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Mexico state governor and senator husband die in helicopter crash | Mexico News

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A Mexican governor and her senator husband have been killed in a helicopter crash in the central state of Puebla.

Martha Erika Alonso, a senior opposition figure and the new governor of Puebla, died with Rafael Moreno Valle, a federal senator and the former governor of the same state, when their helicopter came down on Monday not far from Puebla city, local media reported.

“My deepest condolences to the relatives of Senator Rafael Moreno Valle and his wife, governor of Puebla Martha Erika Alonso,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote on Twitter, adding that his government would open an investigation.

Marko Cortes, president of the couple’s centre-right National Action Party (PAN), tweeted that he deeply lamented the fatal accident. He added that the party was in mourning.

Alonso took office as governor less than two weeks ago after a local election that was hotly contested with Lopez Obrador’s leftist National Regeneration Movement, or MORENA. An electoral tribunal had to validate the results months after the vote amid accusations of fraud. 

Moreno Valle governed the state from 2011 to 2017.

“I said hello to (Moreno) in the Senate just a few days ago. Those of us who had the opportunity to know them are sad and troubled,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter.

It was not immediately clear if the pilot died or what had caused the crash.

Helicopter crashes

TV footage showed the remains of an aircraft in flames, a plume of smoke and people who showed up at what appeared to be the scene.

The Reforma newspaper reported that the helicopter took off from Puebla city and crashed in Huejotzingo, about 30km away.

Benito Nacif, an official at the federal electoral institute, said Puebla’s Congress would have to appoint an interim governor until new elections could be held for a successor to serve out the remainder of Alonso’s term.

A number of Mexican politicians have died in aircraft accidents in the past few years, including federal interior ministers in 2008 and 2011. The latter two were also members of the PAN.

In February, a military helicopter carrying top Mexican officials crashed while assessing damage from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the southern state of Oaxaca. The crash-landing killed at least 13 people on the ground who had apparently been waiting to greet the greet the officials who survived the crash unharmed, as did the crew. 


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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