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Australia toughens process to gain citizenship

Posted on 22 April 2017 by TSL

Australia, which hosts one of the largest Sri Lankan Diasporas overseas, will make it more difficult to gain citizenship in a major overhaul of its migration process, the BBC reported yesterday.

Aspiring citizens will undergo tougher tests on their English language skills and ability to demonstrate "Australian values", PM Malcolm Turnbull has said.

Applicants must also have completed four years as a permanent resident – three years longