Faked photos secure Morgan’s downfall

first_imgThe Iraq war claimed another media scalp after the editor of the Daily Mirror, Piers Morgan, was sacked for publishing fake photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse. Morgan’s nine year reign came to an abrupt end when members of the Queen’s Lancashire regiment showed that the photos couldn’t have been taken in Iraq. Brigadier Geoff Sheldon said that scratches on an army truck in the photographs had been matched to a truck at the Territorial Army’s Kimberley barracks in Preston. Morgan was sacked by the Trinity Mirror Group and the paper issued an unreserved apology the following day. The Daily Mirror claimed to have been subject to a “calculated and malicious hoax”. Conflict between government and media over Iraq has already forced the BBC’s Director General and chairman to resign. Morgan was one of the most vigorous anti-war voices in Fleet Street.ARCHIVE: 3rd week TT 2004last_img read more

Ecstatic Strangler

first_imgA man is in court for strangling his fiancée to death in an Oxford hotel last year. He claims both he and his fiancée were high on drugs at the time, and wants “mitigating circumstances” to be taken into account . Stephen Ellis has been charged with the murder of Donna Rowe, his fiancée, at the Travel Lodge Hotel, on 3 August. He claims they had a couple of grams of cocaine, five or six ecstasy tablets and were smoking cannabis throughout the night. The couple were in Oxford to attend the wedding of Ellis’ cousin at Headington Hall. Ellis later spoke of how he thanked his cousin for “providing a dry run” after the wedding and how he and his fiancée had been prompted by the wedding to discuss their own ceremony, due to take place a month later, including “what songs to play on the night itself ”. He told police he “thought he killed Miss Rowe”. Ellis has denied murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by diminished responsibility.ARCHIVE: 6th week TT 2004last_img read more

