Better Believe It......Because They Actually Happen(ed) Collection 63

Japanese City To Use Robots To Tackle Rise In Students' Absence From School

A Japanese city plans to use robots to enable pupils to attend classes virtually, as truancy rates surge due to anxiety and bullying.

Robots are expected to appear in classrooms in November in Kumamoto.

By Nikhil Pandey

The idea of having someone else attend school in your place might be attractive to children who have a dislike for school. However, a Japanese city is planning to implement this concept with the intention of encouraging students to return to physical school attendance.

According to the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, Kumamoto, a city in southwest Japan, is planning to use robots to facilitate virtual attendance for students, addressing rising truancy rates attributed to issues such as anxiety and bullying.

Robots equipped with microphones, speakers, and cameras will enable two-way communication and are scheduled to be introduced into classrooms in November.

The Kumamoto Municipal Board of Education has said that this type of initiative is rare nationwide. The aim is to reduce anxiety for absentee children planning to return to the classroom.

Children will be able to use devices at home to remotely manoeuvre robots that represent them at school, allowing them to take part in classes and discussions with schoolmates, the southern city of Kumamoto said.

Like other countries, Japan has seen a rise in children not attending school following the Covid-19 pandemic, with reasons for being absent ranging from difficulty fitting in to bullying, according to a government probe.

The one-metre (three-foot) tall robots will be self-propelling, with pupils able to move them within the school grounds and even participate in events, reports said.

Full story at NDTV (September 2023)

Students march against university removing tampons from men’s bathrooms

Clemson University removed feminine hygiene dispensers from men's bathrooms after the College Republicans chapter mocked them

By Alexander Hall

Students at Clemson University held a march this week to protest the removal of feminine hygiene products from men’s bathrooms on campus.

"About 50 students marched across Clemson University on Wednesday to demand that menstrual products be returned to men’s bathrooms in Cooper Library and that the Clemson College Republicans be reprimanded for their role in the tampons’ removal," The College Fix wrote on Friday.

"Take Back Pride" holds an annual march, but the main student organizer of the event, Pan Tankersley declared, "Today, we are marching for the reinstatement of the menstrual products in the men’s restrooms in Cooper Library and throughout campus."

This follows the reported quiet removal of these dispensaries from men’s rooms after the Clemson College Republicans condemned their presence on social media.

Whether feminine hygiene products should be available in men's restrooms has become a divisive topic in places like college campuses. (Men's room sign by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images and Tampon dispensary by Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images)

"If you weren’t aware already, Clemson University has tampon/pad dispensers in the MEN’S restrooms located in Cooper Library," the conservative student organization tweeted in mid-September, adding, "We truly live in [clown] world."

The Instagram account representing the "Take Back Pride" march on campus claimed that after the College Republicans criticized these dispensaries, they were promptly vandalized with "hateful slurs towards the transgender community" before the university removed "all traces of their existence."

The group went on to demand "formal repercussions towards the Clemson College Republicans for contributing to a campus climate that encourages transphobic rhetoric and jeopardizes the safety of LGBTQIA+ students."

Full story at Fox News (October 2023)

Shooting at Bowie State University in Maryland leaves 2 injured, say police, who believe more than 1 shooter involved

Police are seen at the scene of a shooting at Bowie State University on October 8.

By Sara Smart, Dakin Andone and Nouran Salahieh

(CNN) — Two 19-year-olds were injured in a shooting at Bowie State University Saturday night, in the midst of the Maryland school’s homecoming weekend, according to state police, who believe there was more than one shooter.

The 19-year-olds, both men, were found with gunshot wounds at the historically Black university’s Center for Business and Graduate Studies and taken to a hospital, Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Roland Butler said at a news conference Sunday.

Neither of them were Bowie State students, nor were they students of nearby Morgan State University, another HBCU whose students were invited to Bowie State after their own homecoming celebrations were interrupted by gunfire last week. Both shootings underscored America’s ongoing epidemic of gun violence, as it continues to spill into everyday venues of daily life.

Bowie State University police first received reports of shots fired around 11:45 p.m. Saturday, school officials said in a post on Facebook.

