Category Archives: INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Water rationing hits Burkina Faso capital.

42607628.295Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou has been hit by severe water shortages, which have prompted authorities to impose a rationing schedule on water distribution.

Starting Tuesday, the city will be divided into two and each half will get 12 hours of water per day, according to the BBC.

The government says the shortages are down to high demand at a time when a heat wave is hitting the country.

Some districts of the city that has a population of about 2 million people have gone for more than three days without water.

However, the World Bank and USAID consider the country’s water management authority (ONEA) as one of the best performing public utility companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

No rains are expected before June or July and it’s until then that taps shall properly run again.

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First baby girl in family in 101 years.

76113377.295The last time there was a girl in Scott Underdahl’s family, Woodrow Wilson was president, gas cost 15 cents a gallon and Babe Ruth had just hit his first career home run.

In other words, it’s been a while – 101 years to be exact.

But on April 12 at 5:48 p.m., baby Aurelia entered the world at 8 pounds 3 ounces, with blonde hair and blue eyes.

“I’m a little at a loss as to what to do – I grew up with three brothers and haven’t spent much time around girls,” Scott, 27, a manager for a lumber company in Post Falls, tells PEOPLE. “But my daughter has been a lot of fun so far. Everyone is excited to have a little girl in the family.”

Adds Scott’s wife, Ashton, 26: “It’s been a huge mental adjustment.”

But a fun one.

“I was pretty certain until my four-month ultrasound around Christmas time that we’d be having another boy,” she tells PEOPLE. “When we learned we were having a girl, nobody could believe it. Everyone kept asking, ‘Are you sure? ‘”

Now that all doubt has been erased with Aurelia’s’ first cries, relatives on the paternal side of the Underdahls’ family are buying baby clothes in pink for the first time since 1915. The last girl in the family was Scott’s great-aunt Bernice, born in 1914.

With eight boys born over four generations of Underdahls, along with Scott and Ashton’s first child, Archer, now almost 2, “we never considered girl names until after we got the news at that ultrasound,” says Scott. “And even then, it took a long time to sink in.”

“I’d even bought ‘little boy’ ‘blue and brown owl bedding,” Ashton, now on maternity leave from her high-tech healthcare job, tells PEOPLE. “I finally exchanged it and decorated her room in Elizabethan purple, gray and yellow, instead.”

Close friends since the fifth grade, the Underdahls were high school sweethearts who married five years ago.

“Growing up, I was a tomboy,” says Ashton, who has one younger brother. “In fact, for my birthday in the second grade, I asked for a cement truck and I got one. So when I became engaged to Scott and found out there were no girls in the family, it wasn’t a big deal. We figured, ‘We’ll be having us some boys.'”

After watching Archer interact with his new baby sister, the Underdahls think they’d like to add at least one more child to their family at some point.

“Who knows? Maybe another girl?” says, Ashton. “It’s like Scott’s dad says: It took more than 100 years to create perfection.”

Parents to keep children off school.

16564539.295Parents are threatening to keep their children off school for the day in a protest about primary tests in England.

More than 40,000 parents have signed a petition calling for a boycott of primary school tests, which are due to be taken later this month.

Parents supporting the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign have complained of a damaging culture of over-testing.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says taking pupils out of school “even for a day is harmful to their education”.

It remains uncertain how many primary school children will be kept off school, but a social media campaign has been urging parents to take children on educational activities for the day.

The campaign organisers say children are “over-tested, over-worked and in a school system that places more importance on test results and league tables than children’s happiness and joy of learning”.

They have raised concerns about the impact of primary tests, so-called Sats tests, taken by seven-year-olds and 11-year-olds, which are being made more difficult.

They have challenged what they claim is a “dull, dry curriculum” based on tests.

In an open letter to the education secretary, campaigners have warned of schools becoming “exam factories” and that testing causes stress and can make young children feel like “failures”.

Fiona Robertson, a parent and primary teacher who is planning to take her children out of school, says that such tests can “turn children off” school.

She says that a narrow emphasis on testing and completing targets was taking away children’s creativity.

“They’re not producing really imaginative pieces. They’re too scared to,” she said.

