David Cameron makes extension of charter schools programme key to his government

In David Cameron’s speech to the Queen he made a focus of education and the expansion of their charter schools programme.

The second big focus of this Queen’s Speech is championing social justice. That starts with education: a decent schooling for every child, no matter where they’re from. Our school reforms in the last Parliament were bold; one million more children are now learning in good or outstanding schools. In this Parliament they will be bolder still: taking over and turning into Academies not just failing schools but coasting ones too, as part of our new Education and Adoption Bill; opening not just a few more Free Schools, but 500 more.

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Hamas tortured their own citizens

Amnesty International, normally attacking Israel, has instead released a report on human rights violations in Gaza by Hamas, against their own citizens.

Amnesty International said in a report on Wednesday that Islamist Hamas committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during last year’s war with Israel.

A ceasefire last August ended 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel in which health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

“Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of ‘collaborating’ with Israel and others during Israel’s military offensive against Gaza,” the human rights group’s report said.

A Hamas spokesman criticised the report as being unfair, unprofessional and not credible.

“The report is dedicated against Palestinian resistance and the Hamas movement … it deliberately exaggerated its descriptions without listening to all sides and without making an effort to check the truthfulness of details and information,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman.

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Auckland Council trying it on

Transparency should be a matter of course for Local Government.

Every cent of expenditure should be published and the way the accounts are prepared should be clear. Right down to the amount of depreciation and asset values (which should be provided in list with identifying references).

The Council should show all debts including the little short-term loans that the Council provides itself interest free from different parts of the ledger. We want to know just how rotten the state of affairs are.

Auckland Council has always preferred to keep its accounts private. Mostly because they know their excessive expenditure and huge debts will raise hackles.

So what do they offer up? A chump’s two-bit parlour trick.

Auckland Council is entering a new era of openness by publishing details about the spending of ratepayer money, says chief executive Stephen Town.

He says the first publication of details of contractors and suppliers last month was part of a bid to give ratepayers better information about how the city is run.   Read more »

Sign of the Day

Sponsored by Web2PrintDownUnder – Private sale signs, from $55

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Photo Of The Day

BFF's

“I Am His Hands. He Is My Eyes.”

Blind Mr Haixa scales a tree with the help of Mr Wenqi, so that he can find fresh cuttings to plant in the ground.

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The NRA should just give Obama a life membership

Barack Obama is the world’s greatest gun salesman, it is getting beyond a joke now.

Breitbart reports on the surge of concealed carry permits:

Concealed carry permit applications are surging in states like North Carolina, as they have been surging nationally under Obama, “amid safety fears.”

For example, in North Carolina’s Buncombe County, the number of permits issued in 2014 were up “101 percent” from 2010.  And this county-level jump is in line with a national jump under Obama, whereby the number of concealed carry permit holders rose “136 percent” across the United States between 1999 and 2014.

According to the Citizen-Times, the reasons behind the surge in NC are based on both politics and safety. While Republicans like state Representative Jacqueline Schaffer (Dist. 105) are pushing to lessen the restrictions on law-abiding gun owners in NC, Democrats keep fighting back, pressing to keep as much gun control in place as possible.   Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price

Fairfax announces it’s own restructuring. I’m offering a translation

Fairfax (the Stuff people) made an announcement yesterday.

Further changes for Fairfax newsrooms are likely, with management unveiling plans on Thursday to restructure editorial staff into local teams and specialist areas – and away from being clustered around the company’s newspapers.

Staff were told of the proposal – which is another step in the media company’s refocus to digital news – in a series of meetings across the country. There will be a period of consultation with final decisions expected in mid June.

Many jobs have been earmarked for disestablishment, others will be rescoped, and new roles will be created. Fairfax declined to provide numbers of how many roles were affected but executive editor Sinead Boucher said the proposal was not about reducing headcount.

“We are boosting our reporting capability in small and large communities, and by streamlining our print-focused production processes, increasing the ratio of content creators from just over half to almost two thirds.”

“We need digital-first, socially driven newsrooms that are structured to produce quality journalism for different audiences and across platforms – and this is an exciting structure geared towards building a dynamic, responsive newsroom.

“It’s an entirely different way of operating that puts our journalists even closer to the communities they cover,” Boucher said.

Let’s go over that again.   Read more »

My good friend John Key is trying to polish a turd

john-key

Bless.

My good friend John Key is trying desperately to polish a turd.

Only a few people are turning up public meetings to discuss the flag, but Prime Minister John Key insists the gatherings are still “part of the democratic process”.

Fourteen attended in Christchurch last night, continuing a trend of low numbers at meetings around the country, Fairfax NZ reported.

But today, Mr Key said the low turnout wasn’t relevant because he bet his “bottom dollar” there’d be plenty of debate once the top four designs were put to a referendum.

“I don’t think whether people turn up to the meetings is really that relevant or not,” he told reporters.

“I don’t think there’ll be any lack of engagement from New Zealanders but it’ll happen probably in the comfort of their own home in discussion with their family and workmates rather than in some sort of public meeting.”

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Pimping the Poor, World Champion Contender

Darryl Evans via TVNZ

Darryl Evans, via TVNZ

This is a reader-contributed article

A few days ago, WO posted a grizzle from trougher Darryl Evans of the taxpayer funded Mangere Budgeting Service, whining about a new Government initiative to protect the hard-done-by.. To illustrate his case, Darryl trotted out one Margaret Perry, a “randomly selected” victim.

Well guess what, and it isn’t surprising – Margaret the hapless victim seems to be the go-to example for moaning Darryl.

Let’s look at a few years – yes years – of history:

So back in 2011, our Margaret was Darryl’s hard-done by victim of Chrisco.

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