Studio Cameroon at Pitt Rivers

first_imgBut between now and 29th June 2008, visitors are in for an additional treat in the form of the splendid ‘Studio Cameroon’ exhibition. Stretching along a short corridor to the right of the museum’s entrance, this features a selection of the portraits taken in ‘Studio Photo Jacques’. Established by Jacques Touselle in the town of Mbouda in Cameroon’s Western Highlands in 1970, the studio’s output encompasses a wide range of formats, a fact reflected in the exhibition, which includes photos for ID cards, marriage certificates, photos of friends and family groups, light-hearted portraits of individuals and of fashions. Moving from photo to photo the viewer notes the recurring backdrops and props used in the studio, a mixture of traditional and modernity, and above all a firm sense of the individuality of the subjects. Indeed, the real joy of ‘Studio Cameroon’ is found in the sense of Touselle capturing not just a person, but a ‘moment’.. Even the most composed of the photos – those taken for official documents – are full of feeling; a woman leans toward her husband, her forehead touching his, a young man stares confrontationally at the camera while in the next photo along a woman in the same universal passport photo pose gazes mournfully at the lens, a fearful look in her eyes. The way these are presented in their full original size, pre-cropping, situates them firmly in their context. We see glimpses of prints on the studio wall, pieces of lighting equipment intrude into the edges of pictures and in one, a wizened elderly gentleman squints at the lens while the eyes and fingers of the photographer’s assistant holding up the backdrop protrude into the top of the frame.‘Studio Photo Jacques’ becomes a window on provincial life in ‘70s and ‘80s Cameroon; a society urbanising, bureaucratising, and increasingly receptive to outside influences. Two young women in patterned gowns and headdresses proudly show off a handbag and cassette player, a boy with a mischievous grin balances a tray of cigarettes on his head, and a matriarch brandishes a large fly whip, a symbol of authority, with two gourds resting at her feet. One of the most charming portraits is that of a businessman dressed in a suit and carrying a walking stick. He could be waiting for a bus anywhere in the world were it not for the intricate pattern of beads that decorates the stick. The prop grounds him in the world outside the studio door. This is one of several portraits in which the lines and patterns of 1970s aesthetics are juxtaposed with the geometric designs of traditional artwork. Touselle works with subjects of all ages and classes, and his affection for the people of Mbouda is plain to see. Local costumes are set in arrangements and poses which heighten their timeless grace, and while a suave besuited gentleman gazes seriously into the distance, the painted lion on the backdrop behind him roars at the camera. The photos are a synthesis of artist and subject.Indeed, for all of the eclectic delights of the museum, the photos represent a very distinct approach to the portrayal of world customs and peoples. Whereas the museum’s collections group specimens of human behaviour thematically, disconnected from origins from which some were separated under questionable circumstances (such as the ornamental skulls ‘found’ on a ledge outside a wooden house-front by the donor), the exhibition offers an intimate, complete portrayal of its subject, firmly bound to its context. A visit to these engaging examples of two very different formats of anthropological understanding is truly fascinating – the Pitt Rivers is a peck o’ joy, and offers much more than just shrunken heads. by Jeremy CliffeAt the back of the dinosaur-filled skeletal structure of the Natural History Museum on South Parks Road, a short flight of stairs leads down into one of Oxford’s hidden wonders: the Pitt Rivers Museum. A huge totem pole looms over this cavernous space, which, whilst only a little larger than the Sheldonian Theatre, houses over half a million anthropological treasures. Silhouettes of the atrium’s ironwork frame lead the eye upwards to a curved roof resembling the upturned hull of a wooden galleon; with the eerie lighting this makes for a haunting atmosphere. But it is the impression of clutter (in the very best sense of the word) that strikes the visitor most – imagine an antiques market, a shaman’s store cupboard and a magpie’s nest all rolled into one.Founded in 1884 in accordance with the will of collector extraordinaire, General Augustus Pitt Rivers, this temple to bric-a-brac is almost impossible to pin down. It describes itself as a museum of ‘Anthropology and World Archaeology’, but the collections are far broader than is suggested by such a prosaic précis. A random selection of the objects encompassed includes snuff-taking equipment, Japanese theatrical masks, surgical instruments, astrological guides, zithers, tarot cards, and ballerina dolls made out of giant flies. This definition-defying multifariousness might explain why such a wondrous Aladdin’s cave is not better known amongst Oxonians. Where there is awareness of the Pitt Rivers, it is usually in the context of the museum’s high-profile and ethically-dubious display of shrunken human heads from the Upper Amazon.Yet once the morbid impulse to headhunt has been duly satisfied, a visit offers many unexpected joys. The densely displayed collections comprise far too many exhibits for the visitor to be thorough about his or her browsing, and the material precludes any logically ordered perusal. This leaves one free to dart between show cases according to whim. The labels are hand-written in copperplate script on yellowing paper, with archaic geographical references – Rhodesia, Ceylon, Zululand – and delightful descriptions, such as this comment on a card next to the famous ‘witch in a bottle’: ‘Obtained about 1915 from an old lady living in a village near Hove, Sussex. She remarked “and they do say there be a witch in it and if you let it out there it be a peck o’ trouble.”’last_img read more

The Local: Witches at The Purple Turtle

first_imghere’s something odd about Oxford students and Oxford music. On the one hand, as a bunch of predominantly white, middle- class youngsters, it’s no real surprise that the student body boasts a healthy population of skinny indie kids who like nothing better than dingy pubs and live bands. But when it comes to translating that passion into actually getting out there and sniffing out local talent, by and large there’s a disappointing apathy. And this is a shame, because we’re missing some real treasures. Witches are one of these. A six-piece indierock outfit, boasting glockenspiel, trumpet and synths, this lot have focused their efforts on regular live appearances around Oxford, before making their first tentative steps into the big bad world of London gigging. The band members cite influences as diverse as Sepultura, the Flaming Lips, Nirvana and Iron & Wine. Not that any of this really encapsulates their sound: as bassist Dan opines, ‘I think that’s it – we try and sound like bands and then we don’t. So, it doesn’t sound like we intend it to, but hopefully it does sound good.’ Later that night Witches treated the Purple Turtle to a downbeat but powerful set, their multi-layered instrumental parts vying for attention with forlorn lyrics that seem particularly fitting for the drizzle outside. ‘The music is its own entity,’ stresses singer Dave, ‘we’re not a lyrics-driven band’ – although Witches are not exactly lacking in lyrical prowess either. Altogether, this is a band you should check out, and they’re by no means the only hidden gem Oxford has to offer. Dave’s advice: ‘just pick up a copy of [invaluable local music mag] Nightshift and take a chance on a gig. Because it could actually be really good.’by Helena Zabalast_img read more

