Immigrants Reach Out After Attack in Manchester

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WASHINGTON � Monday night’s suicide bombing in Manchester has heightened fears of terrorism in Britain, but some immigrants and religious minorities are being lauded for their actions after the attack, which killed 22 people and injured 59 others.

Throughout the city, Sikh temples have kept their doors open, offering food and shelter to anyone in need.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association encouraged its members to donate blood.

And taxi drivers, many of whom immigrated from the Middle East and Africa, took passengers to hospitals, hotels and other locations without collecting fares.

VOA’s Somali service spoke to Abdurahman Isak Mohamed, a 46-year-old Uber driver who was two miles from the arena when he heard the bomb blast.

After hearing the sound, Mohamed knew something was wrong and drove toward the area to see if he could help. Upon seeing the frightened, fleeing concertgoers, he offered free rides and transported eight people to local hotels.

It’s like our country here, he said.

Mohamed said he acted without hesitation. We live together, we work together, we stay together. That’s why we do [this]. When something bad happens, we can help each other, he said.

Mohamed also said he wanted to return the favor of hospitality to the people of his adopted home country. I am ready to work [voluntarily] because we live here. We stay here. That’s why we’re doing that � because it’s like our country here, he said. We live, we stay. The British people, they give us a good reception. They look after us.

Like many Muslims in Britain, Mohamed was searching for answers after the attack. He emphasized the bombing does not represent his religion. It’s disgusting. We are not happy about the situation, he said.

That sentiment was echoed by the Muslim Council of Great Britain, which said the perpetrator would face the full weight of justice, both in this life and the next, according to The Telegraph newspaper.

The paper noted that flowers were laid near the site of the blast, along with a message that read, It was a monster not a Muslim.

Heightened alert level

On Tuesday, the British government raised the country’s terror alert level to critical while the investigation into the attack continued.

Prime Minister Theresa May said that the suspected attacker, 22-year-old Salman Abedi, was born and raised in Britain, but his parents are from Libya. Abedi died in the blast.

There are about 13,000 Africans living in Manchester, according to 2011 census data. Nigerians make up most of Manchester’s African immigrants. There are also several thousand Somalis, Zimbabweans, Ghanaians, Kenyans and South Africans in the city.

Manchester’s overall immigrant population stands at 19 percent of its half million residents, twice the national average.

Embassies have warned young Africans to be vigilant. Raymond Maro, a Tanzanian student at the University of Bradford, about 60 kilometers from Manchester, said, African embassies have cautioned students to be aware about security around them and report to local authorities any inconsistencies.

Source: Voice of America

National Youth Development Agency briefs media on strategic direction by appointed board, 25 May

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NYDA to brief media on the strategic direction to be taken by the newly appointed boardFollowing an intensive governance training and induction workshop as well as the first sitting of the first Board Meeting, the Board of the National Youth Developmen…

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries on hosting international training course to improve expertise of analytical laboratory scientists

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DAFF hosts international training course in basic analytical instrument maintenance and troubleshooting for analytical laboratory staff from developing countries

The Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF)’s Directorate: Food Safety & Quality Assurance, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the National Metrology Institute of South Africa (NMISA) will be hosting an international train-the-trainer course in basic maintenance and troubleshooting of analytical instruments used in food and environmental safety monitoring and control programmes.

This event is an activity of the IAEA’s Interregional Technical Cooperation Project known as INT/5/154, where South Africa is among 32 developing countries from the continents of Africa, Asia and South America who will also be participating and are beneficiaries of the project.

The training is aimed at improving the expertise of analytical laboratory scientists towards the maintenance and troubleshooting of analytical instruments, which subsequently will improve accuracy of analytical results produced. The activity supports the broader goal of the INT5154 project which is building capacity in developing countries to enable them to generate and collect credible scientific data which can be used for influencing international standard setting bodies. Currently, developing countries face challenges of not having credible scientific data or no data at all to support some of their positions relating to setting limits in various food safety issues.

Sixteen scientists representing Angola, Botswana, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba, Bolivia, Honduras, Indonesia, Sri-Lanka, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Uganda and Venezuela are expected to attend the event. Locally, there will be scientists participating from NMISA, DAFF and PPECB (Perishable Products Export Control Board).

It is envisaged that the platform afforded by the IAEA INT5154 project will be utilised to strengthen collaborations between local laboratories involved in food testing for monitoring controls, while also extending such collaborations with laboratories in neighbouring countries, Africa, Asia and South America.

Source: Government of South Africa

Experts to look at viability of independent exam council

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Cape Town � Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga says the Council of Education Ministers will appoint a panel of experts to look at the viability of introducing an independent National Examinations Council.

The Minister said this when briefing journalists ahead of the department’s Budget Vote debate in the Old Assembly Chamber on Wednesday afternoon.

The establishment of the independent body, which is aimed at improving the regulation of examinations, was given the thumbs-up at last year’s meeting of the Council of Education Ministers (CEM).

Last year, the CEM approved a proposal to conduct an exploratory study on the establishment of a National Examinations Council that is independent of the national and provincial governments.

At the last CEM, the proposal was taken a step further with the approval to appoint consultants, who are experts in the fields related to this study.

These experts will be appointed on a short�term contract to conduct this investigation and formulate a concept document on the mechanics of setting up and implementing a National Examinations Council, she said.

The Minister said the panel of experts would focus on:

The international research and best practice models in countries that have set up similar councils relating to public examinations;

The policy implications of setting up and implementing a National Executive Council (NEC) structure and what would be the roles of the Department of Education and provincial Education Departments;

The design of the most appropriate model of an examination board, for the South African context, in terms of organisational structure, administration and quality assurance; and

The costing of the current examination arrangement across the department and the nine provincial departments, inclusive of Umalusi and the costing of the new arrangement for each of the parties concerned.

We are looking forward to reporting back to you when a final decision has been made regarding the establishment of a National Examinations Council and if this would be a viable option for us here in South Africa, she said.

Public exams to be strengthened

Minister Motshekga said, meanwhile, that the council has also discussed strengthening the marking of the National Senior Certificate exams to ensure that they are reliable and valid.

Umalusi noted improvements in the marking for the 2016 National Senior Certificate exams and we have seen improved accuracy and consistency in marking since 2014. However, despite this, we acknowledge that there are still challenges associated with the process of marker appointment in the various provinces, as it relates to the calibre and competency of markers.

CEM approved a proposal to phase in a new model of training and registration of markers that will lead to a revamp of the marker recruitment process in all provinces and improved competency of markers, Minister Motshekga said.

Minister Motshekga said the model, which is aimed at improving the quality of markers, would incorporate a number of aspects. This will include the preliminary selection of eligible markers, intensive training programme for eligible markers; the evaluation of the competency of eligible markers; the registration of approved markers and the appointment of markers for a specific marking session.

Source: South African Government News Agency