Friday, December 9, 2016

The results of the latest international student tests are out, with Mexican students continuing to languish at the bottom of the list of member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

They obtained an average score of 416 points in the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, while across the OECD the average is 492. In the three areas assessed — sciences, reading and mathematics — fewer than 1% of students in Mexico achieved a top-performing level 5 or 6, a percentage that has not changed significantly since 2006. Students scored 416 points in science, on average, with a mean performance below the OECD average of 496. In reading, the average national score was 423 points, below the OECD average of 493. In the third subject, mathematics, Mexican students earned the lowest score of all 34 OECD countries with 408 points. The OECD average is 490. In a presentation of the 2016 PISA results, the OECD said “Mexico’s mean performance in mathematics has improved by five points every three years, on average, between 2003 and 2015.” “However, in 2015, Mexico’s mean score was lower than the score attained in 2009,” it said. Fifty-seven per cent of students are considered low achievers in mathematics while in science the percentage is 48 and in reading 42. In a video press conference, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos lamented that after 15 years of PISA testing in Mexico the results continue to be disappointing, and the country continues falling behind with no significant variations in its results. “It’s not what the students of Mexico deserve,” she said, adding that the picture is “very negative” with regard to Mexico’s performance, and “not a good one of its education system.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A teenage Afghan asylum seeker has been arrested in Germany for the rape and murder of the 19-year-old daughter of a senior EU official

Medical student Maria Ladenburger, who volunteered at a refugee home in her spare time, was found dead in the university city of Freiburg, near the border with Switzerland in mid October 2016. Her father is Dr. Clemens Ladenburger, a lawyer who works as the right hand man to the legal director of the European Commission. The suspect has confessed to the murder, according to police. He was arrested and will go before the courts in 2017. Maria was drowned after being raped, her body found in the River Dreisam on October 16, 2016.

Hundreds of terrorists could be using British benefits to fund their extremist activities after the Government admitted that it did not know the true scale of problem

There have been calls for a thorough investigation into the issue after two men were convicted of channeling thousands of pounds of fraudulent housing benefits to the Islamist fanatics behind the Paris and Brussels terrorist outrages. With more than 850 "Britons" thought to be currently fighting in Syria, counter terror experts believe large amounts of taxpayers' money is ending up in the hands of jihadists desperate to wage war on the West. Birmingham City Council has apologized and vowed to review its systems after it emerged that it had paid more than £5,400 to a "Belgian" man while he was fighting in Syria. Anouar Haddouchi moved to Birmingham from Brussels in 2009 along with his wife, Muslim convert , Julie Maes, and their two children. They lived in private rented accommodation and despite being foreign nationals, were legally entitled to child, housing and council tax benefit. Haddouchi even boasted to his friends how he was able to live "very comfortably" on the money he received from the British state. Friend, Azzedine Kaddour, told police that Haddouchi had managed to bank a large amount of cash from his benefit payments and had used the money to fund his journey to Syria where he joined Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil). He said: "Anouar Haddouchi financed his trip with money he had in his bank account. In essence he emptied his account to go to Syria. A good chunk of that came from the benefits he received in the UK." In an extraordinary blunder Birmingham City Council continued to pay his housing benefit directly into his Lloyds TSB Islamic bank account for 11 months after he had left the country, even though his landlord wrote to officials to say that he was no longer living at the address.

Swedish authorities have charged five teenagers from Afghanistan with aggravated rape for dragging another Afghan boy into a forest, threatening him with a knife and raping him

The assault took place in October 2016 in a forested area in the city of Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Prosecutor Johan Stromback said that the five suspects are 16 and 17 years old, while the boy they assaulted is under 15. Stromback said that all arrived in Sweden as unaccompanied minors seeking asylum. The accused were charged with aggravated rape of a minor, a crime in Sweden that is punishable by at least four years in prison for adults and juvenile detention for minors, he said. The indictment calls for all five to be expelled from Sweden and barred from returning after serving any sentences. According to the indictment, the accused punched the victim in the head, raped him and spat on him. It said that the assault "was planned and lasted for at least an hour" and left the boy with bruises, scrapes and bite marks on his back. The accused filmed parts of the assault and threatened to post clips on social media if the victim went to police.

German premier Angela Merkel called for a ban on the Burka for the first time as she launched a bid to remain in power with a dramatic shift

Sparking a standing ovation from her CDU Party, the German Chancellor threw her weight behind calls to outlaw the burqa and niqab wherever “possible”. She said: “With us, the rule is: show your face, that’s why the full veil is not appropriate, it should be banned.” The CDU party wants to ban the full face veil in courts, schools and universities as well as in road traffic and during police checks.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Since 2010, the northeast has comprised 4% of the UK population, contributed just 3% of the country’s gross value added (GVA), and accounted for only 2% of the economy’s new jobs

Those figures are 11%, 9%, and 7%, respectively, in the northwest; and 8%, 6.5%, and 6%, respectively, in Yorkshire and Humberside. By contrast, London and the southeast have accounted for 26.8% of population, 37.7% of GVA, and 39% of new jobs. In fact, since 2010, half of all new jobs were created in London, the southeast, and the east. A 2016 study by University of Groningen economist Philip McCann found that the UK’s regional income gaps rival the worst in Europe. Average disposable household income in the Greater London area is 60% higher than in most other regions of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Moreover, according to the latest Eurostat data, average per capita GDP (in terms of purchasing power parity) in the Welsh and Tees Valleys is, respectively, 69% and 74% lower than the EU average, placing them below Lithuania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Overall, North England, Wales, and Northern Ireland’s per capita GDP levels are lower than Mississippi and West Virginia’s.