Berlin court: neutrality law above German religious freedom, bans teacher headscarves in primary school

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Berlin court: neutrality law above German religious freedom, bans teacher headscarves in primary school

Saturday, May 12, 2018

On Wednesday, a state labour court in the German capital Berlin pronounced the neutrality law of the city-state, which disallows public employees from wearing religious clothing and symbols, was in accordance with the German constitution. Justice Arne Boyer, said the neutrality law was above the freedom of religion. The ruling comes after a female Muslim teacher, who taught in a primary school for a day, complained the neutrality laws prohibited her from wearing a headscarf and violated her freedom to practice any religion.

Public servants across the country are barred from covering their face at work, with some exceptions such as firefighters for whom it is a question of safety. However, the ban does not include the hijab, a headscarf mostly worn by Muslim women. Court spokesperson Martin Dressler said, “Primary school children should be free of the influence that can be exerted by religious symbols”.

This ruling came just two weeks after the recently-elected Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder of the Christian Social Union gave orders to hang the Christian cross on every state building, in school classrooms, and the courts, saying it was a “clear avowal of our Bavarian identity and Christian values”.

Last year, the Berlin labour court decided that a school discriminated on the basis of religion when it denied a job to another Muslim teacher. The school failed to show how the teacher’s headscarf was “a threat to peace at school”. The teacher received EUR 8680 (about USD 10,300) as compensation.

Regulations on headscarves are varied amongst the different states of Germany. Teachers in Bremen are not prohibited from wearing a face scarf. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the allowance is on a case-by-case basis. One primary school headteacher in Hesse wrote to parents stating headwear was not allowed in the classroom.

Per the ruling of this case, the teacher can wear a headscarf while teaching secondary school students. She can still appeal against the court’s decision.

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Transport for London wins first Anti-Social Behaviour Order against graffiti vandal

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Transport for London wins first Anti-Social Behaviour Order against graffiti vandal

May 22, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Billy Murrell, a persistent graffiti vandal from South East London, has become the first recipient of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (Asbo) granted to Transport for London (TfL) by Greenwich Magistrates. The civil order also bans him from the top deck of buses throughout England and Wales for three years.

Murrell, a 17-year-old from Plumstead, has a history of convictions for criminal damage on public transport, including vandalising a Tube carriage in Brixton station and for damaging buses and other public property using marker pens.

This is Transport for London’s first Anti-Social Behaviour Order against a graffiti vandal — TfL was granted the power to apply for Asbos by the Home Secretary in September 2006.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Order was issued at Greenwich Magistrates Court on 12 September and also bans him from carrying any permanent marker pens or any glass cutting equipment on London Underground, railway property or any other transport provider’s property.

Metropolitan and Transport police have been made aware of Murrell’s Asbo, and have distributed his photo.

In detail, Murrell is prohibited from:

  • Entering any depot, siding or other part of London Underground property or railway property or any transport providers property which is not expressly open to the public whether on payment or otherwise throughout England and Wales
  • Carrying the following articles, in any area specified (above) or in any public place, namely any form of unset paint in any form of container, any form of permanent marker pen, any form of shoe dye or permanent ink in any form of container, any form of paint stripper in any form of container, any form of grinding stone, glass cutting equipment, glass etching solution or paste, throughout England and Wales
  • Aiding, abetting, counselling or encourage any person who was attempting or committing any form of unlawful damage towards any property not belonging to or under the direct authorised control of the defendant throughout England and Wales
  • Travelling on the top deck of the any public transport bus within England and Wales

If without reasonable excuse the defendant does anything which he is prohibited from doing by this order, he shall be liable to a detention and training order, which has a maximum term of 24 months – 12 months of which is custodial and 12 months in the community

Upon turning 18 he will be liable to imprisonment up to five years.

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Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls

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Toyota accused of misleading public over recalls

May 21, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Toyota has been accused by a U.S. House of Representatives committee with misleading the public and investigators over its recent recalls.

The accusations, in a statement from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, claim that Toyota both relied on a flawed study in its assessment of the issue of sticking accelerator pedals at the heart of the recalls, and then made misleading statements about its response. According to the authors of the letter, Henry Waxman and Bart Stupak, Toyota dismissed, rather than investigated, the idea that the cars’ computers were at fault. In a statement, James Lentz, the president of Toyota’s American division, claimed that hardware issues were to blame, and that dealers were repairing the faulty part. Toyota also released a study commissioned from the research firm Exponent that said electronic systems were not to blame.

