Arab countries need to improve education systems, says UN official

Arab countries need to improve their education systems, a leading UN official has said, with only the UAE performing impressively in the sector.

Hany Torky, the UNDP’s chief technical adviser, said GCC countries were spending the same amount of money on education but only the UAE was making an impact.

“So far the UAE has appeared as a leader in knowledge not just in the Arab countries but also across Asia. No other country has performed so well as the way UAE has done and continues to do that,” he told Arab News. “The reason can be the quality of teachers, corruption, using resources in the right manner, quality of students. All these factors count for a lot.”

He was speaking to Arab News while sharing the latest results of the Global Knowledge Index, which this year placed the UAE 19 out of 134 countries. It ranked 13 in pre-university education and 20 in higher education.

Torky said the idea of education needed to be redefined in the region because of technological breakthroughs including artificial intelligence, virtual reality and coding.

“We need to use technology to improve social and communication skills. Teachers cannot be replaced by robots. However, robots can help teachers to perform better.”

Saudi educationalist Omar Farooqi said a teacher’s role would change dramatically and they would become more like guides or advisers.

“The problem comes in the form of parents and top-to-bottom implementation of technology in schools,” he told Arab News, “otherwise if you look at the youth population in the Arab world, it is larger than the adult population. Therefore, these children have grown with technology in their hands and on their fingertips. They are more than willing to embrace it.”

The UAE was quick to adopt technology and trends faster than anywhere else in the Arab world, he added, and technology was also a way to revamp the curriculum in public sector schools.

“The Public (school) sector needs a complete revamp of standards from top to bottom of school operations. Private schools, on the other hand, are heavily geared primarily toward commercial success. Therefore the quality of education versus tuition fees is not appropriately balanced. Once it is balanced out, then there is cause for optimism for the private sector to take the lead in helping the public system set higher governance standards through strong strategic collaboration,” said Farooqui.

The Global Knowledge Index is produced annually by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Foundation in partnership with the UNDP.


Nissan Leaf Electric Car Spotted In India

The new Nissan Leaf is currently under consideration for the Indian market View Photos

The new Nissan Leaf is currently under consideration for the Indian market

The second-generation Nissan Leaf electric car has been recently spotted in India. The car seems to have been clicked on the camera by an enthusiast in Kerala and it appears to be a show car or maybe it’s here for R&D purpose.The new Nissan Leaf is currently being considered for the Indian market, especially seeing the growing interest in electric mobility. In fact, last year the Japanese automaker had also announced that it’s planning to commence pilot runs for the car in the country.


The Countdown Highlights: Can Congress Defeat Vasundhara Raje In Rajasthan?

The Countdown Highlights: Can Congress Defeat Vasundhara Raje In Rajasthan?The Congress is reckoning on the anti-incumbency factor against the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan, which will go to polls on Friday to elect a new state government. The party is contesting the polls under the joint leadership of veteran Ashok Gehlot and Sachin Pilot. The BJP is fighting with current Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje as its face, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah backing her with their campaign rallies. Both the sides have alleged infighting in each other’s ranks. On this episode of The Countdown, NDTV’s Prannoy Roy analy


Tej Pratap wants a separate bungalow, won’t stay with mother Rabri Devi

Tej Pratap wants a separate bungalow

ormer Bihar minister Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder son of RJD chief Lalu Prasad is all set to leave the residence of his mother Rabri Devi, the former chief minister of the state. Tej Pratap is in Patna but not staying at 10, Circular Road, the official residence of Rabri Devi.

Tej Pratap wants a separate bungalow for himself. He has sought an official residence for himself by writing to Building Construction Department minister Maheshwari Hazari. The close associates of Tej Pratap said that he had expected he would get 2, Taylor Road bungalow.

However, Maheshwari Hazari said that his department was could allocate bungalows only from the central pool. Bungalows to MLAs and MLCs are allocated through the legislative assembly or the legislative council secretariat. Tej Pratap is an MLA in Bihar assembly.

Tej Pratap has been running away from his family after blaming them for forcing him to marry Aishwarya Rai, the daughter of a senior RJD leader Chandrika Rai, who is the son of former Bihar chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai. The wedding took place in May this year.

Read | Tej Pratap quotes Rahim’s doha to explain pain of divorce with Aishwarya Rai

But Tej Pratap alleged that his family conspired against him for political reasons and forced him to marry Aishwarya against his wishes. Tej Pratap filed a divorce petition in a Patna court last month. The court is likely to hear the divorce petition on January 8 next year.

Meanwhile, Tej Pratap had gone “missing” after filing the divorce plea. He returned to Patna last week after keeping his family members guessing about his whereabouts for 27 days. The vanishing act of Tej Pratap left the Lalu Prasad family wondering as to who might be financing him.

