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A Black Man Was Just Found Hanging from a Tree in Atlanta After a spate of police killings of black men this week, a possible hate crime has surfaced in Atlanta. Early Thursday morning, a black man was found hanging from a tree in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park. While police said the man’s death looked to be consistent with suicide, no official autopsy has been conducted. Social media is claiming that the young man’s death came on the heels of Ku Klux Klan members passing out recruitment flyers in the park just the day before, a claim that has not yet been verified, and expressed skepticism at the implication of a suicide without a full investigation. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office found no immediate evidence of foul play in the man’s death. However, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed has referred the investigation to the FBI and says he won’t “prejudge the circumstances surrounding this young man’s death.” The victim’s name has not yet been released. “I am deeply saddened by the loss of a young man’s life last night in Piedmont Park. This disturbing event demands our full attention. The Atlanta Police Department (APD) is conducting a robust investigation into his death and I have asked to receive regular briefings on the status of the investigation,” Mayor Reed said in a public statement. “We ask for the public’s support and cooperation as we work to resolve this matter.” In 2011, Atlanta began installing thousands of surveillance cameras in public areas, including Piedmont Park. As of this writing, no video footage has been released. This is a developing story and will be updated as new details emerge.
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students up to three years behind Asian teens THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 6, 2016 12:00AM Natasha Bita Teacher mentor Sonia Byrnes with Emma Campbell and students Caitlin Hinh, Joseph Millwork and James Johnstone. Picture: Hollie Adams Chinese students have leapfrogged Australian teenagers by nearly three years in maths and are 18 months ahead in reading and science. Australian teenagers also lag behind high school students in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. Learning First, an Australian education research group, has crunched data from the OECD Program for International Student Assessment, which tested the basic skills 500,000 15-year-old students in 65 industrialised countries in 2012. It found that in maths, Australian students’ learning had fallen 32 months behind that of students in Shanghai and 17 months behind Hong Kong. Singaporean students were 20 months ahead of Australian teenagers, and high school kids in the Canadian province of British Columbia were five months ahead of Australians. Australia is producing more low-performing students, and fewer top-of-the-class students. MORE: Master teachers must lead the way MORE: School diversity should be praised The proportion of students who were in the top categories of ­mathematical ability in the PISA tests fell from 20 per cent in 2003 to 15 per cent in 2012. At the same time, the proportion of lowest-performing students rose from 14 per cent to 20 per cent. The report, to be published today, shows that family income has a bigger impact on academic performance in Australia than in most other developed countries. “This means that students from low-income backgrounds are not getting the education they deserve,’’ it says. Learning First chief executive Ben Jensen said yesterday Australia must improve teaching quality, in line with the high-performing countries. He said principals should be accountable for the performance of classroom teachers. “Teacher professional learning in high-performing education systems is not an add-on or something done on a Friday afternoon or for a few days at the end of the school year,’’ Dr Jensen said. “Too many teachers feel underprepared in classrooms, and the millions of dollars we invest in teacher professional development is too often viewed as a waste of time.’’ Dr Jensen said young Aus­tralian teachers required more feedback on their teaching. Professional development for Australian teachers is focused on workshops, conferences and online training. The NSW, Victorian and Queensland education departments have formal mentoring programs for experienced teachers to help new recruits. Casula Public School, in Sydney’s south, has used NSW government funding to hire a “team teacher’’ one day a week, to mentor 14 junior teachers on short-term contracts. The senior teacher, 42-year-old Sonia Byrnes, has 22 years’ classroom experience and now helps beginner teachers at five schools in Sydney’s southwest. “They just need reassurance they’re doing the right thing in the classroom,’’ Ms Byrnes said yesterday. “It’s important for them to ­establish classroom routines, to be consistent and fair with the children. Once they’ve got behaviour management under control, students stay engaged for a longer ­period of time. “I also build the teachers’ questioning skills, so they get children to think outside the square.’’ First-year teacher Emma Campbell, 22, has found her first weeks teaching a Year 4 class “a bit scary’’ and is grateful for advice from an experienced colleague. “It gives me reassurance I’m doing the right thing and I have feedback on my teaching and how I can improve it,’’ Ms Campbell said. “When I was teaching an Eng­lish lesson, Sonia suggested I try not to get the kids to put their hands up, but to choose them randomly to answer questions.’’ Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe said teachers needed more time away from the classroom to learn and collaborate. “Australian teachers have some of the largest workloads in the developed world and spend far more time teaching than the OECD average,’’ she said. Ms Haythorpe said the union’s survey of principals had found most schools were using their extra “Gonski’’ funding for professional development. “That is allowing teachers the time to develop their skills and knowledge, to collaborate and share what works, and to translate that into more effectively meeting the individual needs of students,’’ she said. Productivity Commission data released this week shows that federal, state and territory governments spent a record $50bn on schools in 2013-14. Funding to private schools rose five times faster than spending on public schools between 2009-10 and 2013-14.
