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Taunton bakery and dessert manufacturer Ministry of Cake has marked the fact it now makes 3m cakes a week by launching a new website.The company’s longest-serving employee Pauline Gammon and its oldest employee Alan Leader, 79, pressed the button to launch the new website.Sales are now expected to top £30m in the current financial year, thanks to rising export sales, and as reported last week, export discussions are ongoing.As part of its expansion, the company’s sister operation, Ministry of Pudding, also in Torquay, is about to produce its 10-millionth pudding since opening in August 2014.Chris Ormrod, managing director, was also voted CEO of the year this week by the British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association.He said: “We are now selling more than 3m slices of cake a week, helped in no small part by St Mary Berry and a certain TV show.“We now send cakes from Taunton to Europe and beyond, with ongoing discussions with China and Australia. I estimate 20% of Ministry sales will come from outside the UK within the next three years.” read more
A repeal of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act sponsored by State Assemblyman Tim Donnelly has received significant student support in its first week.The DREAM Act, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown on Oct. 10, allows undocumented college students to qualify for and receive state financial aid. If Donnelly obtains valid signatures from 504,760 registered California voters before Jan. 6, a ballot measure to repeal the DREAM Act will appear on the Nov. 2012 ballot.Source: Californiadreamact.org – Christina Ellis | Daily TrojanThe petition received 7,800 signatures in its first week, and 20 percent was from college students, according to Donnelly.Donnelly disapproves of the DREAM Act because he says it provides illegal immigrants with some of the same benefits legal residents have.“We need to have one standard, and offering money to illegal immigrants is just wrong in so many ways,” Donnelly said. “Giving them the same benefits as legal residents and U.S. citizens who’ve worked so hard is wrong.”Aimee Chang, a sophomore majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies, said the DREAM Act should be repealed because it could negatively affect U.S. citizens.“[The DREAM Act] should be repealed because it can really have a negative impact for American citizens,” Chang said. “It is already hard enough to get adequate financial aid as it is.”Alex Chin, a sophomore majoring in biological sciences, said given the current state of the U.S. economy, money should be spent on citizens rather than on illegal immigrants.“The economy is in a major slump right now,” Chin said. “By allowing illegal immigrants to obtain financial aid, we’re spending tax dollars on them when we really should be spending it on the education of U.S. citizens.”College students already pay high prices to attend college and government funds should be directed to help alleviate the financial burden of college for legal residents, Donnelly said.“What I hear college students complaining [about] the most is not getting their classes,” Donnelly said. “A four year education should not take five years. We’ve broken the promise to students that we will pay for their education and we should fix this instead of paying for the tuition of illegal immigrants.”Other students, however, said they believe undocumented students should not be prevented from receiving financial aid.“Students who graduate from California high schools should receive funding to attend [public] California universities,” said Katrina Kaiser, a sophomore majoring in economics. “[Undocumented students] have integrated into the California community, culture and economic fabric.” read more
The results of a Pew Research Center study released April 4 showed that the majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana, but students and experts expressed a wide range of reactions to the poll.Of the 1,501 American adults polled from March 13-17, 52 percent of respondents said they supported the legalization of marijuana while 45 percent said it should not be legalized.The results highlights the fact that in the last 50 years, public opinion on the legalization of marijuana has shifted dramatically — a 1969 Gallup survey concluded that 12 percent of Americans favored the legalization while 84 percent did not support its legalization.Recently, several states have made significant tangible strides in marijuana policy. In the November 2012 election, the states of Colorado and Washington legalized the use of marijuana through a majority vote. These new initiatives allow for individuals over the age of 21 to possess up to one ounce of marijuana.With the Pew poll revealing that 65 percent of millennials support legalization, many students said they were not surprised by the shifting acceptance of marijuana. Janelle Bongiovanni, a junior majoring in public relations, said that the changing mindsets of younger generations toward legalization contribute to this dynamic shift.“I think that it isn’t surprising at all,” Bongiovanni said. “In today’s society, it seems to be more accepted than it has been in the past, especially here in California.”Ben Surbrook, a sophomore double majoring in East Asian languages and cultures and international relations, agreed with Bongiovanni, saying that the statistics follow a trend that has been developing for some time.“The poll doesn’t really surprise me at all,” Surbrook said. “It seems like that’s the direction America is heading in.”Studies have shown that legalizing marijuana could be a boon for cash-strapped states, who could regulate marijuana to create more revenue.Hans Ecke, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, said legalization’s financial benefits were appealing.“I’m indifferent about it because it’s not going to change the accessibility [of marijuana],” Ecke said. “I’m kind of for legalization so California can tax and make some money off of it.”Some students said they support the legalization of marijuana simply from a policy standpoint. Mica Biton, a junior majoring in biochemistry, said that marijuana’s illegality can often make it more alluring.