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1. Save HOST UK - welcoming international students

HOST UK is having its core funding withdrawn and may have to close within a year. This will be devastating for the thousands of international students who apply to HOST for a weekend visit in a British home, and for the hundreds of volunteer host families who offer them hospitality.

Every year more than 300,000 International Students come to this country to study at our universities. Choosing to study outside one’s own country is not just about formal education: the students also hope to familiarise themselves with a different culture, by immersing themselves in it. Unfortunately, the high concentration of international students on their courses, and the lack of occasion to get to know people beyond the campus, mean that they often return home without gaining this valuable experience. Less than 3% ever experience family life in a British home.

HOST was founded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, The British Council and The Victoria League in 1987 with the aim of fostering international friendships and promoting cultural understanding between nations, by enabling students to meet residents of Britain in their own homes. We have developed a network of Volunteer Regional Organisers in order to link students with volunteer host families, who act as ambassadors for Britain by sharing their way of life for a weekend or at Christmas.

In the past 20 years, more than 35,000 international students have benefited from this scheme. The opportunity to spend a few days living as a member of a British family, joining in their activities and learning at first hand about our customs and beliefs, makes the students feel welcome in this country and has been proved to contribute to a successful outcome of their studies here. (UKCOSA Report ‘Broadening Our Horizons’ 2004). Indeed, the demand for HOST visits is greater than we can supply.

HOST is unique in enabling UK universities and colleges to offer extra value in a way unmatched by any other country, perhaps tipping the balance when it comes to choosing a country in which to study.

The benefits these visits bring, as students return to their own countries should not be underestimated. As the graduates progress into senior positions in government, industry and the professions, their happy memories of the time spent with a HOST family engender positive feelings towards the United Kingdom and all things British. It is worth noting, as the Prime Minister seeks to encourage links with China, that more than 38% of students applying for HOST visits are Chinese.

Until now HOST has received £140,000 per annum from the British Council – surely the best value public relations campaign the Government has ever had! This grant is being phased out due to the Government’s policy of not giving block grants to NGOs, and HOST now faces imminent demise.

Whilst HOST raises over 55% of its funding through its own efforts, the £140,000 provided the stability to pay staff salaries. We have already made our Chief Executive redundant in a recent cost-cutting exercise. We are doing all we can to raise the extra funding, but cannot afford professional fundraising help. We have also found that, because of our unique nature, we do not drop into any of the categories that grant makers will fund.

HOST looks to the government to consider whether it can afford to lose the value of HOST at so small a price.

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2. Support of Bountiful Early Learning Centre's Application for an Additional 3 Child Care Places

Bountiful Early Learning Centre (BELC) is an approved Child Care Centre in Old Toongabbie, being in the Parramatta City Council's jurisdiction.

BELC has been approved by the Department of Community Services (DoCS) for thirty Child Spaces and has been purposly built for such.

Parramata City Council has approved the centre for only Twenty-seven places.
BELC has lodged an application to Parramatta City Council requesting for their three extra Child Spaces as approved by DoCS

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3. Keep Our Students in Their Electives

The push for all students to pass the state mandated TAKS test has intensified. Students who teachers feel are "at risk" of not passing the test are being put into extra math, reading, science, or social studies classes that focus on skills tested on the TAKS test.

However, many of the students being put into these classes are doing well in their core classes, they are NOT failing. These students are being taken out of their elective classes, such as band, theatre arts, athletics, etc to go to the extra classes. Some students have been denied music, art, and computer classes since the 3rd grade and now, in 6th grade, they are still being pulled out of their elective.

Our proposal is that they offer the extra help for the TAKS test after school or on only two days a week. Our children should not be denied the opportunity for creative expression because of the pressure the school is under to get everyone to pass a test that is not even a true measure of a child's development.

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4. Stop The Closing Of MSN Chatrooms

Webtv users being told they can no longer use TalkCity for chatting and are moving to MSN chat services. Then MSN closes free chat experience but users are to pay for a service that would cost them $19.95 a year just to chat (MSN loses a lot of clientel).

Two years later MSN states that they are closing the chats down altogether, but only a few have seen this information, and if you do not look close enough on the chat home page you'd miss this information, (MSN was/is trying to hide this information).

Now MSN is breaking apart webtv'ers & MSN users that have made bonds, extended families and we want to BLOCK the closing of this action.

Here is our plea...

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5. Make Monday Part of the Weekend

July 28, 2006

This petition is to open Tony's eyes and make monday part of the weekend.

How often do you get to about 7pm on Sunday and think 'oh god, i've got to go back to work tommorrow, but you feel like you just finished work on friday.

Let's face it the weekend is just too short. You know you want an extra day to spend with the family.

You know you want an extra night to go out and get drunk, and not feel rough in work the next day.

Well let's do something about it!

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6. Keeping extra credits for honarary classes at Pebblebrook

January 11, 2006

My name is Chasidy Walker and I attend Pebblebrook Highschool of Mableton, Georgia and as of today January 11, 2006 I was notified by my school teachers that there will no longer be extra credits given to the students who attend honor classes.

