Saint Mary’s student senate met Tuesday night to discuss changes to election policies and upcoming events on campus.Student body president Kat Sullivan said the goal for the alteration of election policies “is to establish a better understanding of the policies both for the candidates and the student body as a whole.”Senate members voted to implement changes to election policies, including permitting abroad students to campaign with a present Saint Mary’s student. Sullivan said Feb. 26 is the deadline for all campaign materials. Students can submit materials through an elections portal on OrgSync, she said.“Every candidate that is running will have to sign something saying that they have read these policies and they agree to abide by these terms,” student body vice president Maddy Martin said.Heritage Week at Saint Mary’s will begin Feb. 3, and various events will take place on campus, including a Heritage Week dinner in the Stapleton Lounge, saidCarmen Cardenas, president of the Student Diversity Board.Throughout the week, students will be encouraged to share their heritage, she said.“Any sort of Heritage – you could be the first person ever to attend Saint Mary’s, but you just want to write about how much you love Saint Mary’s,” Cardenas said.Cardenas said students who write admirable stories about their heritage will receive prizes, and the winners will be announced at the heritage dinner.An event titled, “Sugar Makes the World Go ‘Round,” will bring international desserts to the Noble Family Dining Hall on Feb. 6, Cardenas said. Following Heritage Week will be Women’s Appreciation Week, beginning Feb. 24, with the Diverse Student Leadership Conference (DSLC), taking place March 25 to 26.The DSLC will have two keynote speakers: Faisal Alam, a gay, Pakistani-American, and Kevin Powell, Cardenas said.Cardenas said a Saint Mary’s professor’s survey has found that diversity is not a popular conversation topic at the College.“On the worst points, Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff have shown that there is not enough talk about religious diversity or sexual orientation,” she said.The goal of the conference will be to create dialogue on these subjects among Saint Mary’s students, Cardenas said.Martin said another event to look forward to is “Women Honoring Women,” to take place in April.“‘Women Honoring Women’ is a night where students can nominate a faculty member or someone who’s had an impact on their life at Saint Mary’s,” she said.Martin said students and their nominees are invited to a dinner where a nominee is voted Woman of the Year.
For the Lebanese people, who have watched helplessly as their economy has collapsed in recent months, the devastating explosion in Beirut is one disaster too many.The deadly blasts struck at a time when Lebanon’s currency has plummeted against the dollar, businesses have closed en masse and poverty has soared at the same alarming rate as unemployment.”It’s an earthquake,” said Kamel Mohanna, founder of the Amel Association International charity founded during the 1975-1990 civil war. ‘Asking for alms’ Maya Terro, founder of Food Blessed, a local charity that distributes food aid, now expects a huge additional demand. Beirut’s port, which was flattened by the explosions, is the main gateway for imports.”Lebanon imports 80 percent of its food,” Terro said. “Immediately I thought: empty supermarket shelves, increased prices due to shortages.”Inflation of basic food goods already soared by 109 percent between September and May, according to the UN’s World Food Program (WFP).The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization warned Tuesday that, after huge wheat stockpiles at the port were destroyed, “we fear that we will soon have a problem with the availability of flour for the country”. Even before the explosions, life was a daily struggle against poverty and hopelessness, Gaby, a former civil servant in his fifties living in a suburb of Beirut, told AFP several days before the disaster.Gaby, who used to fire up the grill twice a month for a family barbecue, said he now has no choice but to go to a charity to get rice and pasta.”I feel like I am asking for alms,” he said.With hyperinflation, neither his pension — worth $1,600 at official rates, but just $300 on the black market — nor his work as a taxi driver or his wife’s salary as a nurse are enough to support family needs.”We deprive ourselves of a lot,” said the father of four. “We used to have meat four times a week. Today, nothing at all, not even chicken.” ‘Everything is difficult’ Nearly half of Lebanese now live below the poverty line, according to official statistics.Economic difficulties were a key driver of mass protests that began last year against a political system widely seen as corrupt and inept.The economic crisis has been compounded by the loss of income caused by restrictions to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.Two-thirds of Lebanese households have seen their income drop, according to a WFP survey in June, while two-fifths of those questioned had gone into debt to buy food or pay rent.WFP, working with the government, was planning to boost aid to help 697,000 people this year, up