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Pakistani parliament passes bill for transgender rights

Friday, May 11, 2018

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s parliament passed a bill at Islamabad’s National Assembly which granted transgender people various civil rights. The bill, “Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act”, which was presented by Pakistan Peoples Party’s lawmaker Naveed Qamar, was approved by the senate in March, and now awaits signature of the president Mamnoon Hussain.

The bill ensures people have the right to identify themselves as male, female or as “third gender”, also known as khawaja sira in Pakistan. This identity choice is to be reflected in the National Database and Registration Authority, as well as other official documents like passports and driving licence.

Per the bill, transgender people can now cast votes, run for election, have the right to assemble, and can obtain loans for business startups. They are also eligible to inherit property per their identified gender. Transgender people are to be no longer discriminated at school, working place, for medical services, public transportation facilities, by their employers, or at private business. Separate confinement areas, jails and prisons are to be established for transgenders. Anyone found guilty of forcing transgenders to beg is to face a six-month prison term as well as 50 thousand rupees fine.

The legislation was sent to and later approved by the Council of Islamic Ideology, a government advisory body. Lahore-based activist Mehlab Jameel, who was involved in writing the bill, said the Council of Islamic Ideology “appreciated that the bill included directions on inheritance in accordance with Shari’a” law.

Last year, transgenders were included for the census count for the first time. Mehlab Jameel said, “the definition of ‘transgender’ […] was basically based on genitals” in the initial draft of the bill, written last year.

Speaking to National Public Radio, Jameel said, “This kind of development is not only unprecedented in Pakistani history, but it’s one of the most progressive laws in the whole world.” Human Rights Watch has reported at least four deaths of transgenders in the country since the beginning of 2018, and at least 57 transgenders were killed in Pakistan since 2015. Pakistan’s —reportedly— first transgender news anchor and activist Marvia Malik told Images the transgenders “are forced to dance and beg because they have no other means to make ends meet.” “My trans friends who have masters degrees don’t have jobs which is why they end up on streets or become sex workers”, Malik added.

The draft for the policy to implement this bill is not yet prepared. From the date the bill was approved, President Hussain has ten days to sign the bill or reject it.

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News briefs:June 30, 2005

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Contents

  • 1 Bodies found at crash site of US helicopter in Afghanistan
  • 2 Flash floods hit Australia’s eastern coast
  • 3 Undercover investigation into protests planned for July’s G8 summit
  • 4 Rwandan businessmen sentenced for War Crimes
  • 5 Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announces cooperation between KDE Group and Wikimedia
  • 6 OhmyNews forum discusses experiences in citizen journalism
  • 7 Sharapova knocked out of Wimbledon 2005 in semi-final
  • 8 Brazil wins Confederations Cup
  • 9 Football: Kežman goes to Madrid
  • 10 Closing comments
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Moscow celebrates Victory Day with military parade

Monday, May 11, 2009

On May 9, Moscow heralded its celebrations of Victory Day with one of the largest military parades seen since the fall of the Soviet Union through the Red Square and the streets of Moscow. Signifying the defeat over Nazi Germany in 1945 in World War 2, Victory Day continues to be one of the most poignant and emotional celebrations and national holidays in Russia. Estimates of more than 27 million lost lives during the war continues to leave a vein of sadness in Russia.

Victory day began early in Moscow with inner city streets being closed from 6am and the major entrance of Tverskaya Ulitsa completely locked down with all access to non-military blocked until the end of the parade. Tens of thousands of people lined the upper parts of Tverskaya to see the exit of the military as well as the air force fly-over on their entrance to Red Square. In total more than 9,000 troops, 69 planes and a huge collection of armored vehicles, tanks, and massive anti-aircraft missile defense systems ensured that Moscovites and the rest of Russia will remember Victory Day 2009.

In scenes reminiscent of the end of the war military bands played around the city until all hours of the night. At Leningradsky station departing veterans and widows danced and celebrated with younger generations whilst loudly singing the national anthem. As trains departed, staff handed out flowers in recognition of the contributions made and loud cheers were heard across the many platforms. In a touching event it seemed to bond the generations of yesterday and today.

