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May 10, 2011

Wikinews interviews evicted London Metropolitan University occupier

Wikinews interviews evicted London Metropolitan University occupier

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Orion Building, hosting London Metropolitan University’s Graduate Centre.
Image: Alan Stanton.

A group of students at London Metropolitan University (LMU) who had been occupying the graduate centre at their university since the afternoon of Wednesday May 4 were evicted just before midnight on Monday by police, university security and private bailiffs.

Wikinews, in contact with the occupiers, obtained a first-hand interview with one of the occupiers less than two hours after the occupation ended. The students staged the occupation in protest against cutbacks to courses at the university which, if enacted, would close 70% of the courses the university offers.

John Hughes, 35, a mature student born in the North London borough of Hackney and living in Brixton, was one of over twenty students who were sleeping overnight in the university building. A second-year student in sociology and international development, one of the courses at risk, Hughes described the police intervention at around 11:40pm:

As I came in the area we were occupying they came straight in the door…There was no warning. […] We were served the injunction on the spot by two county court sheriffs, four police officers, ten bailiffs and one member of London Met security. We said, ‘we need time to read this’. We were given ten minutes to read it and take our stuff.

London Met logo.

The occupiers have not had access to legal advice, although they have had “a bit of advice from some people who are not actually lawyers”. The occupiers complain they were given no notice of the injunction and that it is inaccurate, naming at least one person “who hadn’t committed trespass at all”.

The eviction also pre-empts an agreement, negotiated by London Metropolitan University Students’ Union president Claire Locke, for LMU vice-chancellor Malcolm Gillies to meet with the occupation on Tuesday morning. The occupiers feel certain now that Gillies’ office made this agreement with the Students’ Union and occupiers in bad faith, knowing that an injunction evicting the occupation would be served before then.

The injunction follows a night after the occupation was itself invaded by members of a private security firm hired by the university management. In the early hours of Monday morning, occupiers say security staff kicked open the doors and entered an area where people were sleeping. Security personnel say an alarm was going off in the area; occupiers say there was no such alarm. Private security have also been sexually harassing and verbally intimidating the occupiers, Hughes alleges. “One of the members of the security team said through the doors to a young lady, ‘you should put up a picture of yourself, something that’s more sexy’ and ‘I’m quite a big bloke, and if I wanted to come into the occupation I would. Two young ladies are not going to stop me.'” Occupiers have also heard some racist comments from private security; the occupiers themselves are “a very mixed group” of all ages and ethnicities, “some from London, some from outside London, working class and some middle class.”

If the occupation had not been evicted, Hughes says they could have held out. “We had water, food and drinks for a while. I’m not sure for how long.” Students at Aberystwyth University in Wales occupied two rooms at their university for over a month earlier this year.



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Nothing honourable in honour killings, says Indian court

Filed under: Archived,India — admin @ 5:00 am

Nothing honourable in honour killings, says Indian court

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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India’s Supreme Court has labelled honour killings a “slur on the nation,” and warned the death penalty will await those found guilty of the crime. The court finds “nothing honourable about honour killings.”

Cquote1.svg It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on the nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilised behaviour. All persons who are planning to perpetrate honour killings should know that gallows await them. Cquote2.svg

—Justice Markandey Katju

An independent study says each year an estimated 900 people are murdered in India for bringing dishonour to their families, usually by falling in love and marrying outside their caste or within their sub-caste. Honour killings, accepted as a cultural tradition in some parts of India, are normally punished with life imprisonment. But Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra have now called for a tougher stance, directing courts throughout India to use capital punishment in their sentencing.

“It is time to stamp out these barbaric, feudal practices which are a slur on the nation. This is necessary as a deterrent for such outrageous, uncivilised behaviour. All persons who are planning to perpetrate honour killings should know that gallows await them,” Justice Katju said.

The crack-down came yesterday, as the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal to lessen the life imprisonment of Bhagwan Dass. The man strangled his married daughter to death with wire after discovering she was in an incestuous affair.

The Supreme Court also condemned the traditional village councils who endorse these honour killings and order them to be carried out.



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Four U.N. staff dead after plane crash in Bolivia

Four U.N. staff dead after plane crash in Bolivia

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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Los Yungas is the largest producer of coca in Bolivia.
Image: Elias Bizannes.

Six people, including four U.N. staff working for the anti-narcotics department in Bolivia, have been killed in a plane crash in a remote area in the west of the country.

Two Bolivian military pilots are also among those killed in the accident, which happened in the Los Yungas area, northeast of the capital city, La Paz. The aircraft had been missing since Thursday and was found on Saturday morning according to a general in the Bolivian Air Force, who added the light Cessna aircraft hit a tall tree and then impacted the ground.

Robert Brockmann, a U.N. spokesperson in Bolivia, said the aircraft “was completely destroyed and burned.” Investigators have not yet determined what caused the accident, but Brockmann said the aircraft was in an area with overgrown trees and steep cliffs.

The bodies of the pilots and U.N. personnel, who had been monitoring the transport of coca—a plant used to make cocaine—over several months, have yet to be recovered because of the remote location of the crash site. “The place is completly inaccessible in a very tall forest,” the general said.



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Australian airline Qantas faces engineers strike

Filed under: Archived,Australia — admin @ 5:00 am

Australian airline Qantas faces engineers strike

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Australia
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File photograph of a Qantas aircraft.
Image: Superjumbo.

Engineers from the Australian airline Qantas are to hold a one-hour strike on Friday amid fears over job security. The strike will likely cause disruption for thousands of passengers.

The strike was called after negotiations between the ALAEA, an engineers’ union, and the airline, broke down. “What interests us more is job security, and for aircraft engineers that means simply being able to carry out aircraft maintenance in Australia,” Steve Purvinas, the secretary of the ALAEA, said. It is likely the strike will be the first in a line of industrial action.

Purvinas said last-ditch negotiations between the ALAEA and Qantas before a Fair Work Australia judge yesterday had “hit a brick wall.” Analysts say the strike will probably have a huge impact on Qantas flights. The airline said it was “extremely disappointed” at the strike action but said disruption would be minimal. “We will not be able to negotiate on some of the demands they have put forward, they are simply unacceptable,” an airline spokesperson said.

The ALAEA said the main concern was that Qantas was outsourcing more work overseas and maintenance checks on aircraft are becoming less regular. Pervinas said Qantas engineers were “sick of the systematic dismantling of our industry by Qantas management.”



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This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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