Child refugees in Manchester being taught in hotel car parks

Child refugees in Manchester being taught in hotel car parks
Car parks in Manchester are being used as classrooms for the children. (AFP FILE/Image used to illustrate story)
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Updated 08 April 2022

Child refugees in Manchester being taught in hotel car parks

Child refugees in Manchester being taught in hotel car parks
  • Children from countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Syria, are being housed in hotels

LONDON: Hundreds of child refugees and asylum seekers in England are receiving lessons from volunteers in Manchester hotel car parks due to council failures in helping find them places at local schools, British national daily The Guardian reported.

Founder of Manchester-based charity Refugee and Asylum Participatory Action Research, Dr. Rhetta Moran, accused local and national government authorities of failing families fleeing persecution.

“Parents arriving with children are being asked to fill out forms naming three possible schools for their child to attend in the area,” Moran said.

“This is a near impossible task for someone new to the country whose English might not be strong. It often falls to charity volunteers to assist with the completion of these forms, which are then sent to the city council for processing.”

Children from countries including Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, and Syria, are being housed in hotels throughout the city by the Home Office as they await news on their asylum applications.

But with charity resources stretched for young asylum seekers and refugees in the region, Moran urged Manchester City Council – and Serco, the company contracted by the Home Office to provide accommodation – to address the problem as a matter of priority.

A UK Department for Education spokesperson said: “We must do all we can to welcome refugees who arrive in this country having been forced to flee their homes due to conflict.

“We expect every school-aged child arriving here to begin attending school shortly afterwards. We believe that the best place for all children to be educated is in schools and attendance will help children integrate into the communities in which they are living.”

But one Manchester resident told The Guardian that 30 children had been housed in the same hotel as her, some waiting at least six months for a school place.

She said that while the teaching taking place in makeshift car park classrooms was “very necessary for children who are at a crucial age in their development,” in falling to volunteers and residents to pick up on council failures it was “very unstructured.”

Another resident at the same hotel, said: “Sometimes it’s just a case of them doing some supervised math on the ground in chalk, or residents sharing their skills such as art or sewing.

“It’s informal, but the children are bored and unstimulated without it. Plus, it’s good for them to build their social skills via interactions with other kids.”

A Manchester City Council spokesperson said: “All staff in hotels where families are placed have had guidance shared with them about applying for a school place in Manchester and are aware of the need to apply for a place to access a local school.

“They also have a direct link into the education service in Manchester. This academic year alone, the council has placed more than 400 refugee and asylum-seeker children in schools and colleges.

“This has included commissioning places in secondary schools outside Manchester where there were not sufficient places in their local area.”


Philippine court orders compensation for victims of 1993 mining disaster

Philippine court orders compensation for victims of 1993 mining disaster
Updated 6 sec ago

Philippine court orders compensation for victims of 1993 mining disaster

Philippine court orders compensation for victims of 1993 mining disaster
  • Incident made mining a highly contentious issue in a country with vast underdeveloped mineral reserves

MANILA: A Philippine court has ordered a mining company to pay damages to 30 people for negligence in a 1993 dam burst that was one of the country’s worst mining disasters, a verdict cheered on Wednesday by environmentalists and the industry.
The case was filed in 2001 by residents in the island province of Marinduque, who sought compensation after a typhoon caused Marcopper Mining Corp’s Maguila-guila dam to burst, submerging nearby communities and destroying property, crops and livelihoods.
The court in Marinduque ruled the plaintiffs must be paid 300,000 pesos ($5,734) each, plus a share of 1 million pesos for exemplary damages, according to the May 16 decision, which was made available to media this week.
The incident made mining a highly contentious issue in a country with vast underdeveloped mineral reserves. The Philippines is currently the biggest nickel ore supplier to top metals buyer China.
Marcopper, which folded after the incident, had denied liability and negligence in its maintenance and operations of the dam, according to the court decision. It was not immediately clear who would pay the compensation.
Marcopper’s parent company, Placer Dome, was acquired by Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp. in 2006, which absorbed its workforce and projects. Barrick did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the ruling.
Activists and industry groups said the incident underlines the importance of compliance by mining firms.
“The decision sends an encouraging signal to communities gravely affected by mining,” said the Alyansa Tigil Mina (Stop Mining Alliance) group.
Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Wilfredo Moncano said the decision “serves as a reminder to all mining companies to strictly comply with environment laws and regulations.”
The industry lobby group, the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, said the incident has been “a constant reminder to miners all over the world that the safety of all stakeholders in host mining communities is paramount.”


