Features

{mosimage}TORONTO - About 15 per cent of the world’s diamonds are mined by 1.3 million artisanal diamond diggers, many of them living on less than a dollar a day. In addition, diamond fields in sub-Saharan African countries are often controlled by whichever militia has the most guns, and diamonds have generated the cash to fuel some of the most horrific and enduring wars of our time.

A single gold ring creates as much as 20 tons of waste, while about half the gold mines currently in production are on the traditional lands of indigenous people — often against their will.

New trustee, superintendent for Halton board

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{mosimage}BURLINGTON, Ont. (Catholic Register Staff) — Sandor Koso will be the new trustee for Milton with the Halton Catholic District School Board.

Koso was selected out of 18 candidates vying to replace Fr. David Wilhelm, who resigned from the board June 24. Koso’s term began July 2.

Parents threaten lawsuit after Toronto special ed program axed

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Saving the Arrowsmith program at the Toronto Catholic District School Board is an issue of equal rights for students with multiple learning disabilities, says a Toronto-based parent group.

“We are trying to level the playing field. We are trying to make sure that our children can have equitable access to teaching and what they need to move through the (education) system,” Clint Harder, a spokesperson for LD Families.org, told The Catholic Register.

Toronto Furniture Bank steps up to aid people in transition

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TORONTO – When Julia Corridon arrived in Toronto five years ago, she found herself being referred, through a shelter, to an unexpected beacon of hope in the form of the Furniture Bank.

Union calls for Ontario teachers to run full-day kindergarten

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Certified teachers should run full-day kindergarten programs soon to be implemented in Ontario schools instead of hiring part-time early childhood educators, says the president of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association.

Following the Ontario government’s pledge to implement recommendations in a new report on early learning, association president James Ryan said students will benefit more from having a full-day program delivered by certified teachers.

Toronto school board budget chops deficit, angers parent groups

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Budget woes that have forced cuts to programs at the Toronto Catholic District School Board can be solved with a bailout from the province, says a local Catholic parent group.

“If they can bail out (swimming) pools at the public board for $16 million, surely they can bail out the board,” Murielle Boudreau of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network told The Catholic Register after the provincially supervised board revealed its budget, which will chop the remaining $10 million of its accumulated deficit, at a public meeting June 24.

Democracy deficit at Toronto Catholic school board

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{mosimage}TORONTO - A year of provincial supervision for the Toronto Catholic District School Board has been a year with little accountability and transparency, say some Catholic parent groups.

Murielle Boudreau, chair of the Greater Toronto Catholic Parent Network, said it has often been a one-way conversation with the provincially appointed supervision team of Norbert Hartmann and Norm Forma on key issues like the budget and special education funding.

Change studied for east end Toronto schools

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{mosimage}TORONTO - Neil McNeil High School could be getting a new building, paid for by new condos or townhouses on the current school site, according to the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

Neil McNeil is part of a cluster of high schools undergoing a school accommodation review by the Toronto Catholic board. The cluster includes Notre Dame, Cardinal Newman, Jean Vanier and St. Patrick High Schools, all in east Toronto and south Scarborough.

Development agencies wonder how effective Canadian aid is

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{mosimage}Plans to narrow Canada's foreign aid spending so larger amounts can go to fewer projects has left the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace wondering where Canada is going on overseas development aid.

In a second speech this year addressing "aid effectiveness," Minister of International Co-operation Bev Oda announced May 20 that Canada would henceforth concentrate its aid dollars on three "themes." The Canadian International Development Agency will limit its non-emergency spending to increasing food security, promoting sustainable economic growth and programs for youth and children.

Moral challenges confront food production

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{mosimage}When G8 leaders meet in Italy July 8-10 they will have two crises to talk about — the financial market seize-up of last September and the food crisis that sparked riots around the world last year.

While the G-8 has already spent more than $1 trillion to bail out the financial system, what will be done to help millions of people suddenly rendered hungry by a 43-per-cent rise in food commodity prices is still up in the air.

Fully Alive brought up to speed for Internet age

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TORONTO - Teen dating and online relationships will be among new topics in the revised family life textbooks for Ontario Catholic elementary students.

The Fully Alive textbooks for Grades 6 to 8 students are part of the updated second edition of the Ontario bishops’ family life program which starts at Grade 1. The original texts were published from 1988 to 1992, with the Grade 6 revised edition expected this fall and the final two revisions within the next few years. Earlier revisions were launched two years ago.