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Linking welfare to preschool attendance a world first

first_imgNZ Herald 13 Sept 2012Experts believe the Government’s decision to tie welfare benefits to children’s preschool attendance may be unprecedented in the world. University of Auckland sociologist Maureen Baker and retired Massey University professor Mike O’Brien, who have both written books on international welfare reform, said they were not aware of any other country that had tried the idea. The new policy, which will halve parents’ benefits if their children don’t attend preschool for at least 15 hours a week from the age of 3, has come under attack across the spectrum from Labour on the left to the Christian-based Maxim Institute on the right. But in an unscientific survey of more than 11,000 Heraldonline readers, most supported the policy, with 32 per cent calling  “it could help the kids long-term”. Only 21 per cent felt it was “heavy-handed”, 7 per cent that “it will hurt the kids” and 13 per cent that it “needs testing”. Professor Baker said family allowances were tied to medical checks in France but she did not know of any country tying benefits to preschool attendance. Labour MP Jacinda Ardern said halving benefits for families that didn’t comply would “disadvantage the children who need that support the most”. Maxim Institute researcher Dr Jane Silloway Smith said beneficiaries should seek work in return for income support, but making them hand over their children to someone else would undermine http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10833682last_img read more


Tennis News Nadal survives mini-crisis as Serena returns

first_img For all the Latest Sports News News, Tennis News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. Paris: Rafael Nadal survived a mini-crisis to rack up his 80th win at Roland Garros on Tuesday as the 10-time champion defeated Italian lucky loser Simone Bolelli 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (11/9) to reach the second round.Nadal had to save four set points in the tiebreaker before wrapping a victory which preceded the widely-awaited return to Grand Slam tennis of 23-time major winner Serena Williams.World number one Nadal had been two sets up but 0-3 down in the third when rain caused the tie to be suspended late Monday. He quickly levelled at 3-3 today, saved four break points in the eighth game before saving four set points.Nadal eventually claimed the match on a third match point when Bolelli dumped a forehand into the net. The top seeded Nadal, bidding for an 11th title in Paris and his 17th major, next faces Argentina’s Guido Pella for a place in the last 32.”I really suffered today but it was a good test,” said Nadal who had been in danger of dropping his first set at Roland Garros since his 2015 quarter-final loss to Novak Djokovic.”It was very difficult. Simone is a very good player and he had lots of chances and was very aggressive. But I am happy to have won here on this court, the most important of my career.”Williams returns to Grand Slam tennis for the first time since the 2017 Australian Open where she won a 23rd major while also being two months pregnant.The 36-year-old’s return comes with the great American ranked at a lowly 451, a consequence of her lengthy absence from the tour after giving birth to her daughter in September.Williams has played just four matches in 2018, the last of which was a first-round exit to Naomi Osaka in Miami. Three of her Slam titles have come in Paris — in 2002, 2013 and 2015 — and longtime coach Patrick Mouratoglou has no doubt that Williams is capable of adding a fourth.”Can she do it? Serena can achieve anything — after being her coach for six years, I’m even more sure of that statement,” said the Frenchman.Williams starts her 16th Roland Garros against Czech world number 70 Kristyna Pliskova who has never won a match at the tournament in four visits. After getting rained off the schedule on Monday night, two-time champion Maria Sharapova also makes a comeback to the tournament after missing the 2016 and 2017 editions.Sharapova was refused a wild card last year by French Open organisers uncomfortable with being seen to hand out a free pass to a player who had just completed a 15-month doping ban. Five-time major winner Sharapova faces Dutch qualifier Richel Hogenkamp, ranked at 133, on Court Suzanne Lenglen. Third seed Marin Cilic reached the second round with a 6-3, 7-5, 7-6 (7/4) win over Australia’s James Duckworth.Wimbledon and Australian Open runner-up Cilic, 29, fired 47 winners and 13 aces past the 1,072th-ranked Duckworth who was playing his first match since the 2017 Australian Open. Since that time, the 26-year-old has been battling a foot injury which required surgery in January 2017.Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov eased to a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Australian John Millman in his first ever main-draw French Open match. The 19-year-old, who lost in Roland Garros qualifying last year but is now the 24th seed, will next take on German world number 70 Maximilian Marterer for a place in the last 32.”The last couple of weeks I’ve been playing unbelievable on this surface,” said Shapovalov.This year is the first time Shapovalov has been seeded at a major after his run to the Madrid Masters semi-finals earlier this month saw him become the youngest player to break into the world’s top 30 since 2005. Third seed and 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza defeated 2009 winner Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7/0), 6-2. Spain’s Muguruza next faces French wildcard Fiona Ferro, ranked 257, for a place in the last 32.With the headlines dominated by the returns of Williams and Sharapova, world number one Simona Halep will begin her latest bid to win a maiden Slam very much under the radar.The Romanian, who blew a set and 3-0 lead to lose the 2017 final to Jelena Ostapenko, faces Alison Riske, the 83rd-ranked American. last_img read more


