News Briefs | Aug. 31, 2009


Visiting professor to lecture on Jewish music

Israeli musicologist and pianist will lecture at Washington University on Sept. 2 in a presentation titled “Embattled Israeliness, Embedded Jewishness: Jewish Influences on Israeli Music.”

According to an article published in The Record, Assaf Shelleg “will discuss moments in Israeli history in which Jewish music penetrated the newly invented Israeli nationalist and art music.”

Formerly a professor at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Shelleg is the Efroymson Visiting Israeli Scholar this year. His lecture corresponds to a course that he will teach this fall called “Musica Ebraica: Jewish Identities in Western Music from 1600 to the 21st Century.” The course looks at the music of the Western world from the 17th century to the 21st century through the scope of music that was written for and by Jews.

Free and open to the public, the lecture is sponsored by the Jewish, Islamic and Near Eastern Studies program in Arts & Sciences. For more information, contact Stephen Scordias at 314-935-8567. (David Messenger)

SU approves $15,000 for Team 31

On Sunday night, the seven members of the Student Union Executive Council unanimously voted to give an additional $15,000 to Team 31 for purposes of finding talent for the upcoming fall W.I.L.D. This increases Team 31’s initial allocation to find talent from $55,000 to $70,000. Team 31 has a total budget of $139,030.00.  According to the Student Union Web site, the Executive Council decided to grant Team 31 this additional money since many students felt that more money should have been allotted to Team 31 at the 2009-2010 General Budget meeting last April. There is $15,000 remaining in the Executive Appeals account. (Perry Stein)


Flames flare in Los Angeles area

The mountains north of Los Angeles are being ravished by a quickly growing wildfire, which has quadrupled in size since last Friday. Thousands of acres have been burned, and 10,000 homes are in danger of being burned. Already, 35,000 acres of underbrush have burned.

The magnitude of the fire is increasing due to the high temperatures, topping out at more than 100 degrees in parts of Los Angeles, and low humidity. The area has been largely untouched by fire for the last 50 years.

This particular blaze is referred to as the station fire and is one in a group of fires that has been plaguing southern and central California.
Though no casualties have been reported, there have been three burn-related injuries and one case of smoke inhalation. (Chloe Rosenberg)

Robocalls banned by FTC

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced a ban on pre-recorded commercial calls from telemarketers known as robocalls. The ban takes effect on Sept. 1.

Regulators are threatening a fine of $16,000 per message for telemarketing companies that violate the decision.

Under the previous system, robocalls were required to give people an opt-out opportunity should they not want to receive future calls. Public service announcements and other informational calls not intended to sell goods will be exempt from the ban. The new ban is a component of amendments to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule, which took effect a year ago. Calls not covered by the ban include those from charities, banks, insurers, phone companies, survey calls and certain health care messages such as prescription notifications.

Since the FTC announced its decision, telemarketing companies have begun to phase out automated calls and have reverted to having live people make calls. Though a great variety of robocalls will continue to be permitted, telephone users can continue to register their phone number with the National Do-Not-Call Registry, a government-sponsored national database that collects the phone numbers of people who do not wish to continue receiving telemarketing calls. (David Messenger)


Democratic party of Japan wins elections

Japan’s ruling conservative party suffered a drastic defeat on Sunday as voters overwhelmingly elected a leftist opposition group that promises to reinvigorate the Japanese economy and give energy to a country after 54 years of single-party rule.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan is set to gain 300 out of the 480 seats in the Japanese parliament. This election forced the Liberal Democrats, who had ruled Japan for all but 11 months since 1955, out of power.

Voting closed on Sunday night. Despite weather forecasts predicting the approach of a typhoon, voter turnout was high. The high turnout is indicative of a Japanese electorate interested in turning the tide of Japanese politics.

The Liberal Democrats’ loss opens the way for the Democratic Party of Japan, removing Prime Minister Taro Aso from power and establishing a brand new cabinet, which could happen in the next few weeks.

According to a statement issued by the Democratic Party of Japan, “the ruling party has betrayed the people over the past four years, driving the economy to the edge of a cliff, building up more than 6 trillion yen ($64.1 billion) in public debt, wasting money, ruining our social security net and widening the gap between the rich and poor.”

The Democratic Party also stated that they will make Japan’s diplomacy centered less on the U.S. But Yukio Hatoyama, who heads the party, assures he will not pursue change in Japan’s foreign policy, saying the U.S. and Japan relationship will “continue to be the cornerstone of Japanese diplomatic policy.” (David Messenger)

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.