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Arizona schools closed for the rest of the school year

Tori Holland

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Arizona schools closed for the rest of the school year

Gov. Doug Ducey has extended the closure of all Arizona schools through the end of this school year.

In a joint statement Monday with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, Ducey wrote that the decision was made to align with guidance from the federal government.

“These efforts are crucial, and we recognize that schools are making every effort possible to continue providing instruction during closures,” they wrote in the statement.

On Friday, Ducey signed legislation to allow students to finish the school year from home.

The plan mandates that schools offer classes in an alternative format, presumably online, so students could finish out the school year from home. It also includes provisions to ensure seniors in high school graduate.

Some districts have posted online material, and teachers are reaching out to parents and students with work.

Other measures outlined in the new law:

  • “Provide flexibility” to schools in delivering education to special education students.
  • Allow public schools to continue to pay employees if they agree to work from home or take a reassignment, if necessary.
  • Allow schools to use funding from this school year for summer school.
  • Require the state Board of Education to revise graduation requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.

Will seniors still graduate?

School administrators, including Chad Geston of Phoenix Union High School District, have made statements to reassure high school seniors: Officials will do what they can to make sure those on track to graduate before coronavirus disruptions still graduate.

The legislation state lawmakers passed includes a provision that directs the Arizona State Board of Education to revise graduation requirements. The board is meeting on Tuesday to discuss revised requirements.

What about students who rely on school meals?

Ducey’s order asks schools to keep nutrition programs going, while minimizing contact to help slow the spread of coronavirus.

School districts have responded, feeding thousands of students through drive-thru meal pickups.

Will Arizona still conduct state testing?

No.

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it would drop the federal testing mandate for public schools for this year.

Are teachers and school employees still getting paid?

Yes. The legislation allows school employees to get paid even during school closures. The bill requires educators and school employees to work remotely.

Rep. Michelle Udall, R-Mesa, who proposed the bill, said school staffers might see their jobs change, and they could even be assigned to call students and check in on school work.

After being a professional journalist for 5 years and understanding the ups and downs of health care sector all over the world, Tori shifted her focus to the digital world. Today, she works as a contributor for News Brig with a knack for covering general and health news in the best possible format.

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General News

Queens ‘Wolverine’ man charged with attempted murder

Evan Lewis

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Queens 'Wolverine' man charged with attempted murder

The man caught on camera chasing down Black Lives Matter demonstrators with a Wolverine-type claw in Queens is now charged with attempted murder, authorities announced Thursday.

Frank Cavalluzzi, 54, was filmed chasing protesters in Whitestone on Tuesday while wearing a glove affixed with four long, serrated-edged blades — before getting into his SUV, driving onto the sidewalk and attempting to mow them down, prosecutors said.

“I will kill you,” he allegedly yelled at the protesters, according to prosecutors.

Cavalluzzi, whom police sources called a known troublemaker in the area, was arrested Thursday morning.

He was later arraigned on a laundry list of charges, including attempted murder in the second degree, attempted assault in the first and second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, menacing in the second degree, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.

“In a burst of anger and rage, this defendant allegedly sought to kill protesters who were peacefully assembled and exercising their right to free speech,” Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz said in a statement.

“No one at any time should infringe upon another’s Constitutionally-protected freedoms and doing so with the intent to injure and maim is criminal.”

Katz said it was “amazing” that no one had been injured in the melee.

Queens Criminal Court Judge Mary Berjarano set Cavalluzzi’s bail at $100,000. His next court appearance is set for July 2.

If convicted, he faces up to 25 years in prison.

His attorney didn’t return a call from The Post on Thursday night.

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Burundi court affirms ruling party candidate’s presidential victory

Evan Lewis

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Burundi court affirms ruling party candidate's presidential victory

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Burundi’s constitutional court has said last month’s elections were flawless and upheld the victory of the ruling party’s presidential candidate, dismissing a complaint brought by the vote’s runner-up.

FILE PHOTO: Presidential candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye of the Burundi’s ruling party, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), arrives at a polling centre during the Presidential, Legislative and Communal council elections, under the simmering political violence and the growing threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Gitega, Burundi May 20, 2020. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana/File Photo

The vote was the first competitive presidential election in Burundi since a civil war erupted in 1993. The ruling CNDD-FDD party’s candidate, retired general Evariste Ndayishimiye, was running against opposition leader Agathon Rwasa and five others.

