Syria jihadist-regime clashes leave 41 fighters dead

first_imgAn Al-Qaeda offshoot led an offensive Monday against regime forces in northwest Syria, sparking clashes that left 19 pro-government fighters and 22 jihadists dead, a war monitor said.”Jihadist factions led by Hurras al-Deen launched an assault on two villages in Sahl al-Ghab,” a region of the central province of Hama, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.They briefly seized the villages of Al-Fatatra and Al-Manara, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said. Topics : The offensive was launched from within the Idlib region, which is controlled by jihadists and rebels and is the last bastion of resistance to Damascus after nine years of devastating civil war.A truce reached on March 6 has largely stemmed fighting in the region, which President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to fully retake.Hurras al-Deen is a relatively small but powerful armed group led by Al-Qaeda loyalists.It is a rival of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of Islamist factions dominated by former members of Al-Qaeda’s ex-Syria affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra — although the two groups cooperate at times.The Idlib truce brokered by regime ally Russia and rebel backer Turkey has largely kept Syrian and Russian warplanes out of the region’s skies.The calm came as the novel coronavirus pandemic spread across the Middle East.Aid groups had warned that an outbreak of the COVID-19 illness in the Idlib region could cause a humanitarian disaster of previously unseen proportions.center_img But regime forces took them back just hours later amid Russian air strikes and intense shelling, the Britain-based monitor said.Abdel Rahman said the clashes left 19 government soldiers and 22 jihadists dead.The country’s official SANA news agency also reported the attack on “two Syrian army positions,” saying it involved “explosive-rigged vehicles and suicide bombers”.Citing a military source, it said the situation was now under control after the jihadists were forced to pull out under regime fire.  last_img read more

