Off-syllabus material in Medicine exam

first_imgSecond year medical exams have been surrounded by controversy again this year, after complaints that unhelpful phrasing, obscure content and inclusion of material not on the syllabus made them even more difficult. The exams, known as 1st BM Part 2, take place after the end of Hilary, and candidates are due to receive their results this week. The controversial questions, which appeared in the multiple choice section of the paper, asked the student to identify the incorrect or least likely answer rather than the correct one. One second year medic, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “This made it incredibly easy to misread almost every question.’ Another pointed out that ‘the point of the examination [is] to test our core medical knowledge, not our grammar!” A further objection was at the alleged inclusion of ‘extension’ material in the multiple choice sections. These are only meant to test a tightly-specified syllabus of ‘core’ knowledge, and typically carry a pass mark of 80% for each question. Yet students claim that a significant amount of extension material was included in the examinations.One question in particular, covering the mechanisms of diuretic drugs, asked for information that candidates claim was specifically excluded from the syllabus.The University Press Office responded to the allegations, saying that if students were concerned, “There is a procedure for them to raise these concerns with the Proctors through their colleges. None of the First BM Part 2 candidates has done so.”However at least two students, including Richard Rosch, a Magdalen second year, have instead contacted the Medical Sciences Teaching Centre directly. The senior clerical officer, Ashley Morely, said that their complaints “may be reviewed during the post examination meeting.”Last year students were unhappy about the content on the multiple choice sections, especially in the general pathology and microbiology paper. “Some of the questions [in this paper] were unbelievably obscure,” said one third year. “I remember everyone was very angry.” A summary of the Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) report for that year admits “general unhappiness” about the issue. The examiners defended their position, claiming that while some of the “distracter answers” may have been off-syllabus, this was not the case for any correct answers. However the examiners’ report for the 2007 papers shows that they lowered the pass mark for a large number of questions in the pathology paper, judging that it was too high for eight out of the sixteen questions.last_img read more

Mauritius dodges second oil spill as fuel pumped from stricken ship

first_imgWildlife jewel Fresh cracks appeared in the hull this week near the fuel reservoirs, spurring fears that the Wakashio could soon split up and inflict irreversible damage on the archipelago’s fragile marine ecosystem.The ship struck a reef at Pointe d’Esny, an ecological treasure fringed by idyllic beaches, colorful reefs, sanctuaries for rare and endemic wildlife, and protected wetlands.Aerial images showed huge stretches of crystal-clear seas around the marooned cargo ship stained an inky black.Pressure has mounted on the government to explain why it did not act earlier, with calls for the fisheries and environment ministers to resign, and volunteers angrily defying official orders to stay away from the clean-up site.Mauritius and its 1.3 million inhabitants depend crucially on the sea for food and ecotourism, having fostered a reputation as a conservation success story and a world-class destination for nature lovers.The spill is a double blow for tourist operators who had hoped foreign tourists could soon return.The country has no active cases of coronavirus and had declared a wary victory after a long stretch without any new infections, but its borders remain closed. “It was a race against the clock, and I salute the excellent work to prevent another oil spill,” said Jugnauth, who added that another 100 tons still remained elsewhere aboard the Japanese-owned ship.”The weather was calm and it helped the pumping exercise, it also prevented the breakup of the boat, which is inevitable.”Mauritius declared an unprecedented environmental emergency last week as the Wakashio, which ran aground on July 25, began seeping oil into a protected marine park boasting unspoiled coral reefs, mangrove forests and endangered species.Jugnauth said the “ecological crisis” was beyond the scope of the tiny Indian Ocean nation, and appealed for urgent international help.  France and Japan were among those to answer the call, along with thousands of ordinary Mauritians who volunteered day and night to clean sludge from the picturesque tropical coastline to which their economy is deeply tied.Jugnauth acknowledged there was “still a lot of work to do” assessing and cleaning up the damage, but refused to take responsibility for the disaster.”How did I do wrong?” he said, adding bad weather hindered efforts to pump oil from the ship earlier.”We did everything right from the start. We were told that the risks of an oil spill were very low. The experts convinced us otherwise.”Police have launched an investigation into the accident and have seized the black box, log book and other items of interest from the vessel as part of their inquiries. Mauritius avoided a second catastrophic oil spill Wednesday after salvage crews pumped the remaining fuel from the tanks of a cargo ship that ran aground off its coast, imperiling world-famous wildlife sanctuaries.The stricken vessel threatens to break apart after more than two weeks stranded on a reef, where it leaked more than 1,000 tons of fuel into pristine seas.Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth said “all the fuel” had been pumped from reservoirs beneath the MV Wakashio bulk carrier, dodging what experts warned would been a crippling blow to an island nation popular with honeymooners and ecotourists. Topics :last_img read more

