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Police free Bosnian Serb who led protests over son’s death | News

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Bosnian Serb authorities have released from detention the man who has sparked anti-government protests with his demands for the truth about his son’s death.

Police arrested Davor Dragicevic on Tuesday over allegations that he threatened the security of Interior Minister Dragan Lukac. He was freed on Wednesday after being questioned by prosecutors in Banja Luka, the main city in Republika Srpska, Bosnia‘s Serb-run entity.

The prosecutor’s office said the legal proceedings against Dragicevic will continue but that there was no reason to keep him in detention.

Hours later, Dragicevic led more than 1,000 people to a protest march in Banja Luka as riot police blocked a central square barring the demonstrators from gathering there.

Dragicevic took the crowd to the spot where he says his son David Dragicevic was killed in March. No incidents were reported on Wednesday following a day of scuffles between police and Dragicevic’s supporters on Tuesday.

Several other people were also detained on Monday, including some opposition politicians and briefly Dragicevic’s ex-wife. The family’s supporters rallied in protest, scuffling with the police in the city.

“They claim I threatened someone and I did not,” Dragicevic said upon his release. “I will never give up!”

For the past nine months, Dragicevic has been protesting daily at Krajina Square in Banja Luka, now known as “David’s Square”, demanding justice for his 21-year-old son who was found dead in a shallow river.






Will Milorad Dodik break up Bosnia?

Police initially said the death was a suicide, but the young man’s family insists he was killed by someone else. Prosecutors have opened a homicide investigation, which is ongoing.

Dragicevic has accused top police officials of covering up his son’s slaying and protecting the killers. Authorities deny the allegations.

The “Justice For David” movement has been demanding information about the death. It has inspired months of anti-government protests that have reflected wide popular discontent over corruption in the Balkan nation.

International officials in Bosnia have expressed concern over the situation and urged restraint.

Republika Srpska’s Interior Minister Dragan Lukac said at a press conference on Wednesday that they will not allow gatherings to take place at Krajina Square as it is a public space and should be accessible for all residents.

He added that the Justice For David group had used opposition politicians for their own political goals and that calls for taking down the police and other institutions are inappropriate.


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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