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The number of asylum-seekers on Nauru harming themselves plummeted to zero three months after Immigration Minister Peter Dutton stopped family members from being allowed to travel to Australia to accompany a sick or injured person. Concerns grew within the government last year that the high level of self-harm on Nauru might be linked to asylum-seekers seeking a flight to Australia for medical treatment and the oppor­tunity for all family members to appeal for refugee status or ­residency. There were also departmental concerns that children on Nauru might have been copying adults performing self-harm or being ­injured as part of an attempt to get to Australia. Late last year, Mr Dutton ­instructed the Immigration ­Department to bring only the person needing medical treatment to Australia, not the whole family, unless there were “extenuating circumstances”. MORE: Can’t soften offshore processing MORE: Perverse incentive eradicated In the three months after the virtual ban on family members was introduced in September, there was a dramatic fall in self-inflicted injuries. In January last year, there were 15 threats of self-harm by asylum-seekers on Nauru and 14 self-­inflicted injuries and in May there were seven threats and eight incidents of self-harm, representing 2.4 per cent of the asylum-seeker population. But in October, the month after the new policy, there were only one threat and seven self-inflicted injuries. By the following month, this had dropped to two threats and two incidents of self-harm. In December, there was only one threat of self-harm and no self-inflicted injuries. The Immigration Minister said this week the bulk of the 267 people who came to Australia from Nauru in connection with medical treatment were family members who did not require treatment. On Wednesday, the High Court rejected an attempt from the people in Australia who had come from the offshore pro­cess­ing centre in Nauru, including 37 babies, to remain in Australia. The asylum-seekers are ­mostly Iranians, Sri Lankans, ­Syrians and Afghans. They include more than 70 children, about 37 of whom were born in Australia, and more than a dozen women who had ­allegedly suffered serious sexual assaults or harassment on Nauru. The High Court ruled that the processing of asylum-seekers on Nauru was legal and constitutional, and gave the power to the government to send them all back to Nauru. Mr Dutton said the government would “look at the individual cases” of returning people but would not “put children into harm’s way”. He said he aimed to have no children in detention, and criticised refugee advocates for encouraging failed asylum-seekers not to accept resettlement packages to return home. “We want to provide support to these people,” Mr Dutton said. “If they don’t want to go back to Nauru, we’re happy to provide support to return them to their country of origin.” Mr Dutton imposed the policy under which only those requiring medical assistance are sent to Australia in September after concern self-harm was a way of getting to Australia and appealing for residency. Mr Dutton has instructed the department to improve medical and mental health facilities on Nauru and to find alternatives to Australia, including Papua New Guinea, to enable quicker treatment and remove incentives for self-harm. Only complex cases would be brought to Australia. Mr Dutton said now that the High Court had ruled in the government’s favour on offshore processing, cases for return would be considered individually “once the medical assistance has been provided”. “We can make arrangements for those people to go back to Nauru, or preferably we’ll make arrangements for them to go back to their country of origin and provide financial support for that to happen,” he said.
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+2'Offensive and incorrect': Bill Shorten writes to US politician Ted Cruz on gun claims Date January 28, 2016 - 4:33PM Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken a swipe at US presidential candidate Ted Cruz for claiming the rates of sexual assault and rape soared in Australia following the introduction of strict gun laws. Mr Shorten has written directly to Senator Cruz after the conservative Christian – who is billionaire Donald Trump's closest rival for the Republican nomination – made the claims about the post-Port Arthur massacre laws earlier this month. Bill Shorten has defended the John Howard-era gun laws against criticism from US Republican Ted Cruz. Bill Shorten has defended the John Howard-era gun laws against criticism from US Republican Ted Cruz. Photo: a "As you know, Hugh, after Australia did that [gun buyback program], the rate of sexual assaults, the rate of rapes, went up significantly, because women were unable to defend themselves," he said on high-profile radio host Hugh Hewitt's show. Advertisement "There's nothing that criminals or terrorists like more than unarmed victims." But Mr Shorten has called the claims offensive and incorrect and defended the Howard-era reforms as "indisputably the right thing to do". Republican presidential candidate senator Ted Cruz. Republican presidential candidate senator Ted Cruz. Photo: AP "Twenty years after the chilling tragedy of Port Arthur, along with many Australians, I regard gun law reform as John Howard's finest achievement in office," he wrote. "Contrary to your comments, reducing the number and restricting the availability of semi-automatic weapons did not lead to an increase in the rates of violent crime, rape or sexual assault." After gunman Martin Bryant murdered 35 people and injured 23 at the former Port Arthur prison colony, a popular tourist destination, the Howard government introduced strict gun laws, including the buyback of over 600,000 firearms. Mr Shorten urged Senator Cruz to properly study the Australian example and not misrepresent it in a "misguided defence" of the United States' gun laws, which continue to be a contentious issue ahead of the country's election later this year. President Barack Obama and other Democrats, pointing to the rampant gun violence and regular mass shootings afflicting the country, are seeking to introduce gun control measures while the gun lobby and many Republicans defend the "right to bear arms" as enshrined in the constitution. Gun control advocates regularly refer to Australia's reforms as an example of successful gun restrictions, and in response the NRA and other gun rights advocates have attack the laws. Mr Shorten says "Americans deserve to know the truth that the reforms to Australia's gun laws are working and lives are being saved". He is backed up by a Washington Post fact check that examined Senator Cruz's claim and rated it a "whopper" of a factual error. The analysis found no significant spike or drop but a gradual increase in sexual assault rates over the decade after the 1996 changes in Australia. The increase was likely affected by a rise in the reporting of sexual assaults and there wasn't prevalent use of handguns for self-defence before 1996, as Senator Cruz suggested, the newspaper concluded. "The rates didn't go up 'significantly' after the buyback and there's no evidence changes to gun laws in Australia affected sexual assault rates or jeopardised the ability of women to protect themselves," the Washington Post said. Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/offensive-and-incorrect-bill-shorten-writes-to-us-politician-ted-cruz-on-gun-claims-20160128-gmg4yt.html#ixzz3yX5OrHS6 Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook
'Offensive and incorrect': Bill Shorten writes to US politician Ted Cruz on gun claimsOpposition Leader Bill Shorten has taken a swipe at US presidential candidate Ted Cruz for claiming the rates of sexual assault and rape soared in Australia following the introduction of strict gun laws.http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/offensive-and-incorrect-bill-shorten-writes-to-us-politician-ted-cruz-on-gun-claims-20160128-gmg4yt.html#ixzz3yX3u5Jqr
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Australia Day tomorrow army David Morrison has been named Australian of the Year for his campaign to end sexism and disrespect towards women in the force. The man who told Australian soldiers to “get out” of the Army if they couldn’t accept female colleagues and treat them equally has been crowned the 2016 Australian of the Year. Former Chief of Army David Morrison’s famous video addressing the troops went viral in 2013, gaining him global recognition for his tough stance against sexism in the Army. He gives much of the credit for his nomination as ACT’s representative for the prestigious award to the soldiers who implemented cultural change and intends to use his year to promote diversity and gender equality in the workplace. Gordian Fulde, NSW finalist in Australian of the Year awards. Senior Australian of the Year: NSW doctor Gordian Fulde has been named Senior Australian of the Year. Professor Fulde is the longest-serving emergency department director in the country, having headed ER at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital for three decades. The 67-year-old is an outspoken campaigner about the scourge of ice and alcohol-fuelled violence. Nic Marchesis and Lucas Patchetthave set up Orange Sky Laundry. Young Australians of Year: A couple of mates who invented a mobile laundry with an old van to help homeless people clean their clothes are the Young Australians of the Year for 2016. Queensland social entrepreneurs Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett have been recognised for their work helping the homeless with a free mobile laundry van, in what is the first time the award has been granted to two people. Their innovative social venture Orange Sky Laundry has quickly rolled out to the rest of the country since starting in late 2014, with 270 volunteers helping out in vans in Brisbane, Melbourne, South East Victoria, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Collectively they wash more than 350 loads each week in Brisbane, Melbourne, South East Victoria, Sydney and the Gold Coast. Australia’s Local Hero - Dr Catherine Keenan with PM Malcolm Turnbull. Picture: Gary Ramage Australia’s Local Hero: Former journalist and youth educator Catherine Keenan has been named Australia’s Local Hero for 2016. As co-founder of the Sydney Story Factory, Dr Keenan has helped thousands of primary and high school students improve their writing skills and cultivate their creativity through storytelling. The NSW finalist has trained more than 1200 volunteers through her organisation, which offers free classes aimed primarily at people from indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds.
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