According to the House committee, however, the study involved only six vehicles, none of which had problems with their electrical systems, and was insufficient to produce an accurate result. “Our preliminary assessment is that Toyota resisted the possibility that electronic defects could cause safety concerns, relied on a flawed engineering report and made misleading public statements concerning the adequacy of recent recalls to address the risk of sudden unintended acceleration.”

The company is under a criminal investigation, and has received two subpoenas for documents from two House committees relating to the recalls, although whether they are directly related to the letter is unclear. The documents are related to accelerator issues in several models, as well as brake problems with the Prius hybrid car, and were served earlier in in February by a federal grand jury and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Toyota has released upwards of 75,000 pages of documents under the requests.

In a separate, though related, development, it has emerged that Toyota last year negotiated a limited recall for two models, the Toyota Camry and Lexus ES, that were affected by the accelerator recalls, saving the company an estimated $100 million. A confidential internal presentation in July 2009 made the claim, and a month later, a Lexus ES, one of the models under the limited recall crashed in California, killing four people. The claims apparently referenced a September, 2007 recall of floor mats that could trap gas pedals, the same problem that triggered a full recall of numerous Toyota cars to fix the same problem. In the same presentation, the company claimed to have avoided recalls of another model related to rust, as well as delaying new federal safety regulations.

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Category:Education

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Category:Education

May 21, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

This is the category for Education. See also the Education Portal.

Refresh this list to see the latest articles.

  • 25 April 2018: India: Jammu and Kashmir government orders private tuitions to shut down for 90 days
  • 26 January 2018: United States: Two dead in Kentucky high school shooting
  • 20 October 2017: Arrangement of light receptors in the eye may cause dyslexia, scientists say
  • 21 January 2016: Detroit teachers stage sickout to protest working conditions as Obama visits
  • 28 October 2015: Time magazine names Ahmed Mohamed to ‘Most Influential Teens of 2015’
  • 23 October 2015: Masked man kills two in sword attack at Swedish school
  • 4 October 2015: Several dead in Oregon college shootings
  • 22 September 2015: Texas student Ahmed Mohamed inspires social movement
  • 2 August 2015: Local municipalities in Italy ask taxes from religious schools
  • 22 April 2015: Student kills teacher in Barcelona
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Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter dies in car crash

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Nelson Mandela’s great-granddaughter dies in car crash

May 21, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Friday, June 11, 2010

The great-granddaughter of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela has died in a car crash following a concert to open the World Cup.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation released a statement which said that thirteen-year-old Zenani Mandela, who celebrated her birthday on June 9, died in a single vehicle accident and that no one else was injured. The statement continued: “The family has asked for privacy as they mourn this tragedy.”

The driver of the vehicle of which Zenani Mandela was a passenger has been arrested and charged with drunk driving. He may also face culpable homicide charges, according to police.

South Africa has a poor road safety record and ranks ninth in the world for traffic fatalities. Traffic safety is feared to be a threat of injury to supporters to the World Cup.

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Transit strike affects 100,000 in Helsinki

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Transit strike affects 100,000 in Helsinki

May 20, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Monday, March 6, 2006

In Helsinki, the Finnish trade union for bus and truck drivers has gone on strike on Sunday evening, mainly over the use of part-time labor. The strike is estimated to affect 100,000 people in the capital area, crowding the remaining transit system on Monday morning. The strike is halting almost half of all bus traffic in and around Helsinki, especially hurting travellers commuting from outlying cities Espoo and Vantaa, where over 60% of bus traffic will be stopped.

The strike also affects 4,000 of Finland’s 55,000 delivery trucks, as well as waste management in many areas. The strike is not affecting trains, trams or the underground, but heavy crowding is to be expected. Authorities are also warning of traffic jams during rush-hours as people use personal cars instead of public transportation.

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Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall

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Stanford physicists print smallest-ever letters ‘SU’ at subatomic level of 1.5 nanometres tall

May 20, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A new historic physics record has been set by scientists for exceedingly small writing, opening a new door to computing‘s future. Stanford University physicists have claimed to have written the letters “SU” at sub-atomic size.

Graduate students Christopher Moon, Laila Mattos, Brian Foster and Gabriel Zeltzer, under the direction of assistant professor of physics Hari Manoharan, have produced the world’s smallest lettering, which is approximately 1.5 nanometres tall, using a molecular projector, called Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM) to push individual carbon monoxide molecules on a copper or silver sheet surface, based on interference of electron energy states.

A nanometre (Greek: ?????, nanos, dwarf; ?????, metr?, count) is a unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a metre (i.e., 10-9 m or one millionth of a millimetre), and also equals ten Ångström, an internationally recognized non-SI unit of length. It is often associated with the field of nanotechnology.