‘It’s too hard’

Dawn Slater is keeping her six-year-old twins George and Josie away from lessons at Cheam Fields Primary School, Surrey on Tuesday. She said they had been stressed since returning to school this term.

Her son had been having tantrums and her daughter suffered nightmares.

“She’s been saying things like ‘I can’t do it, it’s too hard’, in her sleep,” she said.

“When I do the literacy test, it’s hard,” said Josie. “When we have the story, when we’re we’re stuck on a word, we can’t read it. So the story won’t make sense.”

Instead, the family is going to Nonsuch Park to “find birds, trees and insects”, Josie added.
‘Basket case’

But education minister Nick Gibb said tests improved standards.

He said: “Schools should not be putting pressure on young people when taking these assessments. I’ve been to many schools where the children don’t even know they’re taking the tests, they don’t have an effect on the children themselves because they have no consequences for the children.

They [the tests] are to hold schools to account, to make sure that every school in the country is equipping children with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.”

And parent’s and teachers’ claims were dismissed by Chris McGovern, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education.

He said that any short-term stress was worth it if in the longer term it meant that children finished school with better results.

Mr. McGovern said that tests in England’s schools needed to be tougher to catch up with international competitors.

“We’re three years behind the Chinese at the age of 15. We are a bit of a basket case internationally.

“We’ve got to do something, we’ve got to act early, and a health check at seven is a good idea.”

Ministers have already had problems with the administration of primary school tests this year.

The baseline tests, which were intended to be a benchmark for measuring progress, were found to have unreliable results and have been postponed.

Tests for seven-year-olds in spelling, punctuation, and grammar also had to be called off when it was found that test questions had mistakenly been published on a Department of Education website.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said she did not “condone children being taken out of school”.

But she accused the government of “creating chaos and confusion in primary assessment”.

Russell Hobby, the leader of the National Association of Head Teachers, said: “I think the gap between the profession and the government has never been wider than it is at the moment.”

He warned of “an enormous number of mistakes, delays and confusions around testing”.

But Ms. Morgan has argued that raising standards will improve creativity and not restrict it and keep children home, even for a day is harmful to their education.”

Prez Of Tanzania Magufuli Keeps To His Words As Independence Day Is Used For Clean Up Exercise

It’s Independence day in the Eastern African nation of Tanzania. The nation turns 54 years after independence today but contrary to the usual pomp and pageantry that is characterized with such celebrations,the situation is different in Tanzania now.

Mr John  Magufuli won Tanzania’s 29 October poll with 58% of the votes to Mr Lowassa’s 40% in a fiercely contested election.

Since his election Tanzania has seen a drastic turn in policies with his decision to cancel the independence day celebration and replace it with a clean up exercise.

Tanzanians have been reacting to the changes that President John Magufuli has introduced since his election in October.

Mr Magufuli cancelled today’s Independence Day celebrations as part of his campaign against wasteful spending – and spent the morning cleaning the streets near his official residence in the main city, Dar es Salaam .

Tanzanian academic Benson Banna has been telling the BBC’s  Newsday radio programme that Mr Magufuli is a change-maker:.

It is not a common scene in Tanzania – the president, dressed casually and wearing a hat and  gloves, joining hundreds of people in sweeping streets and picking up rubbish in the main city, Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's President John Magufuli

But this is just what newly elected President John Magufuli did this morning after cancelling today’s usually lavish Independence Day celebrations and ordering Tanzanians to clean-up their neighbourhoods.

The scene was replicated across the country, with schools and shops remaining shut as people swept streets, pruned trees, and tidied up their areas from the crack of dawn. Children cleaning streets in Tanzania

This is the first time in 54 years that Tanzania has not held celebrations to mark independence from the UK.

In many ways, the clean -up exercise was symbolic of President Magufuli’s pledge to remove what many Tanzanians see as the rot in public institutions, and their failure to perform effectively.

Last month, Mr Magufuli said it would be “shameful” to spend huge sums of money on the celebrations when “our people are dying of cholera”.

Cholera has killed about 60 people in Tanzania in the last three months – many of them in poor areas which lack proper toilets.

Mr Magafuli, nicknamed “The Bulldozer”, was elected in October.