Preparations for the military parade began months ago with regular rehearsals in Alabino including the erection of a mock Red Square and Kremlin to ensure authenticity. Final dress rehearsals took place in Moscow on May 7 including a full practice of the air show. On display for the first time was the S-400 air defense system which is capable of intercepting airborne targets at ranges up to 400 kilometers (249 mi).

Following the official parades and ceremonies, Red Square and the the inner city was opened to the public, albeit under extreme security and an ever watching eye from Interior Ministry troops. During the afternoon there was an estimated crowed of over 100,000 which entered Red Square to admire the parade ground and decorations, including the official stand for the dignitaries.

Closing the festivities was a series of fireworks in fourteen different locations throughout Moscow including the grand display over the Kremlin and Red Square.

Annual Spring Checklist For Plumbing In Pikesville

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Spring is about more than just spring cleaning and enjoying the crocus, it is the perfect time to have a plumber come to your home to conduct a thorough inspection inside your home and outside as well.

Winter can be hard on a home’s plumbing and result in issues that you might not have noticed yet. While a small leak may not yet be a major headache, it could quickly progress to one. In the meantime it is wasting water and potentially inviting nasty things like insects, rodents, mold and mildew into your home.

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Here are some of the things that Plumbers in Pikesville will perform as part of a spring checklist:

Kitchen – Inspection will be made of sink water lines and drains and advise if any gaskets need to be replaced. They will also inspect water line to ice maker for any leaks. If there is a garbage disposal and/or dishwasher they will be checked to be sure functioning correctly with no leaks in supply lines or drains.

Bathrooms – All sinks will be checked both for lines in and drains. Tubs and showers will also be inspected in the same manner. Toilet tank parts and seal will be inspected to be sure operating efficiently. The plumber may suggest a new toilet if yours is not one of the newer high-efficiency ones as this can save you on water costs.

Outdoors – Septic lines will be checked to be sure winter temperatures nor tree roots have hampered them in any way. All hose bibbs and hoses will be checked to be sure none are leaking. Even a small amount of standing water will be utilized by mosquitoes.

Water Heater – When the water heater fails it is quite a mess, so a spring inspection is a must. The Plumbing Pikesville customer will be advised if the water heater is due to be flushed, or perhaps even replaced. A more efficient unit not only saves utility costs but safeguards against a huge flood in the future.

A plumbing inspection serves two purposes, it gives the homeowner peace of mind that a middle-of-the-night plumbing issue may have been forestalled and it may also help with upgrading old inefficient systems thus saving money. Don’t worry if you’ve missed spring though because anytime is better than not at all.

Dubai receives bailout from Abu Dhabi

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Dubai receives bailout from Abu Dhabi
Author:

23 Jun

Monday, December 14, 2009

The government of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates has agreed to give US$10 billion to its neighboring emirate, allowing the state-owned Dubai World conglomerate to repay its immediate debt obligations. Dubai says more than $4 billion of the injection will be given to Dubai World’s property firm, Nakheel, to repay its Islamic bond that matures Monday. The remaining funds will go towards additional expenses.

News of the last-minute bailout caused Asian stocks to rebound and pushed European shares up, which saw gains for a third straight session. Markets in the UAE also rose, with Dubai’s index moving up by 10 percent and Abu Dhabi’s jumping by seven percent. Despite the good news, Algebra Capital Managing Director Dino Kronfol says Dubai is not out of the woods yet. “This is not something that is going to be resolved in a matter of weeks. It’s going to take some time,” Kronfol said. “It’s going to involve restructuring and we’ll have to see how that transpires. But nonetheless, this is a positive development today.”

The situation is completely different from just a few weeks ago, when Dubai World shook up global markets by asking for a standstill on its $26 billion debt. The government of Dubai made matters worse when it announced it would not guarantee the state-owned company’s bills.

Dubai World’s creditors still need to approve the standstill and effectively have until December 28 to make a decision. That is when the grace period of Nakheel’s bond ends. The government of Dubai has issued a new law allowing the conglomerate to file for bankruptcy if its restructuring is not successful. But Kronfol says, if the process focuses on necessary aspects, it will succeed.