“We miniaturised their size so drastically that we ended up with the smallest writing in history,” said Manoharan. “S” and “U,” the two letters in honor of their employer have been reduced so tiny in nanoimprint that if used to print out 32 volumes of an Encyclopedia, 2,000 times, the contents would easily fit on a pinhead.

In the world of downsizing, nanoscribes Manoharan and Moon have proven that information, if reduced in size smaller than an atom, can be stored in more compact form than previously thought. In computing jargon, small sizing results to greater speed and better computer data storage.

“Writing really small has a long history. We wondered: What are the limits? How far can you go? Because materials are made of atoms, it was always believed that if you continue scaling down, you’d end up at that fundamental limit. You’d hit a wall,” said Manoharan.

In writing the letters, the Stanford team utilized an electron‘s unique feature of “pinball table for electrons” — its ability to bounce between different quantum states. In the vibration-proof basement lab of Stanford’s Varian Physics Building, the physicists used a Scanning tunneling microscope in encoding the “S” and “U” within the patterns formed by the electron’s activity, called wave function, arranging carbon monoxide molecules in a very specific pattern on a copper or silver sheet surface.

“Imagine [the copper as] a very shallow pool of water into which we put some rocks [the carbon monoxide molecules]. The water waves scatter and interfere off the rocks, making well defined standing wave patterns,” Manoharan noted. If the “rocks” are placed just right, then the shapes of the waves will form any letters in the alphabet, the researchers said. They used the quantum properties of electrons, rather than photons, as their source of illumination.

According to the study, the atoms were ordered in a circular fashion, with a hole in the middle. A flow of electrons was thereafter fired at the copper support, which resulted into a ripple effect in between the existing atoms. These were pushed aside, and a holographic projection of the letters “SU” became visible in the space between them. “What we did is show that the atom is not the limit — that you can go below that,” Manoharan said.

“It’s difficult to properly express the size of their stacked S and U, but the equivalent would be 0.3 nanometres. This is sufficiently small that you could copy out the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the head of a pin not just once, but thousands of times over,” Manoharan and his nanohologram collaborator Christopher Moon explained.

The team has also shown the salient features of the holographic principle, a property of quantum gravity theories which resolves the black hole information paradox within string theory. They stacked “S” and the “U” – two layers, or pages, of information — within the hologram.

The team stressed their discovery was concentrating electrons in space, in essence, a wire, hoping such a structure could be used to wire together a super-fast quantum computer in the future. In essence, “these electron patterns can act as holograms, that pack information into subatomic spaces, which could one day lead to unlimited information storage,” the study states.

The “Conclusion” of the Stanford article goes as follows:

According to theory, a quantum state can encode any amount of information (at zero temperature), requiring only sufficiently high bandwidth and time in which to read it out. In practice, only recently has progress been made towards encoding several bits into the shapes of bosonic single-photon wave functions, which has applications in quantum key distribution. We have experimentally demonstrated that 35 bits can be permanently encoded into a time-independent fermionic state, and that two such states can be simultaneously prepared in the same area of space. We have simulated hundreds of stacked pairs of random 7 times 5-pixel arrays as well as various ideas for pathological bit patterns, and in every case the information was theoretically encodable. In all experimental attempts, extending down to the subatomic regime, the encoding was successful and the data were retrieved at 100% fidelity. We believe the limitations on bit size are approxlambda/4, but surprisingly the information density can be significantly boosted by using higher-energy electrons and stacking multiple pages holographically. Determining the full theoretical and practical limits of this technique—the trade-offs between information content (the number of pages and bits per page), contrast (the number of measurements required per bit to overcome noise), and the number of atoms in the hologram—will involve further work.Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, Christopher R. Moon, Laila S. Mattos, Brian K. Foster, Gabriel Zeltzer & Hari C. Manoharan

The team is not the first to design or print small letters, as attempts have been made since as early as 1960. In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman, who delivered his now-legendary lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom,” promised new opportunities for those who “thought small.”

Feynman was an American physicist known for the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as work in particle physics (he proposed the parton model).

Feynman offered two challenges at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, held that year in Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first person to solve each of them. Both challenges involved nanotechnology, and the first prize was won by William McLellan, who solved the first. The first problem required someone to build a working electric motor that would fit inside a cube 1/64 inches on each side. McLellan achieved this feat by November 1960 with his 250-microgram 2000-rpm motor consisting of 13 separate parts.

