Primary boys fail in three Rs

Wednesday 07th September 2016 06:44 EDT

LONDON: Data released by the Department of Education showed that 50.46 per cent of boys who sat for the SATs, failed to meet the target. It also showed a rough eight per cent point difference between genders. Experts felt that girls outperform boys as they are more eager to please, and the boys have fewer male role models to look up to. Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, Chris McGovern said the gap was a "major cause of concern". "A lot of primary schools are dominated by Hermione Granger-type girls, a delight to teach and eager to please. But this is happening at the expense of boys."

Third of children 'not ready for school' aged five

London: It has been claimed that over a third of infants struggle to count to 10 and even write simple words. Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said many nurseries and child minders were "not improving fast enough to give children the best start in life", warning that four in 10 early education providers were not good enough. The comments followed a new research published by Ofsted where it outlined nurseries, pre-schools, and childminders had to take to bring themselves up to scratch. It also talked on how the best schools used imaginative methods to give children a grounding in basic literacy and numeracy and make sure they interact properly with their peers. The report showed figures showing 36 per cent of children start school reception classes without a "good level of development".

Bells stolen from Cotswold church

GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Thieves broke into the St Peters church in Daylesford, and took off with three 4 ft and 5t long tubular brass bells, and another massive sized one. The theft came to notice once when Reverend David Salter pulled the ropes to ring the bells. "They are beautiful sounding bells and it is a beautiful church. It is just very sad that people seem to target the church. Although the bells are worth very little as scrap, it's very difficult to replace them, if indeed anybody still makes them," the Reverend said. What is surprising, is the fact that the people who took the bells, managed to climb down a wooden ladder and spiral staircase with the loot. "They are a considerable weight to get down ladders, down a spiral staircase and out to whatever van or vehicle they used," he said.

14 clergy defy ban on gay marriage

London: Directly breaching the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, over 14 clergy of the Church of England, went ahead and married their gay partners. While there is no official liturgy of blessings for same sex marriages, the church forbids clergy from marrying their partners of the same gender, and from officiating gay weddings.

Public offered 1.5 million pound to tackle radicalism

London: The Home Office has begun a £ 1.5 million fund to combat terrorism at a local level. The scheme offers up to £100,000 to groups or individuals to pitch in projects to prevent radicalisation in their communities and "prevent vulnerable people from being drawn into terrorism". The best entries will be judged by the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism.

Bishop tells of his homosexual relationship

London: Rt Rev Nicholas Chamberlain, the Bishop of Grantham, has become the first bishop in the Church of England, to openly announce his homosexual relationship. In a relationship for a long time, Chamberlain decided to come out after a Sunday newspaper threatened to expose him. "People know I'm gay, but it's not the first thing I'd say to anyone. Sexuality is part of who I am, but it's my ministry that I want to focus on." He said he did not want to be known as the "gay bishop", adding that his relationship is "faithful" and "loving". "We are like-minded, enjoy each other's company and share each other's life."

Jupiter close-ups beamed back to Earth

LOS ANGELES: A spacecraft from NASA caught Jupiter at its best yet. Showing the planet's temperamental northern polar region, mission chief scientist Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute, said, "This image is hardly recognisable as Jupiter." The pictures taken by Juno, look "like nothing we have seen or imagined before" he said. The solar-powered spacecraft took several photos, showing unique sights of Jupiter's bright southern lights- considered the most powerful in the solar system. The second mission to orbit Jupiter, Juno will complete its job in 2018 and then deliberately crash into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrate.

17 dead in suicide bombing, blasts in Pakistan

PESHAWAR: Two consecutive bomb blasts killed 12 people and injured 52, outside a district court in northwestern Pakistan last Friday. Chief rescue officer Haris Habib said, "So far we recovered 12 bodies of the lawyers, police personnel and civilians. Besides this, we rescued 52 injured, including lawyers, police personnel and civilians from the spot." It was a bad day for Pakistan, as earlier in the day, at least four suicide bombers attacked a Christian neighbourhood in northwestern Pakistan, killing one security guard. Lt General Asim Bajwa said authorities "promptly responded" and killed all four attackers. The military issued a statement saying the attackers, who were dressed in suicide vests and carried firearms, exchanged fire with security guards.

10 injured in attack on Iskcon temple in Bangladesh

SYLHET (BANGLADESH): A clash erupted between Hindu worshippers at an Iskcon temple, and Muslim devotees of a nearby mosque allegedly over a land dispute. Sylhet Metropolitan Police Additional Commissioner SM Rokan Uddin said the fight took place after the Friday prayers last week when Muslim devotees went to the temple to confront the authorities for not stopping devotional songs being played. "Muslim devotees went to the temple before the Jumma prayers and had requested the temple authorities to stop the devotional songs while the prayers are held. However, when the songs were not stopped, the devotees went there again and locked in an altercation," Uddin said. At one point, both groups even began hurling bricks at one another. At least 10 people were injured in the bid, including former ward councillor Jebunnahar Shirin and International Society for Krishna Consciousness temple employee Rajendra Keshob Das. The police lobbed 15 tear gas shells and rubber bullets to bring the situation under control.