“If the restructuring actually deals with Dubai’s contingent liabilities,” Kronfol said, “as a long-term solution, this actually really will help put the whole debt situation of Dubai behind us and really allow the markets to look more positively at 2010 and beyond.”

Government sources say Dubai World’s restructuring process could include asset sales, but they would be limited to the Nakheel and Limitless companies and not include Istithmar World, which owns U.S. Luxury retailer Barneys.

Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out

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Cars big winner as 34th Annual Annie Awards handed out
Author:

23 Jun

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cars drove home the big prize last night, from the 34th Annual Annie Awards. The animation industry’s highest honor, ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annies recognise contributions to animation, writing, directing, storyboarding, voice acting, composing, and much more.

As mentioned, Pixar took home the big prize last night, after facing stiff competition from four other Happy Feet, Monster House, Open Season, and Over the Hedge.

But the biggest winner of the night didn’t get a “Best Animated Feature” nod at all. Flushed Away won five feature animation categories including Animated Effects (Scott Cegielski), Character Animation (Gabe Hordos), Production Design (Pierre-Olivier Vincent), Voice Acting (Sir Ian McKellan as Toad), Writing (Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, Chris Lloyd, Joe Keenan, and Will Davies).

Over The Hedge won awards for Directing (Tim Johnson and Karey Kirkpatrick), Storyboarding (Gary Graham), and Character Design (Nicolas Marlet).

Of little surprise, Randy Newman won an Annie for Cars in the “Music in an Animated Feature Production” category. Newman has won many Oscars for his movie music, and has a nomination this year for the song “Our Town”. Newman didn’t attend the Annies, instead picking up a Grammy for “Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media”.

DisneyToon Studios’ Bambi II won “Best Home Entertainment Production”, while “Best Animated Short Subject” went to Blue Sky Studios’ No Time For Nuts, which is based on Ice Age.

“Best Animated Video Game” went to Flushed Away The Game, while a United Airlines ad named “Dragon” won a “Best Animated Television Commercial” Annie for DUCK Studios.

Contents

  • 1 Foster an Annie fav on TV
  • 2 Wikinews was there
  • 3 Related news
  • 4 Sources

Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

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Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues
Author:

23 Jun

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”

Storage Mart Offers Mini Storage Units Across The Us And Canada}

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Storage Mart Offers Mini Storage Units Across The US And Canada

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Wilhelmina ThomasIf you’re looking to store seasonal items, climate sensitive items or electronics and important documents and require mini storage units, Storage Mart is the best place that can safely accommodate all your stuff for any duration of time. The store offers its facilities to tourists and visitors also. If you are on a visit to USA and have bought some stuff or antique piece and looking to store it at a safe and secure place for the time being, just contact Storage Mart and leave the rest to them. The mini storage at this place is a great option for those who are looking to store just small, but precious belongings. This option is always available for residents of the US, university students, visitors and tourists for any time period. The stuff in these storage units remains under 24 hour electronic surveillance. Whatever you need to store, be it photo album, electronic item, instrument or furniture, Storage Mart is always ready to assist you and accommodate all your big or small stuff. If you are planning an adventurous road trip or going out for an overseas trip and want to store your stuff, Storage Mart offers you climate-controlled self storage spaces to accommodate all your belongings. Even if you want boat storage unit, it has ample space to offer you on reasonably fair rent. The place is safe and clean to store all your stuff. Facilities OfferedStorage Mart also offers warehouse facilities to those who deal in perishable or non perishable items. If you’re a store owner and looking for a space to store your goods, visit the place and book your space. It gives you 24 hour access to your goods. You can transport it anytime you want. Thinking of car storage every time you need to spend a lot on safe parking; but believe me, this is an amazing place that offers you storage units according to the size of your belongings or assets. Just book your space and feel free as their staff is there to take care of your car. Bought new furniture for your house? But have you thought where would you dispose of your old furniture if you aren’t able to sell it? Storage Mart offers you temperature controlled furniture storage to accommodate your stuff. Now you can keep your old furniture safely till the time you sell it off. Storage Mart offers storage space to accommodate all your big and small stuff. If you’re residing in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Texas or Virginia, you can easily get their services. The company offers its services in Canada also.Not only this, it also offers transportation facilities. Trucks are available in different sizes to help you in moving your stuff. If you require wooden boxes or any other packing material, you can get it here. The company is always ready to assist you and meet your unique storage requirements.So, next time whenever you look for mini storage units to store your stuff, goods or any other items, don’t forget to contact Storage Mart. Drop in an online text or call at their toll free number and book your space. You can also visit their office personally and enquire about their services.

