievement in the Masters Degree of Science in eBusiness.”Professor Janet Beer, Vice-Chancellor at Brookes, declared, “We are deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Hassan came to Oxford with his family and became fully embedded into the life of the city and the University. Our thoughts are with him at this time.”The tragedy draws attention to the plight of students from Gaza who have studied, and are currently studying, at both Brookes and Oxford University. Hassan was the third recipient of the annual Gaza Scholarship, founded by Sir Iain Chalmers in 2011 to “bring in one student each year at the graduate level to undertake a course of study leading to the award of an Oxford Brookes Masters degree”.Up until this summer, there were two scholars to benefit from Gaza scholarships at Oxford University. Saleem Lubbad, Oxford University’s first Gaza scholar, is close friends with Al Hallaq. On his Facebook page he described Hassan and his wife as “Two beautiful innocent souls that never tired. All this happiness and hope in their hearts could not prevent death being forced prematurely and unnaturally on to them, and cut their lives short.”Speaking to Cherwell, Saleem explained, “The vigil tells us that the people who we hear of dying and being massacred are not only numbers and that we must not forget the lives and stories behind each of these numbers. We know Hassan, he was in Oxford, but what about people who we don’t know and who are also being massacred in the same brutal way? Who would tell their stories?“Nothing more could be said about what happened to Hassan’s family, the raw story is enough to tell about what the Palestinians are going through. Tens of family have been murdered in the same brutal way, but we know of them only as numbers […].“The horrific story of my friend, Hassan, is not unique.  It is normal to hear of such stories happening in Gaza now.”Saleem described the pains that he and others have suffered at not being able to see their families. He said, “I have been in Oxford since 2010 and I have not seen my family since two years […] A person seeing his family is considered as a luxury for Palestinians.“Last month when I finished my finals, I was thinking about my graduation ceremony which is on 26th July, and my parents were planning to come to attend the ceremony and to spend few days with me here, and I was thinking about this ‘luxury’; I will spend amazing days with my parents soon, and now I call them every few hours to make sure that one of them will pick up the phone and say ‘yes we are still alive’.“Other families have nowhere to go […] My family is privileged! Having a shelter and not being murdered ‘yet’ is a privilege that everyone seeks in Gaza.”Saleem graduated from St Edmund Hall this summer with an Engineering degree. Both he and Jesus first year Rawan Yaghi have benefited from scholarships that were founded, and funded, by Oxford students, following previous attacks on Gaza in 2008-09.Yaghi told Cherwell that she, “like all Palestinian students outside Gaza, can’t get home”. Given the situation in Palestine though, even if she were able to, there would be no guarantee of being able to return to Oxford in October.last_img read more

EMV: Where things stand now that the shift has occurred

first_imgAs you know, to combat payment card fraud and encourage the timely implementation of EMV chip cards, card brands set Oct. 1, 2015, as the fraud liability shift date for all magnetic-stripe point-of-sale transactions. While EMV has already been adopted by Europe and much of the world, the United States payment market is larger than all of Europe’s combined. The U.S. is also the most complex card issuing region in the world, with over 16 networks as well as various regulations that govern debit cards.As a result, it should be no surprise to learn there have been challenges.The necessary changes ATM and POS vendors and merchants needed to make took time and considerable expense to complete. Once developed, EMV technology needed to be rolled out to thousands of devices – another time consuming undertaking. Overall the credit card transition has gone well.On the other hand, during the testing phases for debit card processing, there were reports of transaction routing issues, transactions timing out and terminal messaging inconsistencies, causing confusion and frustration among card users.Put a plan in placeWith these issues in mind, understandably some credit unions waited for such challenges to be worked out prior to rolling out their own EMV card program. However as we prepare to enter a new year, it is important for credit unions to have some kind of plan in place for EMV chip-enabled cards.Credit union service provider LSC® offers some things to consider prior to initiating an EMV strategy for your credit union:Will your issuance strategy be a selective, natural reissue or a mass reissue?Have you considered extending your reissue term to help save on costs?Will you choose a generic card or custom card?Falling BackOne big thing every credit union should be aware as they implement an EMV strategy is the concept of fallback transactions. A fallback takes place when a chip card can’t be read by a chip enabled terminal (after three attempts) and “falls back” to a magnetic strip transaction. Although credit unions are still liable for fraudulent fallback transactions, most payment networks do not recommend declining them. The reason being you would probably be declining more valid transactions than fraudulent ones.Keep in mind, in some instances EMV capable terminals were installed but the merchant chose not to enforce inserting chipped cards and the terminal coding was reverted back to a magnetic-strip transaction. In such instances, any fraud liability falls on the merchant, not the card issuer.It’s important to note, not all types of merchants are currently chip enabled.  Javelin Research is reporting only approximately 25% of merchants are ready for EMV. Some are not required to be. For instance, when it comes to paying at the pump, the liability shift date for Automatic Fuel Dispensers (AFD) chip card terminals is not until October 2017. That means AFD chip card terminals may not be available at gas stations for a while.Education is still keyPerhaps the most important component when preparing your credit union for EMV, as with most things, is simply education. Making certain not only your staff, but your cardholders have an understanding of how EMV works and what to expect is key to a smooth transition.Alert your members that EMV chip cards are coming through your newsletter, email blasts, mailings and notices on your website. Include an FAQ sheet of everything the member needs to know about their new card. Utilize and share information offered for by both Visa and MasterCard that give simple, step-by-step instructions. Some card providers like LSC provide free in-branch materials such as table tents and handouts to their credit unions.Most importantly, make sure your staff can comfortably answer any questions and explain how the cards work and the additional security they offer. 25SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Bart Scott Bart is the Marketing Communication Coordinator for LSC in Naperville, IL. He has worked for the Illinois Credit Union System in various roles for nearly five years. Prior to his … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Czechs report first poultry H5N1 outbreak

