By Laura Pitel UNION President Luke Tryl has been forced to apologise for a “preposterous” publicity campaign that has been accused of discriminating against women.The series of posters, found in the entrance to the main Union building and put up in college JCRs, includes photographs of Jeremy Clarkson, Michael Howard, Trevor McDonald, Boris Johnson, Pierce Brosnan and Winston Churchill, but not a single female speaker.The posters have been condemned by women and womens’ groups across the University. Maegan Chadwick-Dobson, PR Officer for Oxford Women in Politics (Oxwip) said, “Oxwip are dissapointed that the Union has decided to advertise itself in this way.“As a society that was set up in 2004, partly in response to the Union’s lack of female speakers, we feel that these advertisements both neglect the women who have addressed the Union over the years and, furthermore, dissuade a new cohort of female talent from making their contribution to the Society.”OUSU Vice President (Women) Hannah Roe criticised one of the posters that advertised “world statesmen from only £99”. She said, “Benazir Bhutto (twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan) was actually a Union President, so there should be more awareness that women are heads of state too.“Many organisations put special provisions in place to ensure that their diversity is part of their practices and old-fashioned cultures are changed, from the ‘Women’s networks’ of the ABC companies to the Ministers for Women in different governments. “At the very least, I imagine the Union will now write some kind of guidelines for their advertising,” she added.Third-year Wadham student Naomi Hirst tore down the poster she found in her JCR. “It’s a preposterous image, giving a false image of not only the Union but, by extension, the University. It’s irritating that this is the image of the University that freshers are presented with,” she said.Hirst is not a member of the Union herself and said that she felt “vindicated” after seeing the posters. “This justifies every reason why I didn’t join,” she said.Union President Luke Tryl described the incident as “a mishap and an oversight”. He said, “It certainly doesn’t represent any kind of institutional bias within the Union.“I apologise for the oversight: it was organised by a junior officer, not myself, and we will be putting it right in future poster campaigns. I’m very keen that the Union is open and accessible. Three of our officers are women and we have equal numbers of male and female members.”President Elect Emily Partington also defended the Union, saying, “These days people don’t have to worry about feeling subjugated. If you look at the termcard you can see that there are a lot of women involved in the Union.”She claimed that being a woman had not impeded her rise within the Society in any way. “I’ve had incredible support from of a lot the men and women involved in the Union,” she said. The Michaelmas termcard details 14 male and 14 female speakers due to speak.Prominent women who have spoken at the Union in the past include Mother Theresa, Cherie Booth and Judi Dench.
The threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) since Republicans took over the White House, the US House and Senate, ratcheted up on Monday when Republicans in the US House released a proposed bill titled, the American Health Care Act.At first perusal, the bill seem a revision of the Affordable Care Act, but on closer look the Republican bill guts crucial provision of the existing healthcare law.Obviously, in an attempt to strike a compromise with Democrats opposed to repealing Obamacare, and appease millions of Americans protesting any pending repeal, the proposed bill maintains popular Obamacare provisions.These provisions include continuing to provide health insurance to young adults up to age-26 on their parent’s plan. It also would continue offering insurance coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions.However, the bill would seek to deny Medical Expansion, a very important provision of Obamacare, to millions of low-income Americans as of 2020. This would appease Republican governors like Florida’s Rick Scott who has stubbornly refused expanding Medicaid to low-income Floridians despite the provisions under the ACA, that would provide the state with millions of federal dollars.Under the proposed Republican bill, when Medicaid is frozen in 2020, the federal government would replace it with state grants to supplement state’s healthcare and private insurance programs. Low-income residents would receive refundable tax-credits to purchase health insurance market. This is a futile proposal which would remove health coverage from millions. Refundable tax credits to people earning low income could hardly purchase any significant health coverage.The core of Obamacare is to offer health insurance to people who cannot afford the coverage. The opposition must be strong and relentless to ensure Medicaid Expansion is retained long-term in any new federal healthcare law.Four Republican Senators are to be commended for indicating their opposition to the House proposal to phase out Medicaid Expansion. Senators Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelly Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardener of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska informed Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell they are concerned “any poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services.” That’s an appropriate summary why the proposed bill must be vehemently opposed, and sends a message to Florida’s representatives in the House and Senate.It’s estimated over 12 million Americans, including children, have benefitted from expansion to Medicaid under Obamacare. It would be immoral, and an atrocity, to see the majority of these Americans lose health coverage.While the bill proposes ending Medicaid Expansion, it also proposes to cap tax credits currently provided under Obamacare. The Republicans argue wealthy Americans should not qualify for the tax credit, so instead of being tagged to income the credit would be tagged to age. Under the proposals older Americans would receive tax credits ranging from $2,000 to $4,000 to help them pay for health coverage. Tax credits would be phased out for individuals who make over $75,000 annually, and households with incomes over $150,000.However, with health insurance to be sold on an open market rather than through the controlled federal marketplace several people who were able to purchase insurance, especially the higher-end health coverage. with the assistance of tax-credits would be hard pressed to purchase insurance.The new proposal also includes a plan to defund Planned Parenthood for a year. This is another essential program benefitting not only women, but low-income women, who cannot afford care like critical cancer screenings and pre-natal care, available at low cost or free at Planned Parenthood clinics. One year without funding could force several of these clinics to close.Among other provisions the proposed bill would remove the mandate for every American to have health insurance.One wonders if the proposed Republican bill is a serious attempt, or a means of testing the reaction to the changes proposed. Some provisions are already displeasing to conservative and moderate Republicans. Despite the attempts to preserve two key provisions of Obamacare, this proposal must be totally opposed by all Congressional Democrats.
The Black Satellites have cancelled their proposed trip to Barcelona, Spain to camp ahead of this year’s Africa U-20 Championship due to CAF’s decision to withdraw Libya as hosts of the continental competition.CAF took the decision because of the political unrest in the North African country and is set to announce a new host for the tournament by close of week.The African football governing body is also expected to postpone the tournament date to give the yet-to-be-named host adequate time to organize the competition.As a result, the Black Satellites have been forced to change the date and venue for their pre-tournament camping.The Chairman of the Black Satellites Management Committee, Mr George Anagblah, says the current situation has affected Ghana’s preparations for the competition.He said the decision as to where to camp for the pre-tournament preparations will be made as soon as the host nation is announced. Source: Joy Sports/Ghana