“The constitutional court rules that the presidential election held on May 20 was regular, that Evariste Ndayishimiye is the president-elect,” the court said in a ruling late on Thursday.

Incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza will stay in office until August, when President-elect Ndayishimiye will take over and start a seven-year term.

Burundi’s election commission said Ndayishimiye had won the election with 69% of votes cast.

The commission said Rwasa had garnered 24% of the vote, amid what it said was huge, peaceful turnout.

The vote had been preceded by political violence, including the arrest, torture and murder of opposition activists, according to a local rights group.

Rwasa, the candidate for the CNL party, filed the case in late May challenging the election outcome.

He said he had evidence that people had voted using dead voters’ identities, cited the use of an electoral register that has never been published by the electoral body, and made accusations of ballot box stuffing.

“No irregularities that could call into question the ballot boxes’ results were noted either at the level of the voting, the counting or while establishing the voting results,” the court said.

The court, topmost in Burundi, also ruled in 2015 that Nkurunziza could run for a third term, to which the opposition objected. Nkurunziza won that election, which the opposition boycotted.

That election sparked violent protests, pushing hundreds of thousands of Burundians into exile. The United Nations documented hundreds of killings, and the torture and gang-rape of opposition activists.

The government denies accusations of rights violations.

May’s vote was also held in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ahead of the election, Burundi expelled its head of mission of the World Health Organization, who had criticised all parties for holding rallies despite the pandemic.

Burundi has 63 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with one death and 33 recoveries.

Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Gerry Doyle

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Police try to stop Floyd rally in Sydney due to virus fears

Tori Holland

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South Korean protesters shout slogans during a protest over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25, near the U.S. embassy in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, June 5, 2020. The signs read "The U.S. government should stop oppression and there is no peace without justice." (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SYDNEY (AP) — Police challenged whether a Black Lives Matter protest planned for Saturday in Australia’s largest city is too much of a virus risk, as demonstrators in the capital reminded the country that racial inequality is not a U.S. issue alone.

In Canberra, organizers of a rally Friday that attracted about 2,000 demonstrators handed out masks and hand sanitizer. Most protesters kept a recommended social distance but drew closer to hear speeches. Public gatherings are limited to 20 in Canberra, but police did not intervene.

School teacher Wendy Brookman, a member of the Butchulla indigenous people, said Australia should not accept more than 430 indigenous Australians dying in police custody or prison in the past three decades.

“We’re not here to jump on the bandwagon of what’s happened in the United States,” Brookman said. “We’re here to voice what’s happening to our indigenous people.”

One of the protesters’ signs “I can’t breathe,” drew a parallel between George Floyd’s death in the U.S. on May 25 and the Australian indigenous experience. Those words were among the last spoken by Floyd and an indigenous Australian, David Dungay, who died in a prison hospital in 2015 while being restrained by five guards.

In South Korea, dozens gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy to condemn what they described as police brutality toward protesters in the U.S. They called for South Korea’s government to speak against the “racial discrimination and state violence” of its ally and pushed for an anti-discrimination law to improve the lives of migrant workers, undocumented foreigners and other minorities.

“As the U.S. civil society empowered and stood in solidarity with Korean pro-democracy activists in the past, we will now stand in solidarity with citizens in the United States,” said activist Lee Sang-hyun, referring to South Koreans’ bloody struggles against military dictatorships that ruled the country until the late 1980s.

Holding a banner that read “Justice for Floyd,” most of the protesters wore black and some brought flowers in honor of Floyd, who died last month after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his neck with a knee for several minutes while he pleaded for air.

Larger marches are planned in Seoul on Saturday to protest Floyd’s death.

In Australia, police in New South Wales state asked the Supreme Court to declare the Sydney protest illegal. Prime Minister Scott Morrison is among those who criticized the plans, saying of the protesters: “I say to them, don’t go.”

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian said organizers proposed a protest far smaller than what is likely to now take place Saturday. She said protesters could not guarantee social distancing protocols would be followed.

“All of us have given up so much and worked so hard to make sure we get on top of the virus,” Berejiklian told reporters.

In Sydney, outdoor gatherings are restricted to 10 people, while up to 50 people can go to funerals, places of worship, restaurants, pubs and cafes. New South Wales and Victoria, where another large protest is planned in Melbourne, are Australia’s worst-hit states by the virus.

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