BLOG: Failure to Fund Schools Would Result in the Loss of 23,000 Educators

first_imgBLOG: Failure to Fund Schools Would Result in the Loss of 23,000 Educators By: Megan Healey, Deputy Press Secretary SHARE Email Facebook Twitter February 22, 2016center_img Budget News,  Education,  Schools That Teach,  The Blog Pennsylvania is at a crossroads. We can fund our schools and fix our deficit or we will be faced with an additional $1 billion in cuts to education funding. This $1 billion cut will lead to the immediate layoff of 23,000 educators in Pennsylvania.In January of 2011, Gov. Corbett was inaugurated. Around this time, schools began to plan for the coming 2011/2012 school year, not anticipating there would be a budget cut. Governor Corbett’s budget cuts passed in late June of 2011 – after many schools had passed their 2011 budgets. They had prior year appropriations and were budgeting for the next school year. For the 2012 school year, they had to account for the new appropriations and cuts. Between July of 2011 and December of 2012, 23,000 educators were lost in Pennsylvania. For budgeting purposes, this is immediate. They were baked into the next school budget cycle – the cycle when the appropriation cut hit. A 2014 survey by PASA and PASBO says “data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics documents the loss of more than 23,000 education jobs in Pennsylvania through the end of 2012.”Most importantly, while it is very useful to have a historic comparison to make when we estimate the impact of a $1 billion cut to education, that estimation and its impact – whether by size of the layoffs or timing – is much different today than it was in 2011.There are three areas where local school districts can make decisions. They can cut programs. They can raise property taxes. They can reduce personnel. But the environment is significantly different today than 2011/2012.First:There are fewer programs to cut today than there were in 2011 and 2012. Since 2010/11, there have been 783 programs eliminated at schools in addition to 370 academic programs schools slated to eliminate according to a 2014 survey by PASA and PASBO. According to the survey, “the cumulative number of program eliminations and reductions is estimated to be well over 1,100 within the next school year.” Further, schools said 220 sports or extracurricular programs would either be eliminated or face a fee. This survey even adds that they might have underestimated the program cuts in schools, “This analysis may understate the depth of academic program cuts and reductions in two ways. First, substantial impacts were felt in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis and in the first years of the recession, while this report documents program reductions only since 2010. Second, districts were asked to indicate cuts at the ‘program’ or category level—for example, ‘music/theater programs.’ Since a district could have made multiple cuts within a single program—such as marching band AND jazz band AND chorus for this example—the number of eliminations and reductions should be treated as a floor, not a ceiling.”Schools are cut to the bone and there are fewer available options for schools to cut programs in order to make up for an additional $1 billion state education cut.Second:Legislation restricted local school districts’ ability to raise property taxes to make up for cuts. This means that state level cuts are more harmful today than five years ago. There simply is not the ability to compensate. School districts that were able to replace revenue and keep teachers in 2011 and 2012 do not have that option.Act 25 of 2011 made several changes to the Taxpayer Relief Act, including reducing the number of referendum exceptions that could be requested from PDE. Exceptions that were removed were for new construction projects (academic and nonacademic projects), maintenance of local and state tax revenues, school improvement plans and health care-related benefits.In 2011-12, there were seven referendum exception. Now, there are only three – pensions, special ed and school construction. (For this, all the school construction categories are counted as one.)Third:Even before these changes, schools identified staff reductions as a preferred means – of their limited means – of balancing their budgets. According to the 2014 survey, “ninety percent of responding school districts have reduced staff, and more than 40 percent of districts have, or will, furlough classroom teachers. Reductions continue to occur among all categories of school employees.” In 2014, with balanced funding – never mind a $1 billion cut – more than one quarter of districts anticipated furloughs.Fourth:The financial environment for schools is significantly different than 2011-2012. Pennsylvania’s credit has been downgraded many times, and the school district intercept program has faced similar downgrades. This limits a school’s ability to go to the market and issue debt to make up shortfalls.July 17, 2012 – The programmatic rating of the Pennsylvania Act 150 School District Intercept Program was downgraded to A1 with a stable outlook from Aa3 with a negative outlook; the programmatic rating of the Pennsylvania School District Fiscal Agent Agreement Intercept Program was downgraded to Aa3 with a stable outlook from Aa2 with a negative outlook; and the programmatic rating on the Pennsylvania State Public School Building Authority Lease Revenue Intercept Program was downgraded to Aa3 with a stable outlook from Aa2 with a negative outlook.November 4, 2015 – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s (Aa3 negative) pre-default intercept programs for school districts to A3 from A2. This action affects the State Public School Building Authority Lease Revenue Intercept Program (Sec. 785) and the Pennsylvania School District Fiscal Agent Agreement Intercept Program (Sec. 633). For districts enhanced by the commonwealth’s post-default intercept program (Pennsylvania Act 150 Program), Moody’s confirms the cap, or the highest rating districts can receive due to the post-default enhancement, at A3.December 22, 2015 – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the school district enhancement programs of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Aa3 negative) to Baa1, and changed our approach to rating pre-default enhancement programs in the commonwealth. All enhanced ratings in Pennsylvania carry a negative outlook. The negative outlook is based both on the outlook for the commonwealth and the ongoing uncertainty surrounding its ability to fund the intercept programs during budget stalemates.After years of harsh and disproportionate cuts, there are districts that may be forced to close their doors before the end of this school year without the additional funding provided for in the bipartisan budget agreement and the 2016/17 proposed budget.For example, the Erie school district is facing bankruptcy right now.Put simply, 23,000 educators were lost the last time there was a $1 billion cut to education and this time there are far fewer tools in schools’ toolboxes to stave off those cuts for even an additional school year budgeting cycle.Schools – already stretched thin by years of underfunding – are at their limits. You can find updates and behind-the-scenes content on the 2016-2017 budget announcement on our Facebook and Twitter.Read more posts about Governor Wolf’s 2016-17 budget.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolflast_img read more

