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Inter penalised after fans’ racist attack against Napoli player | News





Inter Milan will play their next two home matches without fans and a third game with a portion of the stadium closed as punishment for their fans racially abusing a Napoli player, the latest incident of racism to blight football in Italy.

The league judge’s ruling on Thursday came a day after Kalidou Koulibaly was targeted by Inter supporters who directed monkey noises at him throughout the Seria A match at Milan’s San Siro Stadium.

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti said he made three appeals for the match to be stopped but his requests were ignored.

Koulibaly, a French-born Senegal defender, was eventually sent off in the game that Napoli lost 1-0.

“I think that the Koulibaly red car was due to a very particular state of mind he was in. He had been insulted during the whole match,” Ancelotti told a post-match press conference.

“We asked the federation to do something about it but they just made some announcements and the match was not suspended like we have demanded.”

Ancelotti also threatened to lead his team off the field the next time one of his players was subjected to continued racist abuse. 

Giuseppe Sala, the mayor of Milan, apologised to Koulibaly, calling the abuse a “shameful act against a respected athlete”.

Italian football’s racism problem

Italy, as well as other European countries, has struggled to combat racism and stamp out racist chants during matches.

Last year, Ghanaian player Sulley Muntari was sent off after confronting fans who abused him during a game for Pescara.

Italian striker Mario Batlotelli has also been a repeated target. Earlier this year, fans of the national team unfurled a banner saying, “My captain has Italian blood” when it was suggested that Balotelli, who was born to Ghanaian parents in Palermo, may be given the chance to captain Italy

Koulibaly himself has been racially abused several times, including by Lazio fans two years ago. Napoli supporters showed their solidarity with the defender by wearing masks depicting him at his next home game.

In 2013, the AC Milan team left the pitch during a friendly match in the town of Busto Arsizio after home fans insulted Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng.

Pavel Klymenko, of the anti-discrimination body Football Against Racism in Europe, says the latest racist against against Koulibaly is a big test for those in charge of the Italian game.

“They have to take the issue seriously. This is a test for the new leadership of the Italian FA (football federation). They have to get this right,” he told Al Jazeera.

“When we look at the politics in Italy right now, this scaremongering of refugees and migrants; the rise of the far-right parties in Italy and across Europe; Interior Minister Matteo Salvini introducing regulations against migrants and ethnic minorities in the country – this has an impact on the stadiums,” added Klymenko.

“With this type of political background, we will see more of these incidents in the coming year.”

Salvini’s far-right, anti-migration League party secured 17 percent of the vote at the country’s general election in March, and a few months later went on to form a coalition government with the populist Five Star Movement.

Since then, Salvini, who is also a co-deputy prime minister, has closed Italian ports to refugee and migrant rescue boats, urged officials to apply tougher rules on asylum requests and called for a census in order to deport Roma without citizenship.

He has come under fire from activists, human rights groups and political opponents who accuse him of creating a climate of hate in Italy following a spate of racist attacks that have coincided with his anti-immigration drive.

Salvini has dismissed concerns over racist attacks in Italy, saying migrants were to blame for a third of all crimes in the country. “This is the only true drama,” he said this summer.

Al Jazeera and news agencies


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Ottawa families give mixed reviews for online schooling





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





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





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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