Storage Mart offers

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mini storage units

to accommodate all your small but precious belongings in almost all the big cities of United States and Canada. It also offers online facilities to its customer where they can book their space and make payment online.

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NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery

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NASA sets launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery
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22 Jun

Saturday, March 7, 2009

After almost two months of delay, NASA has set March 11 as the launch date for Space Shuttle Discovery. On February 22, NASA had stated that they indefinitely delayed the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, which was originally scheduled for takeoff on February 12. Launch was then further delayed until February 25 before being delayed indefinitely on February 22. NASA cited the need for additional time to evaluate the shuttle’s hydrogen fuel flow control valves.

Liftoff is set for nighttime on Wednesday, March 11, at approximately 9:20 p.m. (EST) from Launch Complex 39A in Cape Canaveral, Florida. The official countdown to launch will commence Sunday, March 8.

“The team came through, worked hard and was efficient. It’s time now to step back and think of everything else we need to watch before launch on the 11th. There’s no better team than this one and I thank them for putting the right analysis together,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA.

NASA wanted to perform additional tests on the valves which control the amount of hydrogen fuel pumped into the external tank when the shuttle is taking off before making a decision to launch. When Space Shuttle Endeavour went into space in November 2008, one of the valves broke. NASA fears that if one breaks off on this mission, then it could damage the outside of the shuttle.

The current scheduled mission, STS-119, is set to fly the Integrated Truss Structure segment (“S” for starboard, the right side of the station, and “6” for its place at the very end of the starboard truss) and install the final set of power-generating solar arrays to the International Space Station. The arrays consist of two 115-foot-long arrays, for a total wing span of 240 feet, including the equipment that connects the two halves and allows them to twist as they track the sun. Altogether, the four sets of arrays can generate 84 to 120 kilowatts of electricity – enough to provide power for more than 40 average homes.

Commander Lee Archambault will lead Discovery’s crew of seven, along with Pilot Tony Antonelli, and Mission Specialists Joseph Acaba, John Phillips, Steve Swanson, Richard Arnold, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata.

Coalition ups ante on Australian school tax rebates

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Coalition ups ante on Australian school tax rebates
Author:

22 Jun

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has pledged private school relief if the Liberal/National coalition wins the upcoming federal election. The pledge came in response to the Australian Labor Party leader, and current Prime Minister, Julia Gillard proposing a uniform and school equipment tax break expansion.

Abbott’s proposal includes an offer of tax rebates for sending a child to a private school. For students in primary school, prep to grade 6, the rebate will rise to $500 Australian a year per student and families will be then able to claim 50% rebate up to $1000.

“We are expanding the rebate so it can be claimed for school fees and also for other educational costs such as tuition and special educational costs for children with, for instance, dyslexia,” Abbott said at a press conference in Brisbane.

Before the election was called, Gillard had aimed to pledge $220 million over four years to expand the current tax breaks to cover refunds each worth $390 for primary school uniforms and $779 for high school uniforms, as well as refunds for other school equipment like texts books and computers.

“We all know that uniforms can be an expensive part of sending kids to school, but this change, along with the existing refund for textbooks and computers, will help families with that cost,” stated Gillard.

An opposition spokesperson claimed that the “obvious flaw in Labor’s policy is that it only applies to stationery, computer expenses and uniforms […] You know as a parent that you need help for a whole range of expenses. Extra teachers for children with dyslexia or the costs of doing music and all the other expenses like excursions and so forth.”

The expansion is expected to cost $760 million in total and one that Abbott claims needs to happen as “cost of living pressures tend to be greatest when your kids are at school”.