NZ Herald 16 May 2014Police say they do not support the decriminalisation of natural cannabis despite calls by Auckland’s Deputy Mayor that it’s safer than banned synthetic versions.Penny Hulse said it was time New Zealanders discussed the decriminalisation of cannabis, much as they had had discussions on prostitution and same-sex marriage.But a police national headquarters spokesman said there was no political will for decriminalisation and their stance on the issue was clear.“Police do not support the decriminalisation of cannabis.”Last week Prime Minister John Key told the Herald he did not support the decriminalisation or legalisation of drugs.On Wednesday Ms Hulse told an Auckland Council committee drawing up a policy on legal highs that it made no sense to regulate synthetic cannabis without considering safer alternatives.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11255679
USC Model United Nations held the closing ceremony for its annual Model UN conference for high school students Sunday. The conference, known as SCMUN, opened on Friday evening, and kicked off a full schedule of debate, problem solving and collaboration surrounding simulated situations in international affairs.During the conference, participants represented a country and formed a resolution group with other countries to meet their combined interests on a certain topic and determine future course of action following days of debating. Sophomore Alex Melnik, secretary-general of the conference, studying international relations and policy, planning and development, said the range of situations is wide and not limited to current affairs.“We have a mix of historical, contemporary and futuristic committees,” Melnik said. “For example, in terms of a future committee we have a committee that takes place in the year 2022 when the Winter Olympics are hosted in China, and the scenario is that Tibet is looking to secede from China.”Sophomore Shelley Dai, chief executive of the conference, said the event was a great success given the turnout.“We managed to grow this conference, I think, 133 percent from the last year, so it’s really high growth, and we’re looking forward to next year maybe getting 350 to 400 delegates,” Melnik said.Conference participation helps run the club’s operations. In addition to events for high school students, the club also sends delegates to compete in conferences around the country. Given the travel involved, participation in these competitions can be a large expense to bear without help.“Generally for conferences, we’ll have to stay in a hotel, and we have registration fees as well, but for the past few we’ve been able to subsidize all the spots we offered which is great, meaning that no matter your financial status, you’ll be able to go to a conference,” Dai said.The club has been very successful in these conferences recently.“We recently went to LAMUN, which is UCLA’s Model UN conference, and received a lot of different awards including the ‘best small delegation’ award, so we’re a very competitive team,” Melnik said.The club prides itself not only on competing in competitions but also on outreach efforts. The club launched a new program in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and their Youth Ambassadors program to bring Model UN to new high schools. The program provides 14 children an opportunity to learn about debate in Model UN as well as scholarships to attend a conference. Programs like these fit into the club’s guiding objective of helping others through Model UN.“Our main message throughout the club has been aiding others as the model United Nations,” Dai said. “We want to make sure these high schoolers and middle schoolers have a focus on nonprofits, which we’re both very involved in as well as a general message of helping out.”Getting involved in the club is fairly easy to do and doesn’t require any prior experience. Right now, the club has members from a wide range of academic backgrounds.“We have premed, engineering and computer science [students.] Part of the club has a training aspect to it, so people who have never done Model U.N. before will learn about public speaking, and about procedures, as well as just how to debate,” Melnik said.Dai spoke about the club’s transition from primarily seniors in leadership positions, to younger members taking over.“It’s been really interesting having this quick turnover from the seniors to the sophomores and having a young club trying to regain experience on our own,” Dai said. “Those are definitely some challenges we’ve been facing, but it means that we’ll have a lot of continuity as our club continues on.”
Katie Chin | Daily TrojanThe USC football team returned to Howard Jones Field on Wednesday for their second practice since the start of the school year. Team roles began to become more defined as the team approaches its opening matchup against Western Michigan next Saturday — and the practice also featured a special guest.Freshmen Take the StageThe Trojan freshmen have been at the height of media interest this week, not only for their contributions to practice, but also because this is the first week they’ve been available for interviews.Freshman defensive tackle Marlon Tuipulotu thanked the upperclassmen for helping ease his transition to college ball.“They’re all helping out the young guys,” he said, naming in particular redshirt senior Kenny Bigelow Jr. and senior Josh Fatu. Along with his work as a mentor, Fatu is also standing out on the practice field as well, taking most of the first-team reps at nose tackle.Freshman defensive lineman Jay Tufele praised Talamaivao, redshirt junior Toa Lobendahn and redshirt junior Chris Brown. “They’re amazing athletes, and going against them is like going against the best in the world,” Tufele said.Though not technically a first-year player, redshirt freshman Tyler Vaughns was raring to finally make his Trojan debut after spending 2016 confined to the practice field.“I have a fire in me,” Vaughns said, before adding that he would “hopefully be starting” against Western Michigan.Making Dreams Come TrueTaylor Hammond, a 10-year-old who has been battling leukemia for four years, made an appearance at Wednesday’s practice as one of the wishes on his “life list.”Taylor got to take part in a drill with the Trojans: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold threw him a pass, which Taylor ran to the end zone with defenders chasing after him, falling to the ground one by one in his wake.Taylor’s father, Brian Hammond, was also in attendance and was passing out bracelets to players, fans and reporters, encouraging everyone to keep children like Taylor in their thoughts when they wear the bracelets. Taylor, his father and his brother were able to pose for the media to complete his true celebrity experience.“[Taylor] is the definition of ‘Fight On,’” head coach Clay Helton said.Injury UpdateThis week USC football continues its rigorous practice schedule leading up to their home opener against Western Michigan next Saturday. Notable absences included freshman offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker and senior guard Viane Talamaivao, as they remained sidelined with hamstring and foot injuries, respectively.Redshirt sophomore tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe remained limited in his involvement with a hip flexor injury that has had him playing tentatively for a couple of weeks. Helton has admitted he wants to proceed with caution to prevent the injury from getting any worse.