Pro-Vice Chancellor joins fee debate

first_imgOxford University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for Education echoed earlier calls by Vice Chancellor Andrew Hamilton, who suggested earlier this term that fee rises could be used to plug the gap in university funding.Pro-VC Dr Sally Mapstone told the Sutton Trust Advancing Access and Admissions Summit in London earlier this month, “We would be very interested in seeing the potential for a move to variable fees.”The comments were made after she was asked if she supported a move towards a system of truly variable fees, the Times Higher Education has reported.But Mapstone continued, “I think there are a couple of things that go with that. One is that price should never be an impediment to talent. The other is that when you look at the repayment mechanism, you’re looking very hard at income-contingent measures.”Speaking on behalf of Dr Mapstone, a spokesperson for the university told Cherwell, “Dr Mapstone’s comments speak for themselves and are consistent with what we have said in the past. They do not and are not intended to change the university’s position in any way”.He added, “The collegiate University has no set view on future fee levels.”Dr Sally Mapstone is Reader in Older Scots Literature, and Lecturer in English at St Hilda’s College. As the university’s Pro-Vice Chancellor for education, her responsibilities include admissions strategy and student support.Mapstone’s comments were made at the Sutton Trust admissions summit on Wednesday 13 November. The event, for the discussion of ways to improve access to elite universities for low and middle income students, was attended by around eighty academics from the US, UK and Europe, including heads of admissions at Oxford, Cambridge Harvard, Yale and MIT.Speaking with regards to Hamilton’s comments on the funding gap, the spokesperson continued, “There is no suggestion that the entire shortfall Oxford faces should be made up through fee increases, or that graduates will end up paying the whole cost of their education.They added, “Oxford University has always been clear that this significant funding gap needs to be addressed in a range of ways – including philanthropy. It is right that the University contributes towards the cost of teaching. Access must be regardless of finances.”last_img read more