The shooting is believed to be an isolated event, Maj. Kenny Brown, assistant bureau chief for the state police, said Sunday. Officers from the Prince George County Police Department, the Bowie State University police force and troopers from the Maryland State Police were working this homecoming weekend.

No suspects have been identified, but police are pursuing some leads, Brown said, adding investigators preliminarily believe more than one shooter was involved.

Full story at CNN (October 2023)

Teacher killed in France school stabbing

Police say the situation is now under control

By George Wright & Gem O'Reilly

A teacher has been killed and two people seriously injured in a knife attack at a school in France.

The attack happened at Gambetta high school in the northern city of Arras at about 11:00 local time (09:00 GMT).

The attacker has been arrested and is now in custody.

Witnesses say he shouted "Allahu Akbar", or "God is greatest", during the attack. Visiting the school, President Emmanuel Macron condemned the "barbarity of Islamist terrorism".

Mr Macron called on French people to stay "united" in the face of the attack, to "not give in to terror or let anything divide us".

He said police had averted another attempted attack in another part of France.

The man killed was a French language teacher. Those injured were another teacher and a security guard.

Mr Macron said the teacher had "come forward to protect others and had without doubt saved many lives".

The attacker, named as 20-year-old Russian national Mohamed Mogouchkov, is of Chechen origin and known to the security services for his involvement with Islamist extremism, according to police.

Full story at BBC News (October 2023)

‘Downfall of prodigy’: China’s youngest graduate student and PhD candidate at 16 still financially dependent on parents at 28, says ‘they owe me’

• At age 16, he became PhD student in Applied Mathematics at a top university in Beijing

• His view of success has changed – now he does not have a full-time job, only has a few thousand yuan in his bank account, and lives in rented flat

Zhang Xinyang, 28, a Chinese prodigy who won a university place at age 10, now believes “sitting around and doing nothing is the key to lifelong happiness”. Photo: SCMP composite/Douyin

By Fran Lu

Zhang Xinyang, 28, a Chinese prodigy who won a university place at the age of 10 and went to graduate school at 13, now says “sitting around and doing nothing is the key to lifelong happiness”.

Once well-known as “China’s youngest university student” and “China’s youngest graduate student”, Zhang is still financially dependent on his parents.

In 2011, at the age of 16, he became a PhD student in Applied Mathematics at Beihang University, a top Chinese university in Beijing.

Some commenters online blamed Zhang’s parents for being obsessed with cultivating a prodigy and eventually the boy “compensated for his missing growing process in another way”. Photo: Weibo

He sparked a national controversy by demanding his parents, from a fourth-tier city in northeastern China’s Liaoning province, buy him a Beijing flat worth 2 million yuan (US$275,000).

Zhang told his parents if they didn’t buy him the flat he would give up his master’s degree and reject his PhD offer.

His parents finally rented a Beijing flat and lied to him that they had bought it, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) reported in 2011.

Full story at South China Morning Post (October 2023)

Names and faces of Harvard students linked to an anti-Israel statement were plastered on mobile billboards and online sites

By Catherine Thorbecke

New York CNN — A billboard truck drove near Harvard’s campus Wednesday displaying the names and photos of Harvard students whose organizations signed a statement blaming solely Israel for the deadly attacks by Hamas.

The “doxxing truck” appeared days after the Harvard Palestine Solidarity Groups, a coalition of Harvard student groups, earlier this week released a statement that held “the Israeli regime entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” following the attacks by Hamas that have killed more than 1,200 Israelis and more than 25 American citizens. More than 1,400 in Gaza have also been killed since Israel started strikes on Gaza following the deadly Hamas attack.

Some students and their groups have since distanced themselves or withdrawn their endorsements from the statement amid an intense backlash inside and outside of Harvard. Several said they did not read the statement before they signed it.

A conservative nonprofit said it organized the truck featuring the virtual billboards with students’ names and images under a banner that reads: “Harvard’s Leading Antisemites.” It also published names online. CNN has not independently verified that the named students were associated with the letter.

The group’s president said in a post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that the group “is removing the names of students from groups that withdrew but are also adding new names every hour.”

