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Philippines’ Duterte launches new tirade against Catholic church | Philippines News

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President Rodrigo Duterte has denounced bishops in the Catholic-majority country as “sons of bitches”, renewing his attacks on the church that has criticised him over his bloody war on drugs.

Duterte, who launched his campaign against drugs when he took office in mid-2016, remains hugely popular but doubts about the campaign, in which thousands of people have been killed, have been growing.

“Only I can say bishops are sons of bitches, damn you. That is true,” Duterte said in a speech during a groundbreaking ceremony for a school north of the capital, Manila.

Duterte did not mention any particular reason for his criticism of the church on Thursday, which included a suggestion that most bishops are homosexual.

“Most of them are gay,” he said. “They should come out in the open, cancel celibacy and allow them to have boyfriends.”

Duterte, who is not a regular church-goer, said early in his presidency that he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a boy.






WATCH: Fear and killings on the rise in Duterte’s war on drugs

The Roman Catholic Church is facing clerical sexual abuse scandals in various parts of the world, although there have been no major cases reported in the Philippines.

In previous speeches, Duterte called God “stupid” and described as “silly” the doctrine of Holy Trinity.

Francis Lucas, an official with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, played down the president’s criticism saying all should show restraint.

“We have to be more sensitive to the sensitivities and sensibilities of others out of respect,” Lucas told Reuters news agency.

The president’s crackdown on drugs retains much support but some sectors of the church have become increasingly vocal about the killings, with calls for justice and offers of sanctuary to drug users.

Some 5,000 people have been killed in police anti-drugs operations in Duterte’s anti-drug drive.

Police reject accusations that the killings were executions, saying drug peddlers and users were killed in shootouts, and police acted in self-defence.

About 80 percent of the more than 100 million people of the Philippines are Roman Catholic.






WATCH: The Philippines: Locked Up | 101 East (26:00)


SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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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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