Welfare-to-work program was target of fraud

first_img“It was a very sophisticated scheme. One recipient was a major criminal involved in organized crime who had been in prison before.” Attorney Mark Geragos, who represents Michael, disagreed with the characterization. “It’s the most disorganized group I’ve ever seen for somebody who is accused of organized crime,” Geragos said. “Obviously, Michael is distraught by the whole thing.” But it’s cases like Michael’s that officials say contribute to the $300 billion a year lost to health care fraud in the U.S. – more than half of it to organized crime – the Daily News found in an 18-month investigation. Authorities say the saga began when Michael immigrated to the U.S. and took a job as a caseworker at the International Community Employment Training Center, which had offices in Glendale and Los Angeles. At the time, the agency contracted with the county to provide job training to indigent immigrants and refugees. From November 2000 to May 2003, Michael issued thousands of checks, reimbursing welfare-to-work recipients for the costs of traveling to jobs and schools. But the checks were frequently sent to incorrect addresses where co-conspirators picked them up and cashed them using false identification, Schmidt wrote in court records. Some of those involved told investigators they split the proceeds with Michael. The scheme unraveled because a bank employee became suspicious when one of Michael’s co-conspirators tried to cash a check, Schmidt said. The Department of Public Social Services investigated and noticed a pattern of fraud. Schmidt testified that Michael forged documents that falsely stated participants were attending school or working. “She was the hub of the wheel from which the illegal actions taken by (International Community Employment Training Center) employees flowed,” Schmidt wrote. Among those who received nearly $163,000 in fraudulent welfare checks was Levon Djaladian, 42, and his wife, Monica Grigoryan, 32, Schmidt said. “He was living in a gated community in a nice home in Sun Valley,” Schmidt said. “He also had very expensive cars. He had many, many bank accounts with his names on them, but he had no legal income that we were aware of.” As part of a nearly four-year sentence, Levon Djaladian was ordered – and has paid – $106,000 in restitution to the county, Schmidt said. Mark Suhr, a senior investigator for the District Attorney’s Office, said the case illustrates that the county’s welfare system can be defrauded relatively easily. “Anybody who works in the welfare system knows there is a lot of fraud going on,” he said. Department of Public Social Services Director Philip Browning said the agency plans to step up its background checks of employees and contractors in response to the case. “How are we going to prevent this in the future?” Browning asked rhetorically. “This is certainly something we can learn from. That’s not to say there won’t ever be another case.” Schmidt said welfare fraud is a systemic problem in the county. “It’s like putting kids in the candy store,” Schmidt said. “Without the shop owners there, they will eat the candy. Organized crime is going to be involved any time they can find opportunities and a vulnerable organization.” [email protected] (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Lana Michael and her husband collected welfare benefits in 2003, claiming they earned less than $24,000. But authorities say Michael, the former office manager of a job-training center for immigrant welfare recipients, also owned a liquor store and recycling business. And, authorities say, she drove a $76,000 luxury car, shopped at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and had $147,980 stashed in her bedroom dresser. “She was living a very lavish lifestyle,” Deputy District Attorney Juliet Schmidt said. “She went on trips to Europe. She was driving a brand-new BMW 740 IL.” Lana Michael, 34, also known as Svetlana Djangarian, is scheduled to be sentenced June 8 in what authorities say was a $1 million fraud targeting welfare-to-work programs. In exchange for pleading guilty to misappropriating public funds and filing false tax returns, she is expected to be ordered to spend nearly four years in prison and pay $351,967 in restitution. “This brings to a close a tremendous fraud perpetrated by truly greedy people against a county-administered public benefit program,” District Attorney Steve Cooley said. Michael’s husband and 15 other people also have pleaded guilty to misappropriating public funds and tax evasion. Each has been sentenced to up to four years in prison. “They were originally welfare recipients getting services. Then some became workers and began to issue county warrants (checks) on the computers to themselves, family members and friends,” Schmidt said. last_img read more