first_imgJun 21, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Agriculture officials in the Czech Republic today confirmed the country’s first H5N1 avian influenza outbreak in poultry, while Vietnamese officials announced the death of another human H5N1 patient, the country’s second in 2 weeks.Josef Vitasek, a Czech veterinary official, said the virus infected nearly 2,000 turkeys in a 6,000-bird flock near the village of Tisova in the eastern part of the country, according to a Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) report. He said the remaining birds would be culled today and that authorities have imposed 3- and 10-km security zones around the farm.Czech News Agency reported that none of the turkeys from the farm have been distributed to retail outlets, according to a Reuters report today.The turkey outbreak marks the second confirmed appearance of H5N1 in the Czech Republic. In the spring of 2006, 12 wild swans tested positive for the disease, according to reports from the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). The dead swans were tested as part of a national surveillance program, according to the report. The country has never had a confirmed human H5N1 case.Europe’s last H5N1 outbreak occurred in February at a British turkey farm. Agriculture officials said that outbreak was probably linked to an earlier outbreak in Hungarian turkeys.Also today, health officials in Vietnam said a 28-year-old woman died of an H5N1 infection, according to the Associated Press (AP). In view of previous news reports, the woman appears to be one of the two recent H5N1 case-patients announced by Vietnam on Jun 12. The woman, from Ha Nam province, about 37 miles south of Hanoi, was previously reported to be in critical condition at the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Hanoi.Nguyen Hong Ha, deputy hospital director, told the AP that she died today after 13 days in the hospital. The woman had had contact with sick poultry, the AP report said.With the woman’s death, Vietnam’s apparent H5N1 human toll is 98 cases with 44 deaths. The World Health Organization has not yet confirmed 5 cases, including 2 fatal ones, reported by Vietnam in recent weeks, so the WHO count for Vietnam remains at 93 cases with 42 deaths.The 20-year-old man who was announced on Jun 16 as Vietnam’s most recent H5N1 fatality was from Ha Tay province, one of 18 Vietnamese provinces affected by a recent spate of poultry outbreaks, mostly in duck flocks, the AP report said.In other news, agriculture officials in Ghana said the H5N1 virus has been confirmed in poultry in the Volta region town of Aflao, bringing the number of affected regions to three, the African news service Joy News reported 2 days ago. The discovery led to the culling of 1,100 birds in the area around Aflao, Ben Aniwa, the region’s veterinary services director, told Joy News.Ghana reported its first H5N1 outbreak in early May, making it the ninth African country to be hit by the disease. No human cases have been confirmed.See also:Apr 27, 2006, OIE report on infected swans in Czech RepublicJun 13 CIDRAP News story “Vietnam reports two H5N1 cases”last_img read more

Ireland squad preparing for Scotland clash

first_imgFormer Ireland coach Eddie O’Sullivan provides his assessment. Simon Zebo was replaced in the team by Luke Fitzgerald but he also lost out on the match day 23 with Felix Jones covering on the bench.Meanwhile Scotland coach Vern Cotter has also made two changes. In the back-row Adam Ashe starts on the blind-side in place of Rob Harley while Ryan Grant takes over from Alasdair Dickinson in the front row.That game kicks-off at 2.30pm in Murrayfield.last_img