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Sudan football fans clash with police, call on Bashir to leave | News

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Fans at a football match in Sudan‘s capital chanted slogans demanding President Omar al-Bashir step down and later clashed with police in the Khartoum suburb of Omdurman.

Video clips posted online show the fans in the stadium chanting “the people want to bring down the regime,” one of the main slogans of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Activists say police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the fans after the match.

The violence late on Sunday was the latest in a series of anti-government protests across Sudan that have killed at least 12 people.

The protests were initially sparked by rising prices and shortages but soon turned to demands for al-Bashir, in power since 1989, to step down.

“Fuel and bread shortages may have triggered protests across the country, but other factors now seem to be helping to keep them going,” Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from the capital, Khartoum, said.

“People seem to be frustrated not just by the economic crisis, but by the way the country is being run and they want to see change.”

Sudan’s doctors, meanwhile, began an indefinite strike on Monday, with organisers reporting a widespread response.

‘Officers join protesters’

On Sunday, the Sudanese military reiterated its support for al-Bashir in a statement, saying “The armed forces assert that it stands behind its leadership and its keen interest in safeguarding the people’s achievements and the nation’s security, safety along with its blood, honour and assets”.

Cited by the official SUNA news agency, the statement came amid reports that some senior military officers had joined protesters in the cities of Atbara, Gadarif and Port Sudan.

While official estimates put the death toll from the protests at 12, opposition groups say that at least 22 people have been killed in the unrest.

On Sunday, protests broke out in Omdurman, the twin city of Khartoum, and the North and South Kordofan states.

Sudanese authorities have announced a state of emergency and curfew in a number of provinces over the protests, with government officials accusing Israel of plotting with rebel groups to cause violence in the country.

A nation of 40 million people, Sudan has struggled to recover from the loss of three-quarters of its oil output – its main source of foreign currency – when South Sudan seceded.

Sudan’s economic woes have therefore exacerbated in the past few years, even as the United States lifted its 20-year-old trade sanctions on the country in October 2017.

The US has kept Sudan on its list of state sponsors of terrorism, which prevents Khartoum from accessing much-needed financial aid from institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.

Bread prices have more than tripled since the start of this year after a government decision to stop state-funded imports of wheat.

Officials had hoped the move would create competition between private companies importing wheat, and therefore, act as a check on price rises.

But a number of bakeries stopped production, citing a lack of flour. This forced the government to increase flour subsidies by 40 percent in November.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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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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