Cyber experts encouraged to “redouble their efforts” following attacks

first_imgHowever, striking a tone of mutual responsibility, Professor Martin also conceded that it was up to experts like him to “redouble their efforts”. He argued that the excessive expectations of many experts had contributed to warnings being ignored.Professor Martin warned of increasingly dire consequences, if the issues continue to be neglected. Appliances from ovens to medical equipment are increasingly being connected to the internet, forming what is known as ‘the internet of things’.This trend means that cyberattacks will increasingly be able to cause damage that is physical rather than just informational, Professor Martin warned.“Internet of things devices are potentially dangerous in a way that our old-fashioned information systems and file servers are not. What if all the dashboards on the M25 suddenly demanded a $300 payment?”Not only are such devices capable of more harm if hacked, they are also more vulnerable to attack than conventional devices: “We’re rapidly deploying millions of new devices whose typical security characteristics are rather worse than those of a PC 15 years ago.”No breaches of the Oxford University network have been reported.Professor Martin praised the cybersecurity of the University, listing up-to-date systems and an enviable number of excellent staff among the system’s strengths: “Many organisations would be jealous of our numbers”.The professor of Systems Security went on to counsel against complacency, however, and recommended that students should not be afraid to ask difficult questions about how their data is handled.Colleges have reminded students to remain vigilant and to make sure that their devices are equipped with the latest anti-virus software and that their operating systems are also kept up to date with the latest protection software.The weekend’s attack on the NHS was not exclusive to the UK. FedEx were also targeted, as were Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s rail network.Security software manufacturers Avast say they have seen 57,000 infections in 99 countries. After a wave of cyber attacks that struck the world this week, Oxford experts have called on governments and computer users to take cybersecurity seriously.The attack, which started on Friday and affected businesses and public bodies across the globe, including NHS hospitals and GP surgeries in Oxfordshire, has left victims and experts wondering who was responsible for the failure to stop the breach.Responding to the cyber threats, Peter Knight, chief information and digital officer at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that security measures were in place to protect systems: “Our strong security measures are holding solid.“We continue to closely monitor the situation and have asked staff to be vigilant. Protecting patient information is our top priority. “We understand that NHS Digital has set up a dedicated incident line, and suppliers are working to find solutions to this ransomware outbreak,” he said.Dr Ravishankar Borgaonkar, Research Fellow at the Department of Computer Science, told Cherwell: “The whole incident shed light on the speed with which we are making our society digital and spending less on making them secure”, blaming the attacks on the “poor management of networks”.Andrew Martin, Professor of Systems Security at Kellogg College urged onlookers not to “blame the people who click”, arguing that rather than blaming the unscrupulous individual who clicks on a malicious email attachment, society should respond to such attacks by improving its security programming.As well as this, he discussed how modern systems must not be vulnerable to attacks that exploit one individual’s momentary inattention.Speaking to Cherwell this week, Professor Martin said: “Security experts have been anticipating things like this for years”. He called on the rest of society finally to take expert warnings seriously.last_img read more

Labour is dominating social media ahead of election, Oxford researchers find

first_imgThe Labour party is winning the social media battle ahead of election day, research by Oxford’s Internet Institute has this week shown.The study found that “hashtags such as #VoteLabour and #JezzWeCan are outperforming the likes of #VoteTory and #StrongAndStable”.However, the study also pointed out that ‘fake news’ is believed to account for around 13% of social media traffic.The University’s Internet Institute looked at over 1.3 million tweets posted between the 1 and 7 of May which used hashtags attached to the country’s main political parties as well as the election itself.Specifically, the study found that Labour’s tweets made up 39.7 per cent of party-specific tweets, as opposed to 26 per cent for the Conservative Party, 9.6 per cent for UKIP and 5.7 per cent for the Liberal Democrats.Twitter mentions for Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP, which is looking to replicate its 2-15 electoral success this week, made up 19 per cent of party-specific tweets.The study also established that over 12 per cent of political tweets are posted by bots (automated accounts). 21,000 of these tweets were for Labour, compared to only 13,400 for the Tories.Hannah Taylor, co-Chair of Oxford University Labour Club told Cherwell: “Labour’s dominance of social media is unsurprising given our huge popularity with young people. Whilst it is hard to tell from these studies whether the content is positive, I am optimistic that this shows how Corbyn has sparked conversation online by offering a real, positive alternative.”Meanwhile, William Rees-Mogg, Oxford University Conservative Association President, was more skeptical of the findings, telling Cherwell: “Twitter is more of an echo chamber for the views of certain politically engaged people than it is representative of the views of the general public, as evidenced by the over-representation of the SNP. We should make predictions on the basis of data gathered on the doorstep, not hot air and hashtags.”The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) have been contacted for comment.last_img read more

Kofi Annan in Mansfield to open new centre

first_imgKofi Annan visited Oxford this afternoon, speaking as a guest of of honour at the opening ceremony of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights.The Institute, which is part of the University’s Law Faculty, has been housed in Mansfield College since October 2017. It aims to conduct research in the field of human rights law and encourage public engagement in human rights issues.The Institute states that part of its mission will be to “establish a vibrant community of graduate students”, as well as “host outstanding scholars of law and other disciplines”.The initial idea for the Institute came from human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, who will leave her position as Principal of Mansfield College at the end of the academic year.The new institute will be directed by Professor Kate O’Reagan, a legal practitioner and scholar, who was appointed by Nelson Mandela to be a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 1994.Both Kennedy and O’Reagan spoke at the ceremony, with the chancellor of the University, Lord Patten, also making a speech.Baroness Kennedy thanked the donors to the institute, who were gathered to watch the ceremony, whilst Lord Patten paid tribute to Mansfield College “for having the energy to push this project through”.last_img read more