“I’m for [the legalization of marijuana],” Biton said, “simply, because with anything that is illegal, there’s going to be more efforts to get it than not.”And Julie Michaelk, a freshman majoring in theater, was among some students that cited marijuana’s medicinal benefits as a big reason to legalize it.“People are already doing it and there are medical purposes. I have seen the effects it can have on people in need and it’s beneficial,” Michaelk said.Though many students supported legalization and the survey seems to show a high probability of marijuana becoming legal in the near future, recent history, at least in California, suggests otherwise.In the November 2012 election, a majority of California voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized possession marijuana. It was defeated with about 54 percent of the vote.And some experts continue to express concerns about marijuana use. Professor and founding chair in the Department of Pharmaceutical Economics and Policy in the School of Pharmacy Joel W. Hay, for one, said he was not enthusiastic about the recreational use of marijuana in college.“The sad thing is that young people suffer much worse outcomes,” Hay said. “Their brains are much more susceptible. The medical evidence is that they become addicted at much higher rates than older people. They are much more susceptible to the bad mental health outcomes.”And for Hay, the purported negative effects of marijuana outweigh its positive impacts on society.“Marijuana is essentially decriminalized — it’s less serious in terms of criminal penalties than a traffic ticket, so there aren’t any legal enforcement issues in this state,” Hay said. “Thousands of people are dying in marijuana related traffic accidents, other injuries and accidents. The downsides are enormous, the benefits are trivial.”But as support for legalization continues to grow at record rates, it’s uncertain whether the downsides of marijuana use will be enough to convince the majority to maintain the federal government’s prohibition on pot. read more
Panelists discussed how traditional media and social media drive the 2016 presidential election Tuesday in the third installment of the Road to the White House series, “Media and Politics: Traditional, New Media and Social Media,” Tuesday at the Ground Zero Performance Cafe. The event included a panel featuring John Thomas, CEO and president of Thomas Partners Strategies; Bob Shrum, Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics at USC Dornsife; Laura Davis, digital news director of the Annenberg Center; and Alison Main, a student producer for Annenberg TV News, discussed how the 2016 presidential election is portrayed in the media. Dan Schnur, the director of USC Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics, and Jack Walker, associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan, moderated the event. The panelists all stressed the importance of traditional media in campaigns, as it is where people still get a majority of their information, despite the large reliance on social media by presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.“Traditional media is still critical,” Shrum said. “We are fascinated with social media, but it’s a tool, it’s not a message. You have to have a framework or a message.” Thomas expressed his concern for people becoming screen agnostic. People watch television on their phones and computers, requiring politicians to follow their lead. To counter this issue, politicians will use social media to kickstart their broadcast campaigns. Social media is a conversation starter.Davis brought up how this is shown through Donald Trump’s use of Twitter. He will tweet something controversial early in the morning before an interview so there will be something to talk about in the broadcast. This strategy helped him get to where he is because it reaches the public more than traditional advertising. “Three years ago, five to seven percent of our persuasion budget was on online activities,” Thomas said. “Now we are at 15 to 20 percent, and every cycle it seems to inch up by 2-7 percent.”However, social media isn’t always reliable, Thomas said, adding that though social media is heavily used for advertising a campaign, it is still filled with clutter. The panel mutually agreed that though there is an advantage to the use of social media, it is still filled with false advertising and sensationalized articles. Davis said that as the digital news director of the Annenberg Media Center, she understood the dangers of social media and warned of what she called the “filter bubble.” In the “filter bubble,” Davis said, social media allows one to create their own world and reality, and in this world there are fake news sites and propaganda trying to take advantage of individuals’ bubble. Davis said that this can hinder one’s ideas and stances on issues.“Fake news organizations are growing on Facebook, and this content is getting spread,” Davis said. “I think it’s having an actual effect on democracy, because people are not believing sources like they might have in the past. I think the filter bubble, the algorithms that the social networks use to show you content that they think you want is having a real impact on democracy and possibly on this election.”Though social media has a large influence on campaigns, Thomas still stressed the need for stories to be told in politics, as nothing can be told without a story. Shrum added that a message must be framed, because social media comes and goes as trends do, but stories will always stay and maintain their importance in politics. “Campaigns still need certain basic things,” Shrum said. “They need a message and framing. They need discipline. They need polling and survey research and focus groups. If they don’t have them, or they don’t choose to use them, then this [social media] can become a lethal weapon that you turn on yourself.” read more