Redbrick on the week

New Democracy likely to win Greek elections According to official projections, Greece’s right-wing New Democracy party has a narrow lead over its left-wing rivals after parliamentary elections

New Democracy likely to win Greek elections

According to official projections, Greece's right-wing New Democracy party has a narrow lead over its left-wing rivals after parliamentary elections. With 18% of votes counted, the projections put New Democracy on 29.5% of the vote (128 seats), Syriza on 27.1% (72) and Pasok on 12.3% (33). New Democracy broadly supports a modified European bailout deal whereas the Syriza party opposes the measure. If the projections from the interior ministry are proved correct, New Democracy should be able to build a majority coalition, benefiting from a rule which gives the leading party 50 extra seats in the 300-seat chamber. The election is the second in six weeks, called after a vote on 6th May proved inconclusive. On that occasion, each of the main parties tried but failed to form a coalition government.


Iraq bomb attacks kill 84

A series of bomb attacks in Iraq killed 84 people and injured nearly 300 others, marking the worst attack in the country since the withdrawal of the US military in late 2011. Explosions took place in ten areas of the capital Baghdad, many killing pilgrims participating in a Shia religious festival. Other attacks were directed at the authorities. Describing the attacks, a Baghdad policeman said, ‘A group of pilgrims were walking and passed by a tent offering food and drinks when suddenly a car exploded near them. People were running away covered with blood and bodies were scattered on the ground.’ Those responsible for the attacks have not yet been identified, but Sunni insurgents linked with al-Qaeda have targeted Shia Muslims in the past.


Olympics tickets sold on black market

The International Olympic Committee has begun an investigation into claims Olympics representatives were willing to sell thousands of tickets for the London Games on the black market. The IOC's ruling executive board met after fresh claims by The Sunday Times involving more than 50 countries. Tickets for top events were said to be priced at up to 10 times face value. Former LibDem leader Sir Menzies Campbell, a member of the Olympic Board, called for offending countries to lose future allocations of tickets. He said it was the responsibility of the IOC to regulate ticket allocations to member countries and was ‘not at the discretion of the London organisers’. The Sunday Times has submitted a dossier of evidence detailing claims that Olympic officials and agents had been caught selling thousands of tickets on the black market for up to 10 times their face value.


Anorexia woman force-fed

A woman from Wales who wanted to be allowed to die after suffering from anorexia will be force-fed, it was announced on Friday. High Court judge Mr Justice Peter Jackson said that the woman, aged 32, lacked the capacity to make the decision, and made the ruling himself last month. Commenting on his ruling, the judge said, ‘She does not seek death, but above all she does not want to eat or to be fed. She sees her life as pointless and wants to be allowed to make her own choices, realising that refusal to eat must lead to her death.’ Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire criticised the decision, however, tweeting, 'Shocking that judge orders anorexic Welsh woman be force fed against her will. She should be allowed to die with dignity. Shameful decision.’


Obama announces new immigration plan

US President Barack Obama announced a new immigration plan on Friday. The new measure halts the deportation of illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States as children, and states that immigrants who have lived in the US for five years and are aged between 16 and 30 may be able to apply for work authorisation. Speaking at the White House, President Obama said, ‘This is a temporary stopgap measure that lets us focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, patriotic young people.’ Republican candidate for the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney, argued that the issue should be approached via legislation, stating, ‘I believe the status of young people who come here through no fault of their own is an important matter to be considered and it should be solved on a long-term basis so they know what their future will be in this country.’


Trooping the Colour

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh celebrated the Queen’s official birthday on Saturday by attending the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony. Thousands of people watched the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge ride to the ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, following the Queen and Prince Philip who were in a glass horse-drawn coach. The Birthday Honours list was also announced with Also actor and director Kenneth Branagh being knighted, ex-Olympic minister Tessa Jowell made a Dame while Take That singer Gary Barlow made an OBE. Thousands of people, including friends and family of those taking part, watched the precision marching by hundreds of Guardsmen. After the parade, thousands of well-wishers swarmed down the Mall to get into position in front of Buckingham Palace to see the royal family gather on the balcony for the flypast.


Student complaints rise by 20%

The official monitor for student complaints, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA), said this week that student complaints against universities in England and Wales rose by 20% for 2011. In their annual report, the OIA shows that the number of complaints has risen for six consecutive years. The adjudicating body has said that it received 1,605 complaints in 2011, 16% of which were found to be fully or partially justified. The report adds that ambiguity surrounding plagiarism contributed to the rise in complaints. Pete Mercer, vice president of the National Union of Students responded to the news, stating that, ‘For new students, particularly those coming from abroad, what constitutes plagiarism can vary and proper training and picking up minor infractions early on can help students to know exactly what is expected of them.’


Chamber of Commerce in favour of HS2

The chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce has said that HS2 is still ‘the only option’ if the UK is to keep pace with other countries in Europe. Jerry Blackett spoke out in defence of HS2 after speculation mounted that the Government’s enthusiasm for the ambitious project was waning. A report recently published quoted an unnamed Government minister who said the project was ‘effectively dead’ and was only being sustained by the Prime Minister, David Cameron. Mr Blackett said, ‘Cities are the natural drivers of growth and job creation and as such people naturally flock to them. We must link our engines of growth up with a fast, direct and reliable railway network - HS2.’

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Freddie Herzog & Patrick McGhee



Published

17th June 2012



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