Full story at CNN Business (October 2023)

Students face criminal action if they support Hamas, warn university vice-chancellors

Palestine societies at some institutions have praised terrorist organisation after killings of hundreds of civilians

By Louisa Clarence-Smith and Ewan Somerville

Pro-Palestine demonstrators protesting at the Israeli Embassy in London on Monday Credit: Carl Court/Getty Images Europe

Vice-chancellors have warned students that they face criminal investigations if they express support for Hamas terrorists in the wake of the attack on Israel.

Students are understood to have been reported to the police after Palestine societies at some institutions praised Hamas on social media after the attack, which has killed hundreds of civilians.

Prof Adam Tickell, vice-chancellor of the University of Birmingham, told the Telegraph: “Anybody behaving to support an illegal organisation will be subjected not only to discipline from us but discipline from the police.”

He added: “Like all universities we work very closely on extremism among our students.”

He said that the university had been working throughout the weekend to support students affected by the conflict.

Prof Sasha Roseneil, vice-chancellor at the University of Sussex, and Prof Sir Chris Husbands, vice-chancellor of Sheffield Hallam University, also both said that students who express support for Hamas could face criminal action.

Prof Roseneil said that her university would offer counselling to any Jewish or Palestinian students affected by the attack.

Full story at The Telegraph (October 2023)

London university SOAS embroiled in row with its Palestine society after students temporarily suspended 'for their conduct' at Gaza solidarity rally

• It came following a rally held two days after Hamas's devastating terrorist attack

By Matthew Lodge

A London university has been lambasted by its Palestine society after it temporarily suspended a number of students over their 'conduct' at a Gaza solidarity rally.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has been accused of committing a 'targeted act of political repression' after it took action against a number of pupils.

The SOAS Palestine Society said the university was 'silencing' its members, including those who had not taken part in the rally on Monday, October 9, the Telegraph reports.

It also claimed it had 'a moral imperative to organise against the imperialist and Zionist forces on our campus' and demanded the university 'revoke the formal warnings' given to its members.

SOAS has hit back, claiming the action was taken 'pending investigation' after a small number of students broke 'venue protocols' during their rally.

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has become embroiled in a row with its Palestine Society. Pictured: The SOAS Student Union

The SOAS Palestine Society claims it has been targeted in an 'act of political repression' after a number of its members were suspended by the university

It came after dozens of students gathered to support 'the people of Gaza in their struggle against the occupation', days after Hamas terrorists murdered hundreds of people in Israel.

The rally, which took place outside the university's main building in central London, saw speakers praise militants who had died in conflict with Israel and speak dismissively of the terrorist attacks by Hamas.

Video of the event posted on social media shows one speaker saying: 'Our thoughts right now are with the Palestinian martyrs, their families, the Palestinian resistance fighters who sacrifice their lives everyday so that the flag of Palestine may fly above their land.'

The same person later attacked those who are 'dismissive of this Operation Al Aqsa Flood [the Hamas name for the attacks] as a work of terror or a work of fundamentalism', saying that 'it is our duty to resist settler colonialism and unequivocally support the national liberation of the Palestinian people.'

At the gathering there were also chants of 'resistance is justified when people are colonised' and 'there is only one solution, intifada revolution'.

Full story at Daily Mail (October 2023)

Top law firm rescinds job offers to Harvard, Columbia students linked to anti-Israel letters

Davis Polk yanks job offers from Ivy League students tied to letters blaming Israel after the country was attacked by terrorists

By Breck Dumas

Prestigious law firm Davis Polk rescinded job offers to three students who led organizations at their respective universities, Harvard and Columbia, that signed on to open letters criticizing Israel after the country was attacked by Hamas terrorists.

In an internal email viewed by FOX Business, Davis Polk chair and managing partner Neil Barr informed members of the New York-based firm Tuesday that news of the firm revoking offers to the Ivy League law students over the public statements "regarding the situation in Israel" would soon be hitting the press.

Harvard banners hang outside Memorial Church on the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Prestigious law firm Davis Polk became the latest employer this week to rescind job offers to Ivy League students who signed on to anti-Israel (Getty Images)

"These statements are simply contrary to our firm's values and we thus concluded that rescinding these offers was appropriate in upholding our responsibility to provide a safe and inclusive work environment for all Davis Polk employees," Barr wrote in the email.

