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Sudan government: 19 killed, over 200 injured in protests | News

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Clashes between Sudanese anti-riot police and protesters in demonstrations against a rise in bread prices have killed 19 people, including two security force personnel, according to the government.

“Nineteen people lost their lives in the incidents including two from security forces,” government spokesman Boshara Juma said on state television on Thursday, adding that 219 people were wounded.

Sudanese authorities had previously said that eight people have been killed in clashes in Khartoum and several other cities since the protests began on December 19.

Amnesty International – a global rights organisation – has put the death toll at 37.

Earlier on Thursday, a network of Sudanese journalists started a strike in the wake of deadly protests sparked by an increase in bread prices.

“We declare a three-day strike from December 27 to protest against the violence unleashed by the government against demonstrators,” said the Sudanese Journalists’ Network, which advocates free speech, on Thursday.

The independent network said the strike was also a protest against authorities’ “barbaric” assault on press freedoms, including censorship and confiscating newspaper editions.

Journalists in Sudan frequently complain of harassment from the authorities, and the African country has a dire rating on international press freedom rankings.

Entire print runs of newspapers are often confiscated over articles deemed offensive by the powerful National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which is spearheading the ongoing crackdown on protesters.

Doctors have already been on a strike since Monday.

Activists and opposition groups have called on people to take to the streets again over the next few days.

“We urge the Sudanese people to continue their demonstrations until success is achieved by overthrowing the regime,” the Sudanese Communist Party said in a statement.

Several members of the party have been arrested by security agents since the protests started.

“We also call on all opposition parties to unite and work together to coordinate this movement.”

Protests initially started in towns and villages and later spread to Khartoum, as people rallied against the government tripling the price of a loaf of bread from one Sudanese pound to three ($0.02 to $0.06).

Demonstrators have also been marching against Sudan’s dire economic situation and some have called for the president’s resignation.

After the protests erupted, President Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power since a 1989 coup, vowed to “take real reforms” to tackle the country’s financial difficulties.

Sudan is facing an acute foreign currency crisis and soaring inflation despite the lifting of an economic embargo by Washington in October 2017.

The rate of inflation is as high as 70 percent and the Sudanese pound has plunged, while shortages of bread and fuel have regularly hit several cities.






Is it Sudan’s version of the Arab Spring? (24:20)

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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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