We work hard, we strive to bring home the best grades to show our parents our ability, not just our parents but ourselves! One of the people or groups of people we reflect with our outstanding progress is our own school... the very school who comes to take away the privilege we recieve along with grades; when one attends a honor class and makes a passing grade we recieve points, extra points that goes toward our GPA.

I belive this was an unfair act, no reward for working hard, but yet and still those students on level and below are now going to recieve the same credits we recieve?

Why take something away from us that we worked hard to earn?

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7. Applebee's Server

I have been a server for nearly six years, and have been working at Applebee's for nearly a year. Lately, I have been working during the day due to my school schedule. Recently we began talks about increasing the tip percentage to three percent instead of two as a way to complement the addition of the expeditor to the staff.

I am writing to request eliminating the extra percent tip-out for servers during the day. The extra percentage goes toward an expo, however, there is no expeditor during the day, or a dishwasher for that matter. So the day-time servers are tipping out for virtually nothing. While these servers work two extra jobs, plus prep work, they have to pay more for doing the same job. The other probem I identify with this increase is that at night the servers who work more are rewarded, and the servers who work less are vitually punished.

Hypothetically, if one server sells $1000 and one server sells $500, they tip out the same amount. It's a good deal for the server who sells $1000, but a poor deal for the server who only sells $500 (who really gets less for the tip-out because they work less).

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8. Foxtel bring UK soaps up to date

September 05, 2004

UK soaps Coronation Street and Eastenders are shown on Foxtels UKTV channel. Episodes currently screening are 2 years behind episodes screening in the UK. Originally these soaps were shown only 2-3 times a week in UK but now Eastenders is shown 4 times a week and Coronation Street 5 times a week.

For the last couple of years UKTV has started showing double episodes of Eastenders over the Summer to help catch up but never has it shown double eps of Coronation Street. This means it will never catch up unless extra episodes are shown.

I have started this petition as I love watching both shows and although I appreciate the double helping of Eastenders watching 1.5 hours of soap a night is a big commitment and can be overkill. It seems only logical to me to screen some episodes of both on weekends instead until both are up to date.

One idea could be to move Eastenders 4 eps to Sat & Sun 6.30pm-7.30pm whilst showing double Coronation St weekdays and when Coronation St catches up move Eastenders back to weekdays but leave Eastenders on weekends until it also catches up.

Please sign my petition below if you want to see Coronation Street and/or Eastenders brought up to date.

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9. Give Tracy a Bigger Role

Jane Slaughter, also known as Tracy the barmaid, has been an Eastenders extra since 1997 to now. Isn't it time she had a storyline of her own?

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10. TELL CONGRESS WE WANT A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT UNDER MEDICARE PART B

Petition: TELL CONGRESS WE WANT A PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT UNDER MEDICARE PART B

(put this link in a browser at work and at a public library and leave the page showing. Make it a browser favorite too)


Location: http://www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/383366962


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11. Tank Girl DVD protest

A petition intended to persuade MGM to give us a Tank Girl DVD with the ton of cut footage put back and some extras.

Although they have now released a DVD due to us we are now petitioning to get a special edition released with the cut footage back in its place and some extra documentrys and stuff which we know exsists!

The Girl you want!

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12. Change conflicting policies between Religion and School at ESD

For those unfamiliar with the faith of Islam, one of the many traditions followed by believers of this faith is to grow the beard at fist length (from the chin), and to trim the hair around the upper lip and face. Several passages and sayings (Qu'rran, Hadith),
dictate this as divine law. Recently, a young man of Islamic faith reached the age at which it was deemed appropriate for him to carry out this expression faith. Knowing the school's policy of "no facial hair", he very considerately wrote a letter to several
members of the administration, asking for permission to grow his beard to fist length. He was turned down.

Some would argue that an Episcopalian school reserves the right to deny non-Christian forms of religious expression. However, ESD has chosen, of their own volition, to admit students of non-Christian faith to the school.

The following is a verbatim copy of the mission statement of the Episcopal School of Dallas, which appears on the first page of the 2000-01 edition of the ESD Student Handbook: "The Episcopal School of Dallas, a college preparatory school, is a spiritual community whose mission is to educate young people having A VARIETY OF BACKGROUNDS AND APTITUDES [my emphasis]. The school is a co-educational, faith-centered environment, with a strong academic and extra-curricular program that ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO DISCOVER THEIR FULL POTENTIAL SPIRITUALLY, INTELLECTUALLY, AND PHYSICALLY. [my emphasis]"

By printing the above text on the first page of the student handbook, ESD has professed to encourage students of different faiths to attend their school, and to strengthen their relationship with God. We see forms of religious expression around us every day at school.

To allow Christians and Jews to express their faith using the previously mentioned religious symbols, while restricting Muslims from growing a beard, ESD has restricted members of a particular faith the freedom to express themselves in ways similar to those
that their Jewish and Christian brothers and sisters do.

Furthermore, by publishing the aforementioned mission statement, while at the same time denying a student his own ways of "discover [himself]spiritually", The Episcopal School of Dallas has shown it's true diversity... or lack thereof. Please sign this
petition to support this Muslim student in his fight for religious expression in a "diverse" school.

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