Mid-States Corridor Project Tier 1 Environmental Study August Public Meetings Scheduled

first_img FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare The Mid-States Corridor Project examines the concept of an improved highway connection in southwest Indiana. The Mid-States Corridor is anticipated to begin at the William H. Natcher Bridge crossing of the Ohio River near Rockport, continue generally through the Huntingburg and Jasper area and extend north to connect to Interstate 69 (either directly or via SR 37).The Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority (RDA) and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) have started a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for major construction projects that will include federal funding.The Tier 1 EIS will include the following:Analysis and comparison of benefits, impacts and costs of a range of reasonable options to identify a preferred corridor for the proposed facilityAssessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of each corridor, along with consideration of ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate impactsIdentification of the project’s purpose and need, and consideration of a variety of options to meet both, including improvements to and use of existing facilities and construction of new roadway facilitiesAnalysis of a no-build alternative to serve as a baseline for comparisonThe Tier 1 EIS is expected to take just over two years to complete with a Record of Decision (ROD) expected in summer 2021. The ROD is the Federal Highway Administration’s final approval of the preferred corridor.After a Tier 1 ROD, a more detailed Tier 2 environmental study will determine specific alignments and preferred alternatives within the selected Tier 1 corridor.Public Meetings ScheduledPublic involvement is a key part of the environmental study process. The first of several public meetings are planned for early August. The meetings will introduce members of the community to the Mid-States Corridor Project, explain the tiered study approach, describe the potential preliminary corridors and introduce ways for the public to stay informed and provide feedback.Meetings are planned for Washington, French Lick and Jasper at the following locations:Monday, Aug. 5: Washington High School               608 E. Walnut St., Washington, INAuditorium (Enter through Gate 4 off 7th St.)5:30pm to 7:00pm (local time)Tuesday Aug. 6: Springs Valley High School326 S. Larry Bird Blvd., French Lick, INCafeteria at 5:30pm to 7:00pm (local time)Thursday, Aug. 8: Jasper High School1600 St. Charles St., Jasper INCafeteria at 5:30pm to 7:00pm (local time)Each meeting feature an open house format. A short project presentation is planned for 6 p.m. each evening. Project team members will be at multiple stations to answer questions and comment cards will be available to offer public input. Additional public meetings will be held at project milestones.Find more information regarding the Mid-States Corridor project including how to sign up for e-newsletters, text alerts, social media updates and to learn about the project office location/hours of operation please visit www.midstatescorridor.com.Project Office Location  A Mid-States Corridor project office is located at Vincennes University Jasper Campus. The office is in the Administration Building and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET, and by appointment. A project representative will be available during office hours to answer questions, and handouts and displays from the public meetings will be on site.Mid-State Corridor Project OfficeVincennes University Jasper Campus in Administration Building, Room 216850 College Ave. in Jasper, IN 47546Members of the community can reach the project office by calling 812-482-3116. There are several ways to follow project progress, ask questions and offer feedback.Find project information online at www.midstatescorridor.com.Sign up for project e-newsletters on the website.Receive project text alerts by texting “midstates” to 33222.Email questions and comments to [email protected] and updates are also provided on social media, Facebook (Mid-States Corridor) and Twitter (@MidStatesStudy).The Mid-States Corridor Project examines the concept of an improved highway connection in Southwest Indiana. The Mid-States Corridor Regional Development Authority and the Indiana Department of Transportation are conducting the required Tier 1 Environmental Study for the project to determine a preferred corridor. Find more information at www.midstatescorridor.com.last_img read more

