St. George, Ont., celebrates Christmas early for boy with cancer

More than 7,000 people show up for the Santa Claus parade

By CBC News

Santa Claus came early to St. George, Ont., this year.

The small town, about 30 kilometres west of Hamilton, rallied this week to bring Christmas to Evan Leversage, a seven-year-old boy who has been battling brain cancer since he was two.

The boy’s family recently learned that his tumour has grown and spread, leading the boy’s doctors to suggest the family celebrate Christmas early.

Family, friends and even strangers who heard the news decided to start decorating early. Members of the community have even rolled out some fake snow to adorn Evan’s front lawn.

Read more » CBC
See more » http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/st-george-christmas-early-1.3287261

Germany scraps tuition fees after mass student protests cause shift in public opinion

BY DAVID SMITH

GERMANY• After experimenting with tuition fees, all the federal German states have been persuaded to reverse their decision. In the UK and US, there is no political will to change the policies which are blighting whole generations. The only way forward is to copy German protest movements.

The world’s fourth largest economy, Germany, has abolished all higher education tuition fees after flirting with the system for a few years. The contrast could not be greater with both the United States and the United Kingdom, which has largely aped the US model with potentially disastrous results.

In the US, tuition costs have risen 500% since 1985 and those who borrowed for a bachelor’s degree granted in 2012 owe an average of US$29,400. Some 40 million Americans are paying back US$1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt. US senator Elizabeth Warren, who is campaigning to lower fees, says the burden is stopping young Americans from buying homes and cars, or starting small businesses. Meanwhile, existing federal financial aid to students is poorly targeted, with half of federal tuition tax credits going to the wealthiest 20%.

In the UK, the problem of student debt could become even worse than in the US. The Tory Government introduced tuition fees of £9,000 (US$14,500) a year in 2012 and average debt levels per student are now expected to be £44,000 (US$71,000). Yet, the system is self-defeating as most of the debt may never even be paid off. The UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies suggests that nearly three quarters (73%) of today’s students will fail to clear their debts, and may only have them written off 30 years after graduating, by which time they could be in their mid 50s.

Read more » ECONOMY WATCH
See more » http://www.economywatch.com/features/Germany-scraps-tuition-fees-after-mass-student-protests-cause-shift-in-public-opinion.10-08-14.html