Syrian govt ends school early for over 4 million students

first_imgBrevet and baccalaureate examinations — usually taken at the end of secondary school and high school respectively — will still be sat by 557,000 students, according to the education ministry.The government will increase the number of exam centers to ensure “distance” between students, SANA reported. After schools were shuttered, some institutions moved to online teaching, while a specialized education ministry TV channel broadcast Arabic, English, mathematics and science courses. But daily power cuts that can last for hours and capped, costly household internet have posed challenges to distance learning efforts in the country wracked by war since 2011. Universities will remain closed at least through the end of the holy month of Ramadan in late May, according to SANA.Damascus has officially reported 42 cases of COVID-19 and three deaths from the disease in government-controlled territory.  Authorities have adopted a series of measures to stem the spread of the virus, closing shops and restaurants as well as imposing a strict curfew and movement restrictions. More than four million students in Syria confined at home due to the coronavirus will not resume classes this year but will advance to the next grade, the government said Sunday.The decision was taken weeks after schools were closed in mid-March to combat the spread of the virus, leaving many students and teachers to adapt to distance learning.”All primary and secondary school students will move on to the next class,” the government announcement said, according to state news agency SANA.center_img Topics :last_img read more

UN condemns systemic racism – without naming US

first_imgAn initially strongly-worded text proposed earlier this week had called for a high-level international investigation into police violence against people of African descent in the United States.But it was watered down in recent days, first to remove the call for an international probe, and finally to strip away any mention of the United States.This sparked outrage from rights groups, which accused Washington and its allies of lobbying heavily to revise the text — a charge that the US mission in Geneva declined to respond to. Burkina Faso’s ambassador, who presented the resolution on behalf of African states, acknowledged Friday that “numerous concessions” had been made to “guarantee a consensus” on the text. Read also: At UN forum, Indonesia calls for greater action against racism as issues persist at home’Excessive force’ The approved resolution calls for UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to “prepare a report on systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies”.It adds that the report should especially pay attention to “those incidents that resulted in the death of George Floyd and other Africans and of people of African descent, to contribute to accountability and redress for victims”.It also calls on Bachelet to examine government responses to “peaceful protests, including the alleged use of excessive force against protesters, bystanders and journalists”.The United States, which had complained of being singled out in the initial text, withdrew from the council in 2018 and was not present on Friday.But a number of its allies took the floor to hail the changes made to the text, stressing that racism was a global issue.Australia’s representative, for instance, celebrated the “acknowledgement that this problem does not belong to any one country. It is a problem around the world”.’Turning its back on victims’ Rights groups, however, slammed the revision.”By bullying other countries to water down what would have been an historic resolution and exempting itself from international investigation, the United States is yet again turning its back on victims of police violence, and black people,” said Jamil Dakwar, head of the American Civil Liberties Union’s human rights division.He said it was “absurd” for the text not to mention the US, “where police kill people, particularly black people, at alarmingly higher rates compared to other developed countries.” Salma El Hosseiny of the International Service for Human Rights said many delegations from Europe and Latin America especially had worked to ensure the US mention was removed from the text, charging that they had helped “subvert the debate into an ‘all lives matter’ discussion. Human Rights Watch’s Geneva director John Fisher meanwhile insisted that “the efforts of the US to avoid council attention only highlights why such scrutiny is needed, and how far there is still to go to dismantle the pernicious structures of institutionaliZed racism.”He celebrated meanwhile that the resolution “opens the door to bring increased international attention to violations both by the US and other powerful states in future.”The urgent UN debate began Wednesday with an impassioned speech via video link by Floyd’s brother Philonise, who said his brother had been “tortured to death” as witnesses begged the officer to stop.He urged the council to establish an independent international commission of inquiry — one of the UN’s highest-level probes — as called for in the initial version of the draft resolution.While there will be no international probe into the situation in the United States, Bachelet has been called upon to present her report on “systemic racism” globally in a year’s time.Topics : The UN’s top human rights body on Friday condemned discriminatory police brutality and demanded a report on “systemic racism”, but rights groups accused Washington of wielding pressure to strip out any mention of the United States in the resolution.The UN Human Rights Council’s 47 members approved by consensus a revised resolution, which was presented by African countries for an urgent council debate, called following the death of George Floyd in US police custody.Floyd’s killing on May 25, after a white Minneapolis police officer — since charged with murder — pressed a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, fuelled a national and global uproar over racism and police brutality.last_img read more