Holcomb Says He Supports Gaming Commission Investigation Into Centaur

first_imgGov. Eric Holcomb discusses the plans for improvement that DCS will undergo.Photo by Brynna Sentel, TheStatehouseFile.com Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday said he supports the Indiana Gaming Commission’s investigation into casino executives who have been implicated in a federal campaign finance scheme.Centaur Gaming, which operated the state’s two horse-track racing casinos in Shelbyville and Anderson until selling the properties to Caesars Entertainment in 2018, has been linked to a scheme that involved illegally funneling thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to an Indiana congressional candidate and others in 2015.Court documents do not name Centaur but refer to “Company A” as an Indianapolis “gaming” company. The documents also say the vice president and general counsel for that company, referred to as “Person A,” helped coordinate the scheme.The Indiana Gaming Commission said on Friday that it understands the company referenced in the court documents to be Centaur. John Keeler served as vice president and general counsel for Centaur.Keeler and Rod Ratcliff, former CEO and chairman of Centaur, are still actively involved in Indiana gambling, but under a different company name — Spectacle Entertainment.Spectacle was established in late 2018 when it acquired the two casinos in Gary. After successfully lobbying the Indiana General Assembly in 2019, Spectacle received permission to construct a new inland casino in Gary and close the riverboats. The new casino is currently under construction.Spectacle is also the only applicant for a new Terre Haute casino license. The gaming commission had been expected to award the license to Spectacle at its Feb. 7 meeting, but that meeting has now been postponed for an investigation.“We need clarity, and we’ll get it,” Holcomb said.Holcomb said it’s the commission’s job to investigate the allegations, and he would wait for the results of that probe before commenting on what should happen next.“You’re asking me to comment on something that has yet to be resolved from the investigation perspective,” Holcomb said. “I don’t want to interfere with that investigation in any way whatsoever.”Last year, Holcomb came under scrutiny for taking two private flights provided by Ratcliff and not disclosing the flights on his 2018 financial disclosure statement. The flights occurred while Ratcliff was lobbying to change state law to allow for the new Gary casino. Holcomb was later cleared of any ethical violation, as the flights were considered in-kind gifts to the Republican Governors Association.The latest campaign finance allegations against Centaur and Keeler were made public last week after Republic strategist Chip O’Neil, who worked as vice president for the Strategic Campaign Group, pleaded guilty to conspiracy in federal court in Virginia and admitted to funneling money from an Indianapolis gaming company to an Indiana congressional candidate.The candidate is not named in court documents, but Federal Election Commission campaign finance records indicate the candidate is former Republican state Sen. Brent Waltz, who unsuccessfully ran for Indiana’s 9th Congressional District in 2016.According to court documents, Company A (believed to be Centaur) signed a contract with Strategic Campaign Group for “services related to U.S. presidential campaigns and campaign finance law” and paid the consulting firm $38,500.O’Neil then used that money to reimburse several individuals who served as conduits, including himself and his girlfriend at the time, for contributions they made to Waltz’s campaign.Court documents say the scheme was meant to avoid individual campaign contribution limits, get around the prohibition on corporate donations to federal office candidates and hide the fact that the money was coming from the gaming company.According to court documents, this all occurred in the direction of Person A, believed to be of Keeler.At least $16,200 went to Waltz’s campaign through six donations that are specified in court documents, and the donations caused his campaign to “unwittingly file false campaign finance reports.”Waltz told IBJ that he believed all his campaign contributions were legal and that he’s cooperating with the investigation.In a statement released Friday, Spectacle said it is cooperating with the gaming commission’s investigation.“We take such matters very seriously and we will share more information should additional details become available,” the statement read.FOOTNOTE: Today’s “READERS POLL” question is: Would you spend $251,000 of your own money to purchase and renovated a house located at 101 East Tennesse Street?FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more