In 1985, the prize for the second challenge was claimed by Stanford Tom Newman, who, working with electrical engineering professor Fabian Pease, used electron lithography. He wrote or engraved the first page of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, at the required scale, on the head of a pin, with a beam of electrons. The main problem he had before he could claim the prize was finding the text after he had written it; the head of the pin was a huge empty space compared with the text inscribed on it. Such small print could only be read with an electron microscope.

In 1989, however, Stanford lost its record, when Donald Eigler and Erhard Schweizer, scientists at IBM’s Almaden Research Center in San Jose were the first to position or manipulate 35 individual atoms of xenon one at a time to form the letters I, B and M using a STM. The atoms were pushed on the surface of the nickel to create letters 5nm tall.

In 1991, Japanese researchers managed to chisel 1.5 nm-tall characters onto a molybdenum disulphide crystal, using the same STM method. Hitachi, at that time, set the record for the smallest microscopic calligraphy ever designed. The Stanford effort failed to surpass the feat, but it, however, introduced a novel technique. Having equaled Hitachi’s record, the Stanford team went a step further. They used a holographic variation on the IBM technique, for instead of fixing the letters onto a support, the new method created them holographically.

In the scientific breakthrough, the Stanford team has now claimed they have written the smallest letters ever – assembled from subatomic-sized bits as small as 0.3 nanometers, or roughly one third of a billionth of a meter. The new super-mini letters created are 40 times smaller than the original effort and more than four times smaller than the IBM initials, states the paper Quantum holographic encoding in a two-dimensional electron gas, published online in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The new sub-atomic size letters are around a third of the size of the atomic ones created by Eigler and Schweizer at IBM.

A subatomic particle is an elementary or composite particle smaller than an atom. Particle physics and nuclear physics are concerned with the study of these particles, their interactions, and non-atomic matter. Subatomic particles include the atomic constituents electrons, protons, and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are composite particles, consisting of quarks.

“Everyone can look around and see the growing amount of information we deal with on a daily basis. All that knowledge is out there. For society to move forward, we need a better way to process it, and store it more densely,” Manoharan said. “Although these projections are stable — they’ll last as long as none of the carbon dioxide molecules move — this technique is unlikely to revolutionize storage, as it’s currently a bit too challenging to determine and create the appropriate pattern of molecules to create a desired hologram,” the authors cautioned. Nevertheless, they suggest that “the practical limits of both the technique and the data density it enables merit further research.”

In 2000, it was Hari Manoharan, Christopher Lutz and Donald Eigler who first experimentally observed quantum mirage at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. In physics, a quantum mirage is a peculiar result in quantum chaos. Their study in a paper published in Nature, states they demonstrated that the Kondo resonance signature of a magnetic adatom located at one focus of an elliptically shaped quantum corral could be projected to, and made large at the other focus of the corral.

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

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GM and Chrysler receive Canadian loans amid US restructuring ultimata

May 20, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Friday, April 3, 2009

General Motors (GM) and Chrysler will receive bridge loans from the government of Canada and the provincial government of Ontario, however no more will be forthcoming from either Canadian or US governments unless the companies can reinvent themselves.

“This is a regrettable but necessary step to protect the Canadian economy. We are doing this on the assumption that we obviously cannot afford either in the United States or Canada a catastrophic short-term collapse.” said Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

“We cannot, we must not, and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish. This industry is, like no other, an emblem of the American spirit; a once and future symbol of America’s success,” said Barack Obama, President of the United States. “These companies – and this industry – must ultimately stand on their own, not as wards of the state.”

Chrysler will receive CA$1 billion and may in fact be eligible for as much as CA$4 billion. If Chrysler succeeds in the next 30 days with a restructuring plan it would be eligible for a US$6 billion loan. A part of Chrysler’s restructuring plan must include a partnership with Fiat within 30 days to appease the US administration. Fiat is a supplier of smaller fuel-efficient vehicles, and the merger will help Chrysler to be viable in the North American market. A Chrysler court bankruptcy would inevitably lead to it being sold off.

As a part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, Tom LaSorda, the president of Chrysler announced that Canadian operations would fold if it does not receive both the US commitment of $2.3 billion of aid and a new Canadian Auto Workers CAW contract to reduce all-in costs by CA$19 per hour. As a result of this announcement Chrysler’s auto sales volume in Canada dropped 23% compared to March of 2008.

GM has until the end of May to restructure its company to receive up to CA$7.5 billion. As part of the companies restructuring, General Motor’s chief executive Rick Wagoner was replaced Sunday with Fritz Henderson, the current chief operating officer. Henderson spoke out on Tuesday that GM has submitted a restructuring plan which would close five plants, and this may be increased to meet the requirements for financial aid. He is in full compliance with Obama’s auto task force to seek bankruptcy if GM cannot negotiate with their unions, bondholders and others.