Ukraine’s Zelensky says will only talk directly to Russia’s Putin

Ukraine’s Zelensky says will only talk directly to Russia’s Putin
Updated 11 min 9 sec ago

Ukraine’s Zelensky says will only talk directly to Russia’s Putin

Ukraine’s Zelensky says will only talk directly to Russia’s Putin
  • Zelensky: Moscow should withdraw its troops back to the lines in place before Russia began its invasion

DAVOS: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday that he was only willing to talk directly to Vladimir Putin and not via intermediators.
He added that if the Russian President “understands reality” there was the possibility of finding a diplomatic way out of the conflict.
Zelensky, speaking to an audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, also said that Ukraine would fight until it recovered all of its territory.
The Ukrainian President said that Moscow should withdraw its troops back to the lines in place before Russia began its invasion on Feb. 24.
“That might be a first step toward talks,” he said, adding that Russia has been playing for time in its talks with Ukraine.


Pakistan’s capital Islamabad blockaded ahead of opposition protest

Pakistan’s capital Islamabad blockaded ahead of opposition protest
Updated 25 May 2022

Pakistan’s capital Islamabad blockaded ahead of opposition protest

Pakistan’s capital Islamabad blockaded ahead of opposition protest
  • Ousted prime minister Imran Khan plans to lead thousands of people to the capital in a showdown with his rivals

ISLAMABAD: All roads leading into Pakistan’s capital Islamabad were blocked on Wednesday ahead of a major protest planned by ousted prime minister Imran Khan and his supporters.
Since being removed from power through a no-confidence vote last month, Khan has heaped pressure on the country’s fragile new coalition government by staging mass rallies across the country.
The international cricket star-turned-politician plans on Wednesday to lead tens of thousands of people from his power base in the northwestern city of Peshawar to the capital demanding fresh elections — in a center-piece showdown with his rivals.
The coalition government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has pledged to stop Khan’s supporters from pouring into the city, calling the rally an attempt to “divide the nation and promote chaos.”
“Nobody should be allowed to besiege the capital and dictate his terms,” interior minister Rana Sanaullah said on Tuesday.
Entry and exit points on key highways that lead to the capital were blocked by police around the nearest main cities of Peshawar, Lahore, and Multan.
Islamabad police on Wednesday published a traffic plan showing a complete blockade of the city and a heavy security presence.
On Tuesday, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) accused police of arresting and detaining hundreds of its supporters in overnight raids.
Police sources in Lahore who asked not to be named said more than 200 supporters were detained on public order offenses.
The government and police have said that protesters had been planning to join the march with weapons.
One police officer was shot dead during the raids, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said.
But a defiant Khan told reporters in Peshawar he would lead the largest march in Pakistan’s history.
“I don’t consider it politics but jihad,” Khan said, referring to a term used by Muslims to describe a struggle.
In 2018, Khan was voted in by an electorate weary of the dynastic politics of the country’s two major parties.
The popular former sports star — who enjoyed the backing of the country’s powerful military — had promised to sweep away decades of entrenched corruption and cronyism but is believed to have fallen out with Pakistan’s generals.
He was brought down in part by his failure to rectify the country’s dire economic situation, including its crippling debt, shrinking foreign currency reserves and soaring inflation.


Russia seeks to put stranglehold on twin Ukrainian cities

Russia seeks to put stranglehold on twin Ukrainian cities
Updated 25 May 2022

Russia seeks to put stranglehold on twin Ukrainian cities

Russia seeks to put stranglehold on twin Ukrainian cities
  • More than 6.5 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched its war of aggression
  • EU’s von der Leyen says Moscow weaponizing food

More than 6.5 million people have fled abroad, uncounted thousands have been killed and cities have been reduced to rubble.

 

KYIV/SLOVYANSK, Ukraine: Russian forces sought to encircle Ukrainian troops in twin eastern cities straddling a river as President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Moscow was seeking to destroy the industrial Donbas region where it has focused its attacks.
Russia is attempting to seize the separatist-claimed Donbas’ two provinces, Donetsk and Luhansk, and trap Ukrainian forces in a pocket on the main eastern front.
Russian forces took control of three towns in the Donetsk region including Svitlodarsk, regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko told an affiliate of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“The situation in Donbas is extremely difficult. All the remaining strength of the Russian army is now concentrated on this region,” Zelensky said in a late Tuesday address. “The occupiers want to destroy everything there.”
Russia’s defense ministry did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment out-of-hours.
The easternmost part of the Ukrainian-held Donbas pocket, the city of Sievierodonetsk on the east bank of the Siverskiy Donets River and its twin Lysychansk, on the west bank, have become a pivotal battlefield. Russian forces were advancing from three directions to encircle them.
“The enemy has focused its efforts on carrying out an offensive in order to encircle Lysychansk and Sievierodonetsk,” said Serhiy Gaidai, governor of Luhansk province, where the two cities are among the last territory held by Ukraine.
Ukraine’s military said it had repelled nine Russian attacks on Tuesday in the Donbas where Moscow’s troops had killed at least 14 civilians, using aircraft, rocket launchers, artillery, tanks, mortars and missiles.
Reuters could not immediately verify the information.
In a sign of Ukrainian success elsewhere, authorities in its second-largest city, Kharkiv, re-opened the underground metro, where thousands of civilians had sheltered for months under relentless bombardment.
The re-opening came after Ukraine pushed Russian forces largely out of artillery range of the northern city, as they did from the capital, Kyiv, in March.