Jackie Chan to get lifetime achievement Oscar

LOS ANGELES: Jackie Chan, actor, and martial arts expert, will receive a lifetime achievement Oscar, as announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Joining the ranks of documentary maker Frederick Wiseman, Anne V Coates, and Lynn Stalmaster, the 62 year old has never won an Oscar. Chan has appeared in several Hollywood movies like 'The Karate Kid' and the 'Rush Hour' franchise. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement saying all of them were "true pioneers and legends in their crafts".

Uzbekistan buries late strongman Karimov

SAMARKAND: President Islam Karimov was laid to rest in Uzbekistan last week, amid tight security. The iron-fisted leader, who ruled the ex-Soviet country for around 27 years, was pronounced dead after he went into a coma from a stroke. Memorial service for the leader was held at the UNESCO World Heritage Registan square, and was attended by many including Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and presidents of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev said, "Our people and Uzbekistan have suffered an irreplaceable loss. Death took from our midst the founder of the state of Uzbekistan, a great and dear son of our people."

Bangladesh executes Jamaat leader Mir Quasem Ali

DHAKA: Jamaat-e-Islami leader Mir Quasem Ali was executed at the high security Kashimpur Jail in Gazipur, Dhaka. Quasem was instrumental in leading the ruthless Al-Badr militia that helped the Pakistani Army during the Liberation War in 1971. The sixth person to be given the gallows for "crimes against humanity", Quasem had decided to not seek presidential clemency as the last resort. Senior Police official, Russel Sheikh said officers had taken the "highest security measures" ahead of the execution, in anticipation for fear of violence. More than 1,000 police personnel were deployed in Gazipur and hundreds of paramilitary border guards were outside the prison.

In Iraq & Syria, IS buried thousands in 72 mass graves

HARDAN: The ISIS revealed scenes of horror on the Sinjar mountain as local villages watched handcuffed men gunned down one by one and then buried, for six consecutive days. The extremists killed over 100 people, however, just about 71 graves have been documented so far. There are several mass graves located all across Syria, with estimates suggesting a staggering number of 5,000 to 15,000 victims. One of the locals, Qassim said, "We want to take them out of here. There are only bones left. But they said no, they have to stay there, a committee will come and exhume them later."

To battle IS, Iraq militias recruiting child soldiers

ERDIL: Human Rights Watch has reported that militias, supported by the Iraqi government has been recruiting child soldiers from refugee camps for a major operation against the Islamic State. It said that locals at the Debaga camp, near Erbil, Kurdistan, said tribal military group Hashad al-Ashari recruited seven children under the age of 16, and 250 other refugees, driving them to a town closer to Mosul where the Iraqi forces are under preparation for an offensive against the IS' stronghold in the region. IT is said that the men in the group fight for one week at a time, and are paid £290 per month.

Pak man jailed for smuggling military tech

WASHINGTON: A US court sentenced an expat businessman of Pakistani origin for trying to illegally procure gyroscopes for the country's drone programme. Syed Vaqar Ashraf, an expat, and CEO of I&E International, attempted to buy gyroscopes through a shell company called Innovative Links. A grand jury indictment and trial released a 33-month prison sentence. The US Department of Justice said, "Ashraf attempted to procure gyroscopes and illegally ship them to Pakistan so they could be used by the Pakistani military. In an effort to evade detection, Ashraf arranged for the gyroscopes to be purchased in the name of a shell company and caused the gyroscopes to be transshipped to Belgium. Ashraf then travelled to Belgium to inspect the gyroscopes and arrange for their final transport to Pakistan."

Pak crackdown on Indian DTH

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority has launched a crackdown on the airing of excessive foreign content by TV channels and cable operators. PEMRA chairman Absar Alam said, "Adequate time is being given to the cable operators and satellite channels to adjust their timings as per the legal requirements. Otherwise, punitive action will be taken against the two important segments from October 15." The move comes after the decision to introduce Pakistani DTH service in the country was taken. Alam added that a board meeting also decided to completely stop airing any Indian channel in the country since none of them have landing rights in Pakistan. Under PEMRA rules, only 10 per cent of airtime (two hours and 40 minutes in a 24-hour transmission) is allowed for foreign shows.

Two Indian-Americans selected for poet program

WASHINGTON: Five students selected for the rather prestigious National Students Poets Program, included two teens of Indian-American origin. The first time Indian-Americans made into the program, Maya Eashwaran and Gopal Raman, will be welcomed along with three others, at the White House, by US First Lady Michelle Obama. The program recognises five poets every year from a bunch of outstanding writers who have received a national Scholastic Art and Writing Award for Poetry, from grades 9 to 11. Eashwaran writes about foreigners, also mentioning her personal experiences. Raman believes his inspiration are Billy Collins, Wallace Stevens, and Walt Whitman.

Twin suicide blasts in Kabul kill at least 24

KABUL: Two Taliban suicide bombers struck close to the defence ministry in Kabul, killing at least 24 people in the bid. The two men blew themselves up in an attack that was aimed at causing mass casualties. Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammad Radmanish said, "The first explosion occurred on a bridge near the defence ministry. When soldiers, policemen and civilians rushed to the scene, there was the second explosion. The enemies of Afghanistan are losing the fight in the ground battle with security forces." His statement added, "This is why they are attacking, highways, cities, mosques, schools, and ordinary people." Following the death of their former leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Their spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid took to Twitter saying the defence ministry was the object of the first attack, while police was targeted in the second.

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