Barr did not reveal the students' names or point to the specific letters, but said the law firm was still in contact with two of the students and may reconsider the hiring reversals if their explanations warrant doing so.

"The views expressed in certain of the statements signed by law school student organizations in recent days are in direct contravention of our firm's value system," the law firm said in its official statement on the matter. "For this reason and to ensure we continue to maintain a supportive and inclusive work environment, the student leaders responsible for signing on to these statements are no longer welcome in our firm; and their offers of employment have thus been rescinded."

Davis Polk is the latest in a series of employers that have publicly withdrawn job offers to students linked to anti-Israel letters issued by pro-Palestinian college groups in the wake of the surprise attack Hamas launched on Israel earlier this month, when the terrorists murdered hundreds of Israeli civilians and took more than 100 hostage in Gaza.

Full story at Fox Business (October 2023)

A student was excited to move to Florida for college. Then she realized she'd applied to Miami University — in Ohio.

By Aimee Pearcy

Do didn't realize Miami University was in Oxford, Ohio. (Image courtesy of Valerie Do)

• An international student from Vietnam thought she'd applied to study in Miami, Florida.
• But when she got her acceptance letter, she realized she'd applied to Miami University in Ohio.
• Some people criticized her for not doing enough research, but she said it'd worked out for the best.

When Valerie Do, 19, applied to study at Miami University in 2021, she was excited by the prospect of spending her days lounging on beaches in the sun in Florida, surrounded by palm trees like she'd seen in the movies.

As an international student living in Vietnam, she couldn't visit the university before applying. So when the university sent her an acceptance letter welcoming her to Ohio, Do felt confused.

At first, she wondered whether Ohio might be a district or a county in Florida. But after a quick Google search, her beach fantasy was shattered when she realized she wouldn't be going to the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, as she'd initially thought. She'd be going to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Miami University in Ohio was founded in 1809 and named after the Great Miami River in southwestern Ohio. The name of the city of Miami, Florida, is derived from the Native Tequesta name "Mayaimi," believed to mean "big water" or "sweet water," according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

"I realized there are no beaches; it's just a cornfield in the middle of nowhere in the Midwest of America," Do told Insider.

After spending some time researching, Do said she realized Miami University had a good business school. She decided to accept the offer, and she moved from Vietnam to Ohio.

In her job as a campus tour guide at her university, Do often told students the story behind how she'd ended up there. People found the story funny, so when she heard the trending TikTok sound "I'm Already There" by Lonestar — a song about being somewhere in spirit even though you can't be physically present — she decided to use it to make fun of herself for the mistake.

Full story at Insider (October 2023)

Cornell student charged with making death threats to Jewish community

Threats of violence against Jewish students were posted online over the weekend

By Praveena Somasundaram

The messages posted to an online forum threatened Jewish students with death and specifically named a building on the Cornell University campus that houses a Jewish student organization, authorities said. (iStock)

A Cornell University student was arrested Tuesday and accused of making death threats toward the school’s Jewish community in online messages, including one post that talked about shooting up a building frequented by Jewish students, federal officials announced.

Patrick Dai, a 21-year-old from Pittsford, N.Y., was charged with posting threats to kill or injure another using interstate communications, federal prosecutors said. In one post, he threatened to “bring an assault rifle to campus and shoot all you pig jews,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York said in a news release. He also allegedly made graphic, violent death threats to Jewish men and babies and spoke of sexually assaulting Jewish women.

It is unclear whether Dai has an attorney to represent him. Attempts to reach his family were unsuccessful Tuesday evening. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday, prosecutors said. If convicted, he could face up to five years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.

Cornell University’s campus about the safety of Jewish students. Cornell’s police department plans to continue its increased presence on campus, which began after the online incident, Joel Malina, vice president for university relations, said in a statement Tuesday.

“We remain shocked by and condemn these horrific, antisemitic threats and believe they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Malina said. “We know that our campus community will continue to support one another in the days ahead.”

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) applauded the efforts by law enforcement in handling the case.

“Threatening a mass shooting or horrific antisemitic violence is outrageous and unacceptable,” she tweeted late Tuesday. “Grateful to our law enforcement partners who have worked to keep @Cornell students and all New Yorkers safe from the forces of hate.”

Full story at The Washington Post (October 2023)