Mining giant BHP signals shift away from coal as profits dip

first_imgBHP added that it was “looking at options to exit” two thermal coal projects in Australia and one in Colombia. Coking coal is primarily used to make iron and steel and has not been the primary focus of the effort to reduce the impacts of climate change. BHP’s own operational greenhouse gas emissions again rose.  Rivals Rio Tinto and Anglo-American have announced similar shifts away from thermal coal.Henry, a long-time employee, was tapped to take over the top job from January 1, 2020.A Canadian, he joined the global resources company in 2003 and led its Australia minerals operations since 2016.Topics : Henry also predicted a rocky path ahead. “We expect most major economies will contract heavily in 2020, China being the exception,” he said.The company also confirmed a long-hinted shift away from the coal-for-electricity market. “To further enhance our portfolio for value, risk and returns, we intend to concentrate our coal portfolio on higher quality coking coals,” the company said in a statement. Mining giant BHP said profits fell four percent in the year ending in June, as the Anglo-Australian firm signaled a transition away from the intensely polluting thermal coal market on Tuesday.The company reported annual net profit of just under US$8 billion, versus $8.3 billion in the year before.Recently installed chief executive Mike Henry noted a “year marked by the challenges” linked to civil unrest in Chile – the world’s largest producer of copper – and the coronavirus pandemic.last_img read more

Cuellar – No new contract offer yet

first_img Cuellar, signed from Rangers for £8 million, is prepared to give Villa every opportunity to re-sign him. He said: “Because I’m in my last year, from January I could speak to other teams, even sign if I wanted. “But always I give the first opportunity to Villa. There is interest from other clubs but I say ‘no’ at this stage. If I’m not in the manager’s plans, I will start to talk.” Press Association Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar says he has still not received a new contract offer from the midlands club.center_img Cuellar, whose current deal expires this summer, has been holding talks with Villa over his future. But the Spaniard, in impressive form in recent weeks, confirmed no concrete proposal has so far been put forward by Villa. He said: “Has there been an offer? No, there has been no offer yet. I am relaxed about it, I am fine. If they want me to stay here, it will be easy. I am happy here at Villa, I would like to stay. If not, if my contract is finished I will have to say ‘thank you, goodbye, it was a pleasure to be here, and I am grateful for the last four years.'” last_img read more

Eaves remains proud of Badgers’ resiliency

first_imgJustin Schultz (right) fights for the puck against a Denver defender in mid-February. A candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, Schultz had a goal and an assist in game two of that series.[/media-credit]With its last regular season games coming up this weekend on the road at rival Minnesota, the Wisconsin men’s hockey team is working to keep its momentum and head into the playoffs on a high note.Head coach Mike Eaves is confident in his team’s chances if players remain consistent.“We’ve got to keep banging the drum here and play the way that we are playing, so that we can, in fact, continue to play,” Eaves said at his Monday press conference.Coming off their first road sweep at Bemidji State, the Badgers are riding their second-longest winning streak of the year at three games. Eaves expressed his excitement coming off his team’s twin 4-2 wins.“One thing that was talked about after Saturday was our fourth line’s performance, with that being a contributing factor to our win,” Eaves said. “It was nice to see that line jump in there and make a difference.”Throughout the season, Eaves has remained mindful of his team’s youth and lack of experience. The Badgers’ record of 15-15-2 reflects their dedication to continuing to improve in practice and the growth of Eaves’ young team.Reflecting back on his team’s tumultuous season, Eaves referenced the team’s North Dakota losses late last month and the 5-2 win against Denver Feb. 18 and voiced his pride in his squad’s resiliency.“It started around North Dakota, not finding a way to get over that hump, … then figuring out how to get over the hump [at Denver],” Eaves said. “It was a terrific feeling in the building, and the guys intrinsically knew what it felt like, how we had to play from now on.”The spark from that win fueled the team through its victories last weekend and has permeated into the players’ mindsets.“There is a sense in the locker room, from the inside out, an intrinsic sense of how we need to play,” Eaves said.Facing the Gophers this weekend in Minneapolis, the Badgers hope to continue their winning streak and by doing so prevent the Gophers from seizing the MacNaughton Cup. Minnesota sits atop the WCHA standings with a 23-11-1 conference record, while the Badgers sit at No. 9 in the conference.While this increases the stakes for Minnesota in this game, Eaves says the team is not focused on what the Gophers are playing for.“Quite honestly, I’ve never been a coach that is going to throw that up in the player’s face as motivation,” Eaves said. “For us, that’s a side effect of if we play well. For us, the big picture is continuing to play well. ”Minnesota will also be coming off a four-game winning streak, having swept Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha the past two weekends. The Badgers are training hard as they prepare to face a motivated and highly disciplined team.When it comes to side-benefits of performing well, Eaves is confident in his Hobey Baker Award nominee, junior defenseman Justin Schultz. Schultz is the league’s top scoring defenseman, with 15 goals and 42 points, and a strong contender to bring the award back to Madison.Teammate Mark Zengerle, a sophomore forward with 44 points this season, joins Schultz of Hobey Baker Award contenders.If either Schultz of Zengerle were to win the award, they would be the second Badger to have that honor following Blake Geoffrion, who won the award in 2010 after finishing as the nation’s second leading scorer and the nation’s top power play goal scorer.Eaves weighed in on Schultz’s chances and compared the experience to what he went through with Geoffrion.“Because of how far we went then, it allowed Blake to play in that plane, and he played at a high level. Playing well on a team in the finals was a huge factor in his winning,” Eaves said. “For Justin to bring it back around, Justin’s ability to have a chance to win and be successful will be dependent on how far we go here. And if we do well, he is going to be leading the charge.”The Badgers are facing their final test before the playoffs this weekend, and Eaves and the rest of his coaching staff are confident they’re ready for the fourth-ranked Gophers. “We made noise this past weekend, and we need to continue to make noise as we go along,” Eaves said.last_img read more

