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Canada Goose jackets banned by U.K. school for being too expensive




Students at one United Kingdom school can no longer wear Canada Goose, Pyrenex and Moncler jackets over fears the apparel may perpetuate inequality among students.

Woodchurch High School in Birkenhead, a town in northern England, sent a letter home with students recently telling parents about the ban.

READ MORE: 1.2 million Canadian children living in poverty

The letter urged mindfulness that “some young people put pressure on their parents to purchase expensive items of clothing” — even if parents can’t afford it.

Toronto-based company Canada Goose sells jackets at several price points, but their products cost at least several hundred dollars. Some of the pricier jackets are well above $1,000.

In an interview with BBC News, the school’s headteacher Rebekah Phillips explained the school’s reasoning.

“We are very concerned as a school about poverty-proofing our school environment and, as such, we met with groups of pupils and made the decision in consultation with them,” Phillips said.

WATCH: Saskatchewan home to some of Canada’s highest child poverty rates

Phillips noted that some parents asked for the school to ban the jackets.

The school, which has children aged 11 to 16, said the response to its move has also been largely positive.

Phillips told CNN that a former student wrote to her, saying students’ “economic backgrounds” should not be “rubbed in their faces.”

The plan to minimize the differences among children is particularly important for this school, where about 46 per cent of students come from low-income households.

This also isn’t the first step Woodchurch has taken in this direction. About two years ago, the school created a rule that children must carry the same backpack. It also cut down on uniform-free days, because Phillips said some students were being picked on for their clothing.

WATCH: 7 tips on what to do if a child is being bullied

Woodchurch also isn’t the first school to take such steps. Several schools and school boards in the U.K. have guidelines on “poverty-proofing” classrooms.

In May, another U.K. school banned expensive pencil cases.

A charity called Children North East is behind the U.K. initiative. It’s CEO, Jeremy Cripps, told BBC News in May that the small changes have led low-income students to be more engaged in school.

“The government is constantly saying that the way out of poverty is educational achievement, and by that they mean doing well in school exams and, ideally, going on to further education,” Cripps said.

He added: “But if you’re not engaging with it to start with, you really haven’t got a chance to take advantage of all that education.”

While the school may have the right intention with these fixes, University of Victoria professor and child psychologist Dr. Jillian Roberts says she doesn’t agree with the approach.

READ MORE: Canada ranks poorly among wealthy nations for children’s well-being, UNICEF says

Roberts told Global News she doesn’t believe in banning certain clothing.

“Each child should have the freedom to choose what they want to wear,” she said, noting there are obvious exceptions, such as clothing with racist or inappropriate slogans.

WATCH: A simple shoebox can make all the difference to a child in need

Rather than banning products, Roberts said there are more meaningful ways to deal with inequality.

“I think it would be a good idea for the school to talk about ways of helping their communities,” she said.

Roberts said one way schools can do that is by organizing a coat drive for the homeless or a holiday toy drive for children of low-income families.

The child psychologist noted that inequality can be a tough situation, but it can also be a learning opportunity for students.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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