from just under 140,000 in 2019, spokesperson Malak Jaafar told AFP before the explosions.Amel Association International said that, even before the blasts, it was already seeing a rise in numbers of Lebanese citizens seeking aid in its more than 20 centers, especially for its medical services.”The first three months of 2020 saw a 30 percent increase in the number of Lebanese beneficiaries,” said health program coordinator Mohammed Al-Zayed.”In Lebanon the healthcare is based on the private sector. As a result, services are expensive, and people have reached a point where they can no longer pay.”Doctors Without Borders in June received 81 Lebanese patients, about three times the normal number, said Axelle Franchomme, medical director of the Bar Elias hospital in the eastern Bekaa region. One of those patients was Ihsane, a woman in her thirties, who had turned to the medical charity for their free gynaecological surgery due to a lack of funds.”My husband has been out of work for a while,” said Ihsane, explaining how they had already sold one of their two cars to raise cash.”Everything has become difficult, everything is expensive,” she said. “We cannot have the same life as before”. “I’ve been working in humanitarian aid in Lebanon for 47 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” he said as hospitals were overflowing with wounded and the capital was reeling in shock.For months already, many Lebanese struggling in the country’s worst economic crisis in decades have turned to charities once largely dedicated to the nearly two million Syrian and Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon.Amid the economic turmoil, cash shortages, pandemic and street protests, Lebanon’s middle class — teachers, civil servants, nurses — have already seen their lives turned upside down.Now, after Tuesday’s massive explosions at Beirut’s port which killed more than 100 people and wounded thousands, officials estimate that an additional 300,000 Beirut residents will be left homeless. Topics : And the disaster damage bill for an indebted country that was already asking for help from international donors is expected to range between $3.0 billion and $5.0 billion dollars.
… Khawaja, Harris dumpedBy Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, Australia (Reuters) – Australia selectors have shaken up the squad’s underperforming batting lineup for the two-Test series against Pakistan by dumping top order batsmen Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris while handing a surprise recall to Cameron Bancroft.Opener Harris averaged 9.66 against England in the last three Tests of the Ashes and has been jettisoned in favour of Queensland’s Joe Burns for the series, which starts in Brisbane on November 21.Burns has been recalled after being snubbed for the Ashes despite having scored 180 in the previous Test against Sri Lanka in Canberra in February. Khawaja, once among Australia’s first picks, was dropped after the third Ashes Test at Leeds and has failed to find form for home state Queensland.Bancroft may consider himself the luckiest in the 14-man squad released yesterday having been given another chance after being dumped two Tests into the Ashes.He was a late call-up for the Australia A team that played Pakistan in a tour game this week after Nic Maddinson pulled out for mental health reasons. He scored 49 from 155 balls in the first innings, which turned out to be the team’s top score as the rest of the Test hopefuls failed in the unofficial audition in Perth.Harris, however, may have cause to feel aggrieved having had a stronger first class season in the domestic Sheffield Shield than Bancroft.Selector Trevor Hohns said Bancroft’s ability to play in the middle order as well as at the top had been in his favour. “He’s got the ingredients of being a very good Test match player, he’s a hard worker,” Hohns told reporters in Perth of the 26-year-old Western Australian who has averaged 26.23 from his 10 Tests. “And the improvement in his game is very noticeable.” Middle order batsman Travis Head, who had a poor series in England and was dropped for the final Test, has been retained.After strong domestic form, uncapped bowling all-rounder Michael Neser has been included along with pacemen Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and James Pattinson.Cricket Australia (CA) announced earlier yesterday that promising young batsman Will Pucovski had withdrawn from selection for “mental wellbeing” reasons. Hohns said the uncapped 21-year-old’s decision came before selectors had finalised the squad. Pucovski, who pulled out of the Test squad in January for similar reasons, became the third Australian cricketer to report mental health problems to staff in just over two weeks.All-rounder Glenn Maxwell remains on an indefinite break after pulling out midway the Twenty20 series against Sri Lanka.“I think we should be quite proud and pleased in our sport, players are comfortable coming out and talking about (mental health),” said Hohns.“It’s just happening more and more in everyday life.” Tim Paine’s Australia meet Pakistan in the second Test in Adelaide on November 29. Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.