UK teenagers caught up in summer tragedies score top marks

Students react after collecting their 'A' level exam results at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham, Britain August 17, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 24 August 2017
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UK teenagers caught up in summer tragedies score top marks

LONDON: The teenage sister of a British man killed in a militant attack in Manchester was on Thursday awarded top marks in national exams she sat just in the days after learning her brother had died.
Nik Hett’s brother Martyn was among the 22 people killed in May when a suicide bomber blew himself up as crowds streamed out of the Manchester Arena following a pop concert by US singer Ariana Grande.
Another teenager, 16-year-old Ines Alves, also achieved an A grade in a paper she sat just hours after escaping a deadly fire in a London tower block.
The pair were among thousands of teenagers across the country to open the results on Thursday from their GCSEs — national exams taken by most British teenagers in the academic year when they turn 16.
“Floored” by his younger sister’s bravery, Nik’s other brother Dan Hett took to Twitter to applaud her for scoring some of the highest marks available despite the circumstances.
“Under the most horrific conditions, after going through (and continuing to go through) it all, she didn’t skip a beat,” he wrote. “My kid sister is the toughest person I have ever met.”
He added that Nik’s school had told her she did not need to sit her GSCEs and that provisional grades from tests taken previously could be used as her final results.
“Nik said: nope! And took the lot,” he continued. “Sleeves rolled up, get it done.”
“She got her results today. Eleven A* grades. I have never been more proud or amazed by anyone.” In London, Alves scored an A in chemistry — an exam she sat at 08:00 GMT on June 14, just hours after the Grenfell Tower building caught fire, killing around 80 people and destroying her family home.
She also scored a grade 9 in maths, putting her in the top 3 percent of the country.
A and A* grades are equivalent to a 7, 8 or 9 in the exams, with 9 being the highest mark achievable under a new grading system being introduced this year.


Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

Updated 4 min 4 sec ago
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Russian police arrest man who vandalised Ivan the Terrible painting

MOSCOW: Russian police on Saturday said they arrested a man for vandalising one of the best known works of 19th century painter Ilya Repin, depicting Ivan the Terrible killing his son, at a gallery in Moscow.
Police said the man used a metal pole to break the glass covering Repin's world famous painting of the 16th century Russian Tsar, titled "Ivan the Terrible and his Son Ivan on November 16, 1581."
The Tretyakov Gallery said the work was "seriously damaged" as a result.
"The canvas has been ripped in three place in the central part of the Tsar's son. The original frame suffered from the breaking of the glass," the gallery said in a statement.
"Thankfully the most valuable part was not damaged," it added, referring to the face and hands of the Tsar and his son, the Tsarevich.
The statement added that the incident took place late on Friday, just before the museum closed.
"The man entered the already empty Ilya Repin room. He bypassed staff who were scanning the rooms before the closing, and hit the glass of the painting several times with a metal pole," the gallery said.
Russian state news agency TASS reported the man, a 37 year-old from the central city of Voronezh, did so for "historical reasons."
Police later released a video of the man, who said he acted under the influence of alcohol.
"I came to look at it (the painting). I went to the buffet in the evening, I wanted to leave. Then I drank 100 grams of vodka. I don't drink vodka and something hit me," the man said.

Ultra patriotic groups have protested against the painting before, notably in 2013 when monarchists demanded for it to be removed from the gallery.
The gallery refused to remove it and reinforced security around the work.
It is not the first time the painting has suffered an attack. In 1913, a man stabbed the work with a knife, ripping the canvas in three places. Ilya Repin was then still alive and participated in the restoration of his painting.
Since 1913, the painting has been protected by glass.
Russian state officials have lobbied for the rehabilitation of the medieval ruler's image, who led Russia from 1547 to 1583 and earned the moniker "Terrible" due to his brutal policy of oprichnina, which included the creation of a secret police that spread mass terror and executed thousands of people.
He also killed his own son, most likely by accident during a violent rage.
In June 2017, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the story was a "legend" used by the West against Russia.
"Did he kill his son? Did he not? Many experts say he did not and that this was invented by the Pope's Nuncio who came to Russia for talks and tried to turn Orthodox Rus to a Catholic Rus," Putin said.
In October 2016, Russia inaugurated a controversial monument, the first of its kind, to the 16th century tyrant in Oryol, a city some 335 kilometres south of Moscow.