GM recently brought forward the “GM Total Confidence” program providing consumer purchase protection for customers who lose their job for economic reasons within the first two years from purchase. As a result of Chrysler’s restructuring announcement in Canada, GM’s Canadian vehicle sales volume fell only 17.3% compared to 2008, an increase from the previous month.

GM must reduce some of its legacy costs which include its pensions and union health care costs. A part of GM’s ailments arose from investing in supplying truck and SUVs during an economy of high gas prices when consumers were demanding fuel efficient vehicles.

Tony Clement, Canada’s Minister of Industry, is hoping that the CAW will support the restructuring process and re-negotiate their agreement. Whereas a United Auto Workers negotiator has said, “I don’t see how the UAW will do anything until they see what the bondholders will give up.”

The Obama administration is looking toward bankruptcy proceedings for the automakers, “as a mechanism to help them restructure quickly and emerge stronger. [It will] quickly clear away old debts that are weighing them down. What we are asking is difficult. It will require hard choices by companies. It will require unions and workers who have already made painful concessions to make even more. It will require creditors to recognise that they cannot hold out for the prospect of endless government bailouts.” said Obama.

The auto parts suppliers and IT software exporters in India have already been affected by the declining auto sales. GM and Chrysler software contracts provide US$300 to 350 million a year to vendors in India. As well these two major automakers usually award US$1 billion contracts to auto parts suppliers. “We are worried and closely watching the developments in the US to gauge the impact. The decline in auto sales in the US has already hit the order books of Indian suppliers,” said a Delhi auto parts supplier.

“Going forward, the industry will undoubtedly be smaller, but if our efforts are successful it will be viable and it will support good jobs for Canadians,” said Clements.

Betty Sutton, Ohio’s Congresswoman put forward the CARS act which provides a US$3,000 to 5,000 incentive for those who trade in their vehicle for a fuel-efficient car. “It clearly stimulates the economy, and it gets the consumer into the showroom and gets them buying again. But importantly — and this is what I particularly like about it — it really helps the environment quite a bit in two respects.” said William Clay Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Company has not come forward with requests for assistance.

Since December GM and Chrysler have received US$17.4 billion government loans.

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Australian swim team pulled from Rio training pool when water turns ‘soupy’

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Australian swim team pulled from Rio training pool when water turns ‘soupy’

May 19, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Concerns about water quality at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games have expanded to include the inside training pool: top Australian swimming coach Michael Bohl moved his Olympic athletes from the main training pool on Thursday citing fear of infection.

The team had a pre-booked session in the training pool where they would have practiced uninterrupted. However, during the session the water in the pool turned, as Bohl described, “cloudy” and “soupy looking”. Concerned about his athletes’ health, he moved them from the training pool to the busier, but cleaner, main competition pool.

Bohl took his concerns to officials and was told the matter would be looked into.

This comes off the back of other water concerns in Rio, particularly in the Guanabara Bay venue for outdoor water events. An Associated Press-commissioned study found Rio’s Olympic waterways contained as much as 1.7 million times worse viral levels than the emergency threshold in Europe or the US. As a result, athletes were advised to keep their mouths closed and avoid putting their heads underwater or risk falling ill.

Swimming events at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games are to begin today.

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At least 22 killed in blast in central Pakistan

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At least 22 killed in blast in central Pakistan

May 18, 2018 · Filed under Uncategorized

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A car bomb has killed at least 22 people and injured 70 injured in Dera Ghazi Khan, Pakistan according to local officials. The bomb exploded in a market in the town in the central Punjab province.

“The whole market has collapsed,” said local resident Raza Khan to the Associated Press news agency. “There is smoke and people running here and there.”

According to district health officer Dr Pervez Haider Altaf, rescuers were searching for survivors. Officials have declared a state of emergency. “The hospital in the town has been crowded by the people looking for their relatives. Rescue efforts are still going on,” he said.

The town commissioner, Hassan Ibqal also spoke of the rescue attempts. “There are many people trapped in the rubble after the powerful blast demolished some 10 shops […] The rescue work is under way and we fear the toll may go up,” he said, blaming the attacks on terrorists. “It was a terrorist activity, similar to those being carried out in other parts of the country.” he added.

The attack also damaged the house of Zulfiqar Khosa, the Punjabi chief minister’s adviser, although he was not hurt. It is unclear whether he was the intended target of the attack. So far no group has claimed responsibility for the bombing.

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