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Trump ‘accepts Erdogan’s invitation’ to visit Turkey in 2019 | News

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US President Donald Trump has accepted an invitation by his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to visit the country, according to a spokesperson for Turkey’s leader. 

Speaking to reporters after a cabinet meeting on Monday in the Turkish capital, Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said Trump wants to make the trip in 2019 but a date has not been set.

The White House confirmed the invitation for Trump to visit next year, adding: “While nothing definite is being planned, the president is open to a potential meeting in the future.”

Trump hosted Erdogan at the White House in May last year.

Kalin said Erdogan extended the invitation during a weekend phone call between the presidents on the withdrawal of US troops from Syria, which was announced last week by Trump.

Syria withdrawal

The presidential spokesperson also said that a US military delegation will visit Turkey this week to hold talks about the issue.

“They will discuss how to coordinate (the withdrawal) with their counterparts,” Kalin told the news conference.

Trump on Sunday wrote on Twitter that he had a “long and productive” call with Erdogan in which they discussed “the slow & highly coordinated” pullout of US military personnel.

“We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria, and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of US troops from the area,” Trump said in a tweet on Sunday, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. “After many years they are coming home.”

Trump said he and Erdogan also discussed “heavily expanded” trade between the US and Turkey after the two NATO allies’ relationship went into a tailspin in recent months over a number of issues.

Erdogan said in a separate tweet: “I had a productive call with (Donald Trump) today, in which we agreed to strengthen our coordination on a range of issues, including our trade relations and the developments in Syria.”


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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