Seventh heaven for Ireland in Euro Qualifier

first_imgMartin O’ Neill’s side turned in a good performance against the Group D minnows, in the process recording the largest ever winning margin seen by a crowd at Lansdowne Road.Robbie Keane grabbed a first-half hat-trick in just 17 minutes- one of those a penalty- to send Ireland in 3-0 up at the break.In the early part of the second-half that scoreline was doubled, thanks to a brace from James McClean and an own goal from Gibraltar goalkeeper Perez. Wes Hoolahan (who was named Man of the Match) added the seventh goal midway through the second-half, to send Ireland top of Group D on goal difference.last_img

Ireland with it all to do

first_imgRoy Hodgson’s men can make it a season unbeaten if they avoid defeat inSlovenia in Group E.Scotland kept alive their hopes of progressing with a 1-1 draw against theRepublic of Ireland in Dublin.They’re now 3 points behind Group D leaders Poland, with Martin O’Neill’s menback in fourth place.Northern Ireland remain second in Group F after drawing 0-0 withtop-of-the-table Romania in Belfast. His side remain fourth in Group D – 5 points off the leaders – after a 1-1 draw with Scotland in Dublin.O’Neill says the result places extra importance on their upcoming fixtures.England round off a weekend of Euro 2016 qualifiers for the home nations later.last_img

SportPesa acquires majority shareholding in RCS Media’s gambling division

first_img Betsson sees strong prospects in disrupted Kenya June 19, 2020 StumbleUpon Kenya Finance Bill carries tax rescind waiting on Kenyatta approval  June 25, 2020 Share Share Campaigners call on Boris to ban gambling sponsorship in football February 26, 2020 Submit Kenyan sports betting operator SportPesa has expanded its European profile, entering the Italian betting market by acquiring a majority shareholding in RCS Gaming.The deal sees SportPesa governance acquire a 75% stake in RCS Gaming, the betting/gaming arm of European media giant RCS Media Group which operates popular media properties La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca, El Mundo and La Corriere.The parties chose not to disclose terms, but it is believed that SportPesa will takeover RCS’ online sports betting brand.This month RCS Media Group released a corporate statement detailing that the firm would look to streamline a number of its ‘non-core divisions’, and focus on its key media assets across Europe.For its part, SportPesa has been forced to expand its operations internationally in 2017 following a 35% blanket tax on all forms of gaming/betting being imposed by the Kenyan finance ministry.RCS Gaming’s assets will be integrated within SportPesa’s global division which at present has ambitions to expand the bookmaker within the UK, South African and Tanzanian markets.The new Italian operation will be run by Adam Beighton, who commented on  the acquisition “presents new opportunities to showcase to our current and future customers the SportPesa culture.” Related Articleslast_img read more

‘Pent-up demand’ for live sports drives gambling pick-up in June

first_img Related Articles EPIC and Whysup ‘continue to make real change’ with partnership renewal August 19, 2020 The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has disclosed that punters appear to be more engaged in betting activities now that live sports has returned.Publishing updated figures of its ‘Gambling business data during Covid-19’, the UKGC revealed an up-tick in betting activity for real events recorded during June. According to the regulator, this is indicative of the ‘pent-up demand’ for live sports, particularly when it comes to football-related betting.The data collected by the regulator, which covers 80% of the industry, has shown that gross gambling yield (GGY) for real event wagering rose by 115% between May and June, up from £1.01 million to £217.5 million. The Commission further noted that GGY for June was higher than ‘average pre-lockdown levels’.Total number of bets placed on real events were also on the rise during June, up from 104,043,293 to 255,476,612 – an increase of 146%. Active players also jumped by 81% during the same period.This data, according to the UKGC, is reflective of a number of player-friendly attributes in June including ‘the high frequency of fixtures following the return of top flight football, some live free-to-air television coverage, and favourable timings in terms of matches being spread out during the day and evening’.Virtual betting markets appear to have tailed off, however, as the UK begins to move out of full lockdown and live events begin to return.GGY for betting on virtual events fell 15% from May to June, with the UKGC reporting figures of £9.6 million in June, down from £11.3 million. Active players also seem to have dwindled, falling by 15% from 287,777 to 244,219.Taking a holistic view of the industry, the total number of active player accounts have fallen by 5%. Average session times have also dropped, falling from 22 minutes to 21 minutes between May and June.Despite this, the UKGC noted that players are still more engaged than they were in March 2019 – the figure for those engaged in more than one activity is down from 41% in April to 35% in June. UKGC lifts Matchbook suspension August 12, 2020 Share UKGC outlines changes to society lotteries and LCCP conditions July 30, 2020 Share Submit StumbleUponlast_img read more