Even after his return to Patna, Tej Pratap has maintained a distance from his family, which has been trying to convince him to withdraw the divorce petition. Sources close to the family said that Rabri Devi made a few phone calls to Tej Pratap asking him to return home but he refused to pay heed.

The Lalu Prasad family has expressed its support for Aishwarya Rai, who is staying with Rabri Devi in her official residence. This is believed to be the reason why Tej Pratap is not going to that bungalow.


u/CryptoBull007 Clinches Coveted Title

While there remains little cause for celebration among the Bitcoin community in the ongoing 2018 bear market, growth in one sector of its economy is undeniable: the r/Bitcoin subreddit.

Confirming the landmark membership, moderator known as BashCo awarded a prize to the millionth person to subscribe to the subreddit. That person was the account known as u/CryptoBull007.

BashCo had set up a dedicated thread in preparation for the event, with the user already appearing to have claimed the prize.

“I saw it was getting close yesterday, so I decided to make a reddit profile today for when we got close,” u/CryptoBull007 had said, adding he had joined the platform after seeing an AMA session with Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson.

r/Bitcoin: 600K Users In 1 Year

Like many areas of Bitcoin’s user community, r/Bitcoin has had a chequered history, with even a rival subreddit r/BTC appearing later on to drive publicity for altcoin Bitcoin Cash.

Infighting among certain members continues, Bitcoin Cash proponent Roger Ver in June this year offering to donate $250,000 to charity if moderators stopped alleged censorship of certain content on r/Bitcoin.

Membership has meanwhile grown conspicuously over the past twelve months. In November 2017, r/Bitcoin celebrated reaching 400,000 subscribers.

As Bitcoinist reported, despite the downturn in Bitcoin price $4006.65 -0.76% this month and last, interest in the cryptocurrency has continued to expand.

Price volatility traditionally sparks increased attention from lay consumers, and Google statistics confirm the trend, with terms such as ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Is Bitcoin dead’ seeing six-month highs.

So far in 2018, the Bitcoin network transacted over $2 trillion in value. Compared to last year, that figure is up by over 60 percent.


Photo of cops checking on pets’ welfare goes viral

WELFARE CHECK:  Officers check over animals on a farm at Baffle Creek.

THE Queensland Police Service posted this photo to Facebook and received almost 3000 likes as of today.

The snap was taken when officers went to check on animals in the evacuation zone.

At one property, officers fed and watered a cat, checked on two horses and fed pigs sweet potatoes.

Facebookers were thrilled.

“Wow. These guys and girls have been here protecting, helping and looking after all of us fireys and this community for the past week,” wrote Judy Ferrari.

“We shall be eternally grateful here in the Wartburg Fire shed.”

The post was shared more than 200 times.


Cathedral HS basketball player taunted in viral video: ‘It hit me hard, I cried’

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A viral video which appears to show a fan mocking a basketball player who lives with epilepsy as he heads to the free throw line sparked controversy and a response from the schools involved.

The video is from Friday night’s Center Grove vs. Cathedral basketball game.

The clip posted to Twitter shows a student in the Center Grove High School cheering section taunting Cathedral senior James Franklin Jr., who has epilepsy, as Franklin goes to the free throw line.

The video depicts the student dropping to the floor and shaking, in what appears to be an imitation of a seizure.

News 8 is not identifying the student who appears to mock James in the video. The original tweet that contains the video was deleted sometime late Friday or early Saturday.

On Saturday, James spoke with News 8. He explained he has had multiple seizures since eighth grade because of his epilepsy. He had brain surgery last August to treat his condition.

“It didn’t hit me at first,” said James. “Like last night it didn’t hit me. But this morning, I woke up and was thinking hard and had a lot on my mind and started crying a lot. I cried.”

News 8 talked with James and his mother, Tamieka Franklin, ahead of Cathedral’s game against Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School Saturday night.

“He said, ‘Mom, they were yelling, “Have another seizure for me; have a seizure for me,” during the game,'” said Tamieka.

Tamieka told News 8 the student seen in the video apologized to James’ father after the game, but she said the apology did not seem sincere.

“One of the parents had gone and gotten the kid and was like ‘Hey, that was not acceptable, this is this man’s son, and do you know what he’s been through?’ The kid was like ‘Oh yeah, I’m sorry,'” said Tamieka.

“I mean how can you be sincere when you obviously went through social media and took the time to research our players?” Tamieka said.

Tamieka told News 8 the taunting from Center Grove didn’t start with her son.