Indian Premier League IPL 2019: Hardik Pandya says time away from cricket has made his mindset better

first_imghighlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Indian Premier League News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Hardik Pandya is expected to be a key player for India in ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.Mumbai Indians defeated Royal Challengers Bangalore for the 16th time.Royal Challengers Bangalore have lost seven out of eight games in IPL 2019. New Delhi: Hardik Pandya’s career was at the crossroads at the start of 2019. The India cricket team all-rounder made some remarks on the chat show Koffee With Karan hosted by Karan Johar and it was termed ‘racist’, ‘misogynistic’ by plenty of social media users, notably women. Pandya was suspended from the Indian cricket team and he missed the entire ODI series against Australia as well as a couple of ODIs in New Zealand. However, Pandya made a comeback and has been in great form for Mumbai Indians in the IPL, managing 186 runs at a strike-rate of over 190. Following his match-winning knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore in which his 37 off 16 balls gave Mumbai Indians a five-wicket win, Pandya said the time away from cricket has improved his mindset.“It’s okay, everyone has a setback and for me, I got some time for my body (working on fitness routines) as well. The time I was out is helping me right now because I am in a good mindset and everything is coming right,” Pandya said.The matter is still pending with the BCCI Ombudsman but the all-rounder is expected to get a clean chit. However, just before the game between Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, the 15-man Indian cricket team squad for the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England was announced and Pandya’s name was included. The Baroda player is expected to play a huge role with both bat and ball. However, Pandya is relishing the role of a finisher and pointed out that he is just sticking to the basics which have helped him achieve consistency for Mumbai Indians in the last four years. “I have been doing that for the last four years now. That’s my role in any team I play for. I have been practising at the nets the same thing. It is about the situation. You play according to the situation and if you are smart enough, you will more often get the result you desire. Cricket will always be the same. Be it the World Cup or IPL, the pressure will be the same. I will follow my basics. That’s what has got success for me and I will keep backing myself that way,” Pandya said.Mumbai Indians registered a magnificent five-wicket win against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore at the Wankhede stadium on Monday. Royal Challengers Bangalore were boosted by a brilliant 75 from AB de Villiers and an aggressive 50 from Moeen Ali but Lasith Malinga bounced back in the death overs and took 4/31 as Mumbai Indians restricted Royal Challengers Bangalore to 172/7. In response, Moeen and Yuzvendra Chahal restricted Mumbai Indians but Pandya’s blitz towards the end helped Mumbai Indians inflict their 16th loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore, the most by any team against Kohli’s side.The loss for Royal Challengers Bangalore has potentially ended their chances of reaching the playoffs. They will have to win all their games and ensure some results go their way. With this win, Mumbai Indians are in second place and they are level on 10 points with Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders.last_img read more

Johan Königslehner eyes Svenska return with Glitnor Group

first_img JPJ Group terminates InterCasino and Vera&John’s UK presence August 6, 2019 Submit JPJ Group navigates UK headwinds as firm prepares for Gamesys enlargement August 13, 2019 Share Altenar makes Swedish debut through LuckyCasino launch June 17, 2019 Related Articles Former Vera&John Chief Executive Johan Königslehner has stated his intent on joining the upcoming re-regulated Swedish online gambling market, inbound for 1 January 2019.Königslehner is heading up new online gambling outfit Glitnor Group, which this week completed the takeover of LuckyCasino (LuckyCasino.com) from Malta-based operator Viral Interactive for an undisclosed fee.An enterprise founding team member of Vera&John, a European online casino property sold to Intertain Group in 2014 for $130 million, Königslehner seeks to become a lead player in Sweden’s new marketplace.In its market update, the new industry incumbent details that it has drafted a team of experienced industry executives seeking to capitalise on Swedish market developments.“Our team has many years in developing high-growth B2C casino brands such as Vera&John in emerging and mature regulated markets.” Königslehner states on his return to online gambling. “We are tapping into the fast-growing pay and play concept developing in Sweden and Finland with no account creation needed and instant withdrawals. We believe this concept is part of the future and shall be successful in the regulated Swedish market next year.”Taking over Viral Interactive assets, Glitnor Group will maintain the services of CEO Daniel Eriksson as new Head of Business Development.“Being part of building Viral Interactive to where it is and developing the LuckyCasino brand has been a great experience,” Eriksson said. “Joining Glitnor and driving their business development forward in this next period of growth is a challenge that I’m really looking forward to. Share StumbleUponlast_img read more