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Israeli forces kill Palestinian woman during Gaza protests | Palestine News

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Israeli forces have shot and killed a Palestinian woman as thousands demonstrated along the Gaza Strip’s perimeter fence, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The spokesperson for the ministry, Ashraf al-Qedra, said 43-year-old Amal al-Taramsi was shot in the head on Friday at a protest site east of Gaza City.

Al-Taramsi was the third woman to be killed in protests that began in March, during which at least 241 Palestinians have been killed.

At least 25 other Palestinians were wounded by Israeli gunfire on Friday, including two members of the media and one paramedic, according to al-Qedra.

An Israeli military spokesman said around 13,000 Palestinians had taken part in the demonstrations.

“The rioters have burned tyres and hurled blocks, explosive devices and grenades towards (Israeli) troops and at the Gaza Strip security fence,” an army spokeswoman said.

The army later struck two positions belonging to the Palestinian group Hamas, which governs Gaza, it said. A Hamas security source said there were no injuries.

An AFP journalist said several thousand protesters gathered east of Gaza City, and confrontations were stronger than in recent weeks.

Protesters tried to destroy a barbed-wire fence near the border and Israeli forces responded with gunfire and tear gas.

Palestinians have staged weekly mass protests for months as part of the Great March of Return movement.

The demonstrators are calling for the lifting of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed on Gaza for over a decade and for the right to return to their ancestral homes in Israel, as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.

Most of the Palestinians killed during the demonstrations were shot in weekly clashes, but others have been hit by Israeli tank fire or air raids.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period, one by a Palestinian sniper and another during an aborted special forces operation in Gaza.

Egyptian mediators were in Gaza this week to meet with officials from Hamas and other factions to shore up a ceasefire that went into effect after an intense exchange between Hamas and Israel in November that brought them to the brink of war.

Participants said they discussed Cairo-led efforts to reconcile Hamas with the rival Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and reduce border tensions.


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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