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Cameroon rebels issue virtual currency to fund independence | Cameroon News

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Anglophone separatists in Cameroon have announced launching a virtual currency to help fund their campaign for independence and provide humanitarian aid.

The AmbaCoin, a bitcoin-like currency based on the blockchain software principle, is named after the co-called Republic of Ambazonia”, a self-declared independent state in Cameroon’s Northwest and Southwest Regions.

“The People of Ambazonia has created AmbaCoin, a tradeable digital token that can be used as a currency, a representation of an asset, a virtual share, a proof of patriotic citizenship,” according to the currency’s website.

“All sales of the AmbaCoin will be directed to fund the Ambazonian Cause, to assist Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons, to rebuild homes destroyed by occupying military forces, and to defend communities from the repressive regime of La Republique Du Cameroun.”

According to a clock on the currency’s website, the AmbaCoin became operational on Friday.

It said there had been more than 28,000 pre-orders for the currency, a figure that could not be verified independently.

Buying one “amba” for the “Ambazonian Crypto Bond” costs 25 US cents.

Declared independence last year    

In October 2017, separatist anglophone leaders declared a “Republic of Ambazonia” in two regions that were incorporated into predominantly French-speaking Cameroon in 1961.

The central government in Yaounde launched a crackdown, deploying thousands of troops against the fighters.

More than 200 members of the security forces and at least 500 civilians have been killed, according to the International Crisis Group think-tank, while the UN estimates that more than 437,000 people have fled their homes.

The two English-speaking regions were previously ruled by Britain as the Southern Cameroons.

Over the years, anglophones have chafed at perceived discrimination at the hands of the francophone majority, especially in law, education and economic opportunities.

Resentment built into demands for a return to Cameroon’s federal state, which then snowballed into a declaration of independence as the situation polarised.

The purported state – whose name is taken from Ambas Bay on the coast – also has a flag, a national anthem and a president, but has not been internationally recognised.

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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling

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So, how’s it going with online school? Families reached by CBC Ottawa seem to have mixed reviews. 

Masuma Khan is a mother of two. Her seven-year-old, Hana Wyndham in Grade 2, is attending French immersion virtual school. Masuma is grateful it’s an option, but can’t help notice a lot of down time.

“There’s a lot of, ‘are you on mute?’ In terms of the amount of learning that’s actually happening, it does seem to be not that high,” said Masuma.

Parents who kept their children at home this fall are in the minority, but they still form a significant chunk of families in Ottawa.

In the city’s largest school board, the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB), about 27 per cent of elementary students and 22 per cent of high school students chose online learning. The Ottawa Catholic School Board says roughly a quarter of its students are online.

For Masuma, the decision to keep her daughter home was complex: extended family members are immunocompromised and she worried the in-person learning environment would be unpleasant because of precautions. She also felt her daughter might benefit from being supported at home.

“She doesn’t necessarily enjoy school. I also found out during the pandemic that she was being bullied [last year],” said Masuma. “So I thought, why not try from home?”

To help her daughter socialize face-to-face with other kids, Masuma enrolled Hana in Baxter Forest School, an alternative education program where kids spend most of their time outside, one day a week. Hana also attends virtual Arabic classes two days a week after school. 

Masuma’s husband and Hana share the living room work space, and Masuma admits he does the lion’s share of helping their daughter stay on task. There is a possibility that he’ll be required to return to his office in the new year.

“When he goes back to work … it’s probably going to be a little bit more difficult.”

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No school closures after Christmas holiday break, says Ontario education minister

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Ontario elementary and secondary schools will not close for an extended winter break, says Education Minister Stephen Lecce.

Closures aren’t needed given Ontario’s “strong safety protocols, low levels of (COVID-19) transmission and safety within our schools,” Lecce announced Wednesday afternoon. He said he had consulted with Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams and the province’s public health measures advisory table.

That ended speculation about school buildings remaining closed in January for a period of time after the Christmas break.

Earlier in the week, Lecce told reporters the government was considering having students spend “some period out of class” in January, perhaps switching to online learning.

In a statement, Lecce said that even though rates of community transmission of COVID-19 are increasing, “schools have been remarkably successful at minimizing outbreaks to ensure that our kids stay safe and learning in their classrooms.”

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Windy start to the week in Ottawa

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OTTAWA — It’s a blustery Monday in the capital with wind gusts of up to 50 km/hour expected throughout the day.

Environment Canada is forecasting a high of 4 C with a 60 per cent chance of showers or flurries before the wind dies down later this evening.

There’s a chance of flurries on Tuesday as well with a high of -1 C. The overnight low will dip to an unseasonal -9 C.  

Wednesday’s high will be just -5 C with lots of sunshine.

Seasonal temperatures return for the rest of the week..

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