WORLD WAR THREE?
Three months into the invasion, Russia still has only limited gains to show for its worst military losses in decades, while much of Ukraine has suffered devastation in the biggest attack on a European state since 1945.
More than 6.5 million people have fled abroad, uncounted thousands have been killed and cities have been reduced to rubble.
The war has also caused growing food shortages and soaring prices due to sanctions and disruption of supply chains. Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other commodities.
European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of using food as a weapon.
Billionaire financier George Soros, also speaking in Davos, said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may have marked the start of World War III.
“The best and perhaps only way to preserve our civilization is to defeat Putin as soon as possible,” he said.
Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Tuesday lambasted President Vladimir Putin, casting the Kremlin chief as a doomed madman who was butchering the people of both Ukraine and Russia.
“This is a stupid war which your Putin started,” Navalny told an appeals court in Moscow via video link from a corrective penal colony. “This war was built on lies.”
Underlining the global tensions unleashed by the war, major US ally Japan scrambled jets on Tuesday after Russian and Chinese warplanes neared its airspace as US President Joe Biden visited Tokyo.
Meanwhile, in a decision that could push Russia closer to the brink of default, the Biden administration announced it would not extend a waiver set to expire on Wednesday that enabled Russia to pay US bondholders.
Russia had been allowed to keep paying interest and principal and avert default on its government debt.
Russian lawmakers gave the first stamp of approval to a bill that would allow Russian entities to take over foreign companies that have left the country in opposition to Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, a government online portal showed. 
On Monday, Starbucks Corp. became the latest Western brand to announce it was pulling out of Russia, following a similar decision by McDonald’s. The hamburger chain’s trademark “Golden Arches” were lowered near Moscow on Monday.

DRAWN OUT CONFLICT
Senior Russian officials suggested in comments on Tuesday the war, which Russia calls a “special operation,” may be drawn-out.
Nikolai Patrushev, head of Putin’s security council, said Russia would fight as long as necessary to eradicate “Nazism” in Ukraine, a justification for the war that the West calls baseless.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia was deliberately advancing slowly to avoid civilian casualties.
Zelensky dismissed such statements as “absolutely unreal.”
In Kharkiv, hundreds of people were living underground in trains and stations when the authorities asked them to make way on Tuesday.
“Everyone is crazily scared, because there is still shelling,” said Nataliia Lopanska, who had lived in a metro train for most of the war.
Russian shelling continued in the city and wider area, regional governor Oleh Sinehubov said.
The Donbas fighting follows Russia’s biggest victory in months: the surrender last week of Ukraine’s garrison in the port of Mariupol after a siege in which Kyiv believes tens of thousands of civilians were killed.
Petro Andryushchenko, an aide to Mariupol’s Ukrainian mayor now operating outside the city, said the dead were being found in the rubble.
About 200 decomposing bodies were buried in debris in a basement of one high-rise building, he said. Residents had refused to collect them and Russian authorities had abandoned the site.
 


A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings

A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings
Updated 25 May 2022

A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings

A look at some of the deadliest US school shootings

There have been dozens of shootings and other attacks in US schools and colleges over the years, but until the massacre at Colorado’s Columbine High School in 1999, the number of dead tended to be in the single digits. Since then, the number of shootings that included schools and killed 10 or more people has mounted. The most recent two were both in Texas.

ROBB ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, May 2022
An 18-year-old gunman opened fire Tuesday at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, killing 19 children and two adults, officials said. The 18-year-old attacker was killed by law enforcement.

SANTA FE HIGH SCHOOL, May 2018
A 17-year-old opened fire at a Houston-area high school, killing 10 people, most of them students, authorities said. The suspect has been charged with murder.

MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HIGH SCHOOL, February 2018
An attack left 14 students and three staff members dead at the school in Parkland, Florida, and injured many others. The 20-year-old suspect was charged with murder.

UMPQUA COMMUNITY COLLEGE, October 2015
A man killed nine people at the school in Roseburg, Oregon, and wounded nine others, then killed himself.

SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, December 2012
A 19-year-old man killed his mother at their home in Newtown, Connecticut, then went to the nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first graders and six educators. He took his own life.

VIRGINIA TECH, April 2007
A 23-year-old student killed 32 people on the campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, in April 2007; more than two dozen others were wounded. The gunman then killed himself.

RED LAKE HIGH SCHOOL, March 2005
A 16-year-old student killed his grandfather and the man’s companion at their Minnesota home, then went to nearby Red Lake High School, where he killed five students, a teacher and a security guard before shooting himself.

COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL, April 1999
Two students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher at the school in Littleton, Colorado, and injured many others before killing themselves.