Updates

Hamas under pressure to deliver improvements in Gaza

Al Jazeera - 3 hours 44 min ago
Reopening of Rafah crossing by Egypt seen as only apparent concession after weeks of deadly protests at Israel's fence.
Categories: Media

Erdogan sets out AK Party platform for upcoming election

Al Jazeera - 3 hours 47 min ago
Turkish leader makes economic prosperity his key pledge as he announces his party's plan for the country's future.
Categories: Media

Mother's fury after her altar boy son, 14, is sent home from school

Daily Mail - 3 hours 48 min ago
Casey Healy, pictured, was sent home from the St Thomas More Language College in Chelsea west London because of his hair which he had cut in advance of his brother's First Holy Communion.
Categories: Media

NASA wants to build a moon base to make rocket fuel for trip to Mars

Daily Mail - 3 hours 48 min ago
Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) missions aim to establish a ‘sustainable presence’ on the moon, paving the way for science and technology missions and, ultimately, human exploration.
Categories: Media

Morgan Freeman apologizes after being accused of sexual harassment by eight women

Daily Mail - 3 hours 49 min ago
The accusations include claims from a young production assistant who alleges Freeman, 80, tried to lift up her skirt during a 2015 encounter.
Categories: Media

Michelle Obama reveals the cover of her new memoir BECOMING

Daily Mail - 3 hours 51 min ago
The Former First Lady's memoir is set to release in November. She took to social media Thursday to release the book cover and photos of her wedding day, college and her childhood.
Categories: Media

Bangladesh sewer cleaners dive into filth to claw out blockages for just £7.50 a day

Daily Mail - 3 hours 51 min ago
Dozens of sewer cleaners die every year in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka as they dive into putrid drains to clear blockages with a stick or just their bare hands with no protective gear.
Categories: Media

Arrested Development actor 'incredibly embarrassed' after 'mansplaining' to co-star

Canberra Times - 3 hours 52 min ago
In an incredibly raw interview, cast member Jessica Walter broke down in tears while talking about being verbally abused on set.
Categories: Media

Arrested Development actor 'incredibly embarrassed' after 'mansplaining' to co-star

Sydney Morning Herald - 3 hours 52 min ago
In an incredibly raw interview, cast member Jessica Walter broke down in tears while talking about being verbally abused on set.
Categories: Media

Champions League final stream could be under threat from ‘sophisticated’ malware strain, say experts

Daily Mail - 3 hours 52 min ago
Coverage of the Champions League final could be disrupted by a ‘sophisticated’ new strain of malware, which has infected half a million routers worldwide, security experts have warned.
Categories: Media

Hawaii family find 10-foot volcano crack has opened up under home

Daily Mail - 3 hours 53 min ago
A heartbroken family forced to evacuate when Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupted have returned home to find their property perched dangerously on top of a massive 10-foot wide crack.
Categories: Media

China tests DRIVERLESS car-sharing scheme

Daily Mail - 3 hours 53 min ago
Six autopilot cars were launched in a one-month trial of the car-sharing programme in Chongqing city, south-west China, reportedly making it the country's first driverless car sharing scheme.
Categories: Media

FactCheck: Oxford is actually more likely to offer a place to the best black candidates

Channel 4 News - 3 hours 53 min ago

Oxford University published its latest admission statistics this week.

In a country where seven out the last 10 Prime Ministers went to Oxford, the question of who gets to attend our elite universities is obviously massively important.

The headline figure showed that 1.9 per cent of UK students admitted to Oxford in 2017 were black. Black people made up around 3 per cent of the UK population in 2011, according to the latest census.

Mr Lammy called the university a “bastion of entrenched wealthy, upper-class, white, southern privilege” and called for “systemic change”.

Oxford denies any discrimination in its selection process but has announced an increase in places on spring and summer schools designed to encourage more applications from under-privileged schoolchildren.

Oxford’s director of undergraduate admissions, Samina Khan, said: “We are not getting the right number of black people with the talent to apply to us and that is why we are pushing very hard on our outreach activity.”

FactCheck looked at this issue last year, but let’s check out the latest stats and see if we can figure out what’s going on at Oxford.

 

How many black pupils apply?

Oxford can only deal with pupils who apply in the first place. In 2017, 396 UK-domiciled black people (including African, Caribbean and “other”) applied for an undergraduate place at the university out of 12,583.

You can check out the detailed admissions stats here.

That’s about 3 per cent of all applications – roughly in line with the percentage of black people who live in the UK.