South Florida Baker Wins 10K in Christmas Cookie Challenge

first_imgA Florida native is getting national recognition for her baking skills, especially Christmas cookies. Stephanie Torres, this week, won The Food Network’s ‘Christmas Cookie Challenge,’ which comes with a $10-thousand prize. Stephanie Bruce-Torres and host Eddie Jackson during the first challenge, as seen on Christmas Cookie ChallengeThe challenges Torres and the other bakers faced included turning cookies into Christmas cards and tree toppers.She says the experience was surreal, and she thanks her family and friends for encouraging her to go for it. Torres graduated from Pensacola’s Tate High School in 2009, and she now has her own business in South Florida. According to her website, Torres was a culinary specialist in the U.S. Coast Guard for six years.She left the service when her daughter was born and now runs the Little Love Cookie Company, currently based in Hialeah, Florida.Her husband is still active duty. One cookie pictured on her website includes the message “Home is where the Coast Guard sends us.”last_img read more


Delray Beach Police seek help for annual toy drive

first_imgDelray Beach police say they’ve been collecting hundreds of toys to give to kids, now they’re scrambling to get enough toys in time for Christmas.The annual Christmas toy drive has turned into a sort of Christmas crisis for police.“Once you open it up, you’ll notice you’ll immediately smell mold in here,” police spokesperson Ted White said as he was about to walk inside a metal shipping container.“You can see the presence of a lot of moisture, a lot of mold,” White said.Police say hundreds of toys being stored in a metal shipping container at the police station appear to be ruined, contaminated with mold. The toys were going to be distributed to underprivileged children for Christmas. White says police were not aware until now that the shipping container had leaks.“This is devastating because a lot of these toys were going to help more than 2,200 children in the community,” he said.Mold is clearly visible on some of the boxes. Police say a few new bikes can be saved, but they estimate about 3/4 of the toys will have to be thrown out.The toys came from collection boxes at dozens of local restaurants and businesses. John Goldstein, a retired teacher and school principal who now lives in Delray Beach, says he gave toys to the police toy drive this year. “Luckily, my children never went with a Christmas without toys and I can’t even imagine what it’s like for any child to go through any holiday, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa without the joy of toys,” he said.Goldstein says given the situation with the mold and the toys, he’ll try to donate another toy. “I feel that all children should feel the wonder of the holidays,” he said.Police hope people will see this story and drop off toys at the police station or at the more than 60 businesses in Delray that have collection boxes.They plan to start distributing the toys next Thursday.Questions? Call Delray Beach Police at 561-243-7841.last_img read more


Miami Airline Mechanic Pleads Guilty to Sabotaging Jetliner

first_imgAn airline mechanic pleaded guilty on Wednesday to sabotaging a jetliner with 150 people aboard at Miami International Airport, causing the pilot to abort the flight just before its scheduled takeoff.Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani entered his plea in federal court in Miami. He previously admitted to investigators that he had committed the sabotage in order to receive overtime to fix the American Airlines jet, which he later did.“I do admit the guilt,” Alani said through an Arabic interpreter.The 60-year-old man, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Iraq, has been an airline mechanic for 30 years.According to prosecutors, he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the Islamic State extremist group. They add that Alani made statements wishing Allah would use “divine powers” in order to harm non-Muslims.Investigators also say he had Islamic State videos on his phone that show mass murders, and that he did not tell the FBI that he traveled to Iraq last March, following his arrest.Despite the evidence, Alani was not charged with any terrorism-related crimes. He has pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 4.Court documents reveal the sabotage involved gluing Styrofoam inside the nose of the Boeing 737, in order to disable the crew’s ability to monitor airspeed, altitude and the pitch of the plane. Authorities explain that if the flight had taken off as intended on July 17 for Nassau, Bahamas, it would have crashed.Alani’s actions on that day were caught on surveillance video, and co-workers also identified him as the suspect.Jonathan Meltz, Alani’s attorney, says his client has led a “law-abiding life” and that he did not intend to harm the aircraft or the people aboard. He adds that Alani’s sole motivation was “just trying to provide for his family like most of us try to do.”last_img read more


Speaker Pelosi Explains Why She Ripped up Trump’s SOTU Speech

first_imgToday Pelosi said that she feels very liberated and said there is no such thing as an “eternal animosity” and vowed that we will have a new president next year.Pelose ended with, “He shredded the truth in his speech, he has shredded the constitution in his conduct so I shredded his speech.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump treated the State of the Union address like a reality TV show.Talking to reporters at the Capitol, Pelosi said Trump’s speech was riddled with falsehoods and had no connection to reality.She argued that Trump’s claim of inheriting a mess was wrong and pointed out that unemployment under the Obama administration was cut in half from 10 to 5% and the Dow Jones industrial average has gained about 45 percent since Trump was sworn in nearly three years ago. The Dow was up about 53 percent at this point in Obama’s presidency and a whopping 57 percent in Clinton’s early years in office.Pelosi insisted that Trump inherited a strong and growing economy from President Obama.She also said it was inappropriate for law makers to chant “Four more years” on the floor of the hallowed chamber of the House of Representatives.Pelosi ripped up Trump’s speech when he was finished on Tuesday night. Florida congressman Matt Gaetz says he’s filing ethics charges against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ripping up the President’s State of the Union speech.Gaetz says he’s joining two other Republicans in filing charges with the House Ethics Committee. Gaetz said Pelosi disgraced the House of Representatives, “embarrassed our country” and destroyed official records. last_img read more