“They did their research,” said Tameka. “The free throw before, they had taken a picture of one of our players and pasted a picture of his mother on (the Center Grove fan’s) belly and took his shirt off when he was shooting free throws. When I saw the first thing with the mother on the stomach, I thought ‘Wow, they really kind of cut really deep.’ It was way past the line when they did that. Then when I saw the guy flop on the ground, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. But when you go away from the players and you start attacking their character and their disabilities, that’s way past the line.”

Less than 24 hours after the video went viral, James said the pain is still fresh in his mind, and he hopes the student in the video realizes the hurt he has caused.

“I’m pretty sure right now he’s probably sitting in his room in the dark thinking, realizing that he did something bad,” said James. “I’m still really down about this.”

Center Grove released a statement Saturday evening saying:

“We are working collaboratively with the administrative staff and athletic department at Cathedral to address these issues. Our goal is to always create an environment where sportsmanship and quality competition can thrive. We do not condone any behavior intended to mock, disparage or humiliate any player or student.”

Tamieka told News 8 Center Grove is not doing enough to remedy the situation.

“This is something that’s been going on,” said Tamieka. “If you were on social media and saw all the negative feedback, that were toward center grove. This is an underlying problem with them. this is something that’s not new. It’s been displayed in the past and has not been dealt with.”

As messages for James pour in from across the country, both James and his mother are asking for awareness about his disorder.

“Read his story,” said Tamieka. “Know what he’s been through, know what kids his age and adults go through every day living life with epilepsy and battling this disease. We want to bring awareness to this.”

“Whoever has epilepsy, don’t let anybody bring you down,” said James. “Even if it’s very hard, just try to keep fighting and rely on God to do the work and don’t let anything discourage you from what you want to do and just do things through Christ.”

School officials with both Cathedral and Center Grove high schools are scheduled to meet Sunday to discuss the situation.

It was not known on Saturday whether the student in the video would face any repercussions.


Artist Behind Viral Barbara Bush Cartoon Returns to Reunite Her With George H.W. Bush

Artist Behind Viral Barbara Bush Cartoon Returns to Reunite Her With George H.W. Bush

Clarion Ledger cartoonist Marshall Ramsey has followed up his viral Barbara Bush cartoon, drawn earlier this year, with a new illustration reuniting the Bush family in heaven.

President George H.W. Bush passed away on Nov. 30, 8 months after his wife of 73 years died. The Ledger published a new cartoon from Ramsey on Dec. 1, which depicts the former President arriving into heaven in a TBM Avenger plane, like the one he flew during World War II.

Bush is drawn reuniting with Barbara, who passed in April. The pair are also joined in the clouds by a drawing of their daughter Robin, who died when she was 3 years old. In the cartoon, Barbara is saying “We waited for you.”


Maple Leafs’ Dubas responds to viral Blue Jackets fan after Nylander deal

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On Nov. 23, Blue Jackets fan Ryan Lacey set Maple Leafs nation on fire when he tweeted a picture with general manager Kyle Dubas before a game in Columbus, stating that Dubas will “have an update by 5pm” on the William Nylander contract situation.

On Nov. 23, Blue Jackets fan Ryan Lacey set Maple Leafs nation on fire when he tweeted a picture with general manager Kyle Dubas before a game in Columbus, stating that Dubas will “have an update by 5pm” on the William Nylander contract situation.

As the fan’s reported deadline passed that day without an update from Dubas, Lacey became the target of a lot of angry Leafs fans and Hockey Twitter in general.

Clearly not one to be discouraged, Lacey tweeted on Saturday afternoon that an update “Will happen today,” a statement that would prove true whether Nylander signed at the 5 p.m. deadline or not.

And after Nylander inked his new deal, Dubas took to Twitter to respond to the now-infamous Blue Jackets fan.


Dublin woman’s viral message helps return large sum of Christmas money to lucky mum

Stock photo of 500 Euro notes (Image: MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

A Dublin woman has saved Christmas for a mother whose daughter is seriously ill in hospital.

Emma Tutty found a large amount of money and a Christmas list in Blanchardstown yesterday.

Her Facebook message pleading to find the owner of the missing items went viral over the course of yesterday evening and today.

In the original post, she wrote: “Large amount of money was found in Blanchardstown, with a kids toy list, please please help get this back to the right full owner, I’ll will need you to give me the list, and the the description of the bag before anything is handed over xx.”

It has now emerged that the owner has been located. A woman from Waterford, who was visiting her seriously ill daughter in hospital, had lost the money.

Emma wrote: “Someone has come forward for there money, Lizzy McQurik from Waterford, she was on her way to see her daughter who’s in a coma in James hospital.

“She stopped of in Blanch village to take the money out, but obviously she dropped it, but she actually thought she was mugged in town as she thought she felt someone at her bag, so happy she got it back and thanks to everyone that has shared the status xx.”