But as a raw number, it’s very small. And then Oxford only offers places to a fraction of those applicants – 65 people in 2017.

And then only some of those students who get offers will only take up a place. Last year the number was just 48.

So low admissions means the final number of black students who actually attend Oxford is always likely to be very small, even if you leave aside any question of bias or prejudice.

Scatter these black students among the the 30-odd Oxford colleges that take undergraduates, and it becomes easier to see colleges might have tiny numbers – or even none at all in some years – without this necessarily being evidence of racism.

How many get offers?

This is the bit the university has the most control over, and it’s where we would expect to find evidence of systemic bias.

On the face of it, black students do appear to get a raw deal at the offers stage: only about 16 per cent of black applicants receive an offer, compared to 26 per cent of white applicants.

But there’s a complicating factor…

Black students are choosing the most competitive courses

You’re less likely to get an offer if you apply for an over-subscribed subject, where competition for places is higher. And black students are much more likely to apply for the most popular courses than for niche subjects with less competition.

Oxford says that between 2015 and 2017, 41 per cent of applications from black pupils were for Medicine and Law, compared to about 12 per cent for white students.

To really see whether black students are being discriminated against, you need to allow for the courses people apply for.

And you need to allow for their predicted grades, to make sure we are making a fair comparison between pupils of similar academic attainment.

Oxford is more likely to offer a place to black candidates, once you allow for course and grades

Ucas is the agency that runs the university applications process.

Its analysis shows that a black applicant to Oxford is very slightly more (0.5 per cent) likely to receive an offer than the average applicant who applies for the same course and has the same predicted grades. (Here – page 12)

But if black pupils are more likely to get offers, why do they end up being under-represented at the university?

Black students are more likely to miss their grades

Ucas has also noted a long-term trend of black pupils being more likely than others to miss their predicted A-level grades:

This may explain why, from 2015 to 2017, black applicants to Oxford were less likely than people from other ethnic groups to take up a place after getting an offer.

We can’t say for sure that missing grades is the biggest factor here, but common sense suggests that people who apply to Oxford want to go there, and tend to take up places if they can.

Factor actual achievement at A-level into the equation, and there’s less evidence of inequality at Oxford.

In 2017 1.9 per cent of Oxford students were black. A similar proportion of UK pupils who got three As at A-level were black in the latest year we know about (1.8 per cent in 2015).

Oxford is not the whitest university

Readers who have been taking an interest in this story on social media have asked us how Oxford compares to other UK universities for racial diversity.

Unfortunately the latest stats are for 2016, not 2017, and there are slight differences in the numbers put out by Oxford that we haven’t been able to get to the bottom of.

But the HESA figures cover the whole UK higher education sector, and make for interesting reading.

Oxford is certainly down at the lower end of the scale, with 1.2 per cent black students in 2016, when the UK average was 7.2 per cent.

Three members of the 24-strong Russell Group of elite universities had a smaller proportion of black undergraduates: Queens in Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

But if you include all ethnic minority students, nine Russell Group universities have fewer non-white students than Oxford. (And it’s interesting to note that Cambridge is fairly close to the national average.)

Categories: Media

California assisted suicide law is unconstitutional, decision upheld by appeals court.

Alex Schadenberg - 3 hours 57 min ago
Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, Riverside Superior Court Judge, Daniel Ottolia, overturned the California assisted suicide law when he ruled that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act. 

California passed the state's assisted suicide law in a special health care funding session after the legislature failed to pass the assisted suicide bill in its normal session.

Judge Ottolia, held that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”


More great news: 
The Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision. Therefore at this time the assisted suicide law is not in effect in California.

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, filed an appeal of the decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal. According to the LA Times Becerra argued that:
"The enactment fell within the scope of the special session called, in part, to consider efforts to 'improve the efficiency and efficacy of the health care system ... and improve the health of Californians,' "
Yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision. NPR News reported:
California's Fourth District Court of Appeals on Wednesday refused to stay last week's decision by the Riverside County Superior Court, which ruled that state lawmakers should not have passed the law during a special session on health care funding.Kaiser Health News reported that:
An appeals court on Wednesday refused to block a court decision that said a California law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives was passed illegally. California's 4th District Court of Appeal refused to grant an immediate stay requested by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra. However, the court gave Becerra and other parties time to "show cause" — that is, provide more arguments as to why the court should grant the stay and suspend the lower court ruling. There was no immediate comment from Becerra's office. (5/23)The Court of Appeals stated in the decision that the majority agreed with denying an immediate stay of the decision while the minority wanted to grant an immediate stay of the decision. Therefore the Court of Appeals gave "real parties" 25 days to file a formal return as to why a stay should be granted.
Since the California assisted suicide law was declared unconstitutional in how it was implemented and the Court of Appeals refused to stay the decision, therefore the California assisted suicide law is currently not in effect.
Compassion & Choices, a leading assisted suicide lobby group, states, in their press release, that the law remains in effect, despite the appeal court ruling.
I am convinced that C & C is baiting pro-assisted suicide doctors to continue prescribing lethal drugs to enable them to create a legal challenge to the decision that correctly found that the California assisted suicide law is unconstitutional.
Life Legal Defense Foundation is an organization working to prevent assisted suicide in California.
Categories: Discussion

Porn star Stormy Daniels 'offered £750k to go on CBB' 

Daily Mail - 3 hours 57 min ago
TV bosses are reportedly trying to convince Stormy Daniels, who says she had sex with Trump in a hotel room in 2006, to go on the Channel 5 show because they think she will boost ratings
Categories: Media

Prime Minister conducts some delicate diplomacy with her own party

Channel 4 News - 3 hours 58 min ago

After a meeting with pro-Remain MPs threatening to rebel and defeat the government over Brexit, Mrs May met with pro-Brexit MPs also threatening to rebel and defeat the government over Brexit.

Mrs May has to calculate which side really means it and which side she is more in agreement with. She must then discover whether the EU will entertain the solution that guides her towards.

Pro-Remain MPs say they got little wind in the meeting of the direction of travel and Mrs May said there would be more information in a briefing paper on the government’s proposed backstop proposal probably in the week beginning June 4th when the Commons returns from a week long break.

For now though Mrs May is holding her cards close to her chest. “We did not get as much evidence [of a change of position] as we might have expected,” one MP said. But the MP said that didn’t mean there wasn’t still an expectation that Mrs May was moving in their direction.

Pro-Remain MPs are threatening to combine with opposition MPs to defeat the government on four or five amendments that were inserted into the Withdrawal Bill by the House of Lords. The government will write some of its own suggested replacement amendments in some cases. It may accept some of the Lords’ amendments – the Henry VIII clauses amendment is a front-line candidate for that.

The pro-Brexit ERG group of MPs sent a small delegation to listen to the PM a little later in the afternoon. Some in that grouping (though not necessarily the ones who walked down Downing Street today) say they are so angry at signs of the PM going soft on Brexit that they are ready to put in letters demanding a vote of no confidence in her as party leader. They know that others mutter they’d never dare because their best chances of getting Brexit may still rest with Mrs May staying in charge at no.10. So they rattle the cage and rage louder and louder giving the Prime Minister a raucous stereo effect and a nerve-wracking few weeks.

And there’s the question of whether the EU will go along with the emerging government plan to convert the backstop idea aligning Northern Ireland with the EU rules to an approach for the whole UK. One senior EU official briefed today that if that was what the government in London was thinking “they can think again.” It risked, the official said, being a backdoor into the Single Market and was unacceptable. It was a briefing heavily peppered with the word “fantasy.”

Theresa May has cannon to the right, to the left and behind her as she enters the Bank Holiday recess.

Categories: Media

Mark Zuckerberg is accused of 'weaponizing' Facebook user data

Daily Mail - 3 hours 59 min ago
Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of 'weaponizing' user data by a former California startup Six4Three who are suing Facebook after their app Pikinis failed in 2015.
Categories: Media

Family are hit by triple tragedy as young father is found dead after losing both of his step-sisters

Daily Mail - 4 hours 51 sec ago
David Llewellyn, 25, was found dead at home in Bridgend, Wales 17 days after the death of his step-sister Jessica Cowdery in November 2017, whose own sister died three-years-ago.
Categories: Media

Spain issue international arrest warrant out for rapper whose songs 'glorify terrorism'

Daily Mail - 4 hours 1 min ago
Valtonyc, who recently told concertgoers 'kill a f**king Civil Guard (police) officer tonight', was found guilty of writing offensive lyrics about the king back in 2012. Spain has launched a manhunt for the rapper.
Categories: Media

Man hid six phones inside his bottom before deliberately getting arrested in Israel

Daily Mail - 4 hours 2 min ago
Israeli border police have arrested a man who was deliberately trying to get caught so he could disperse six phones to prison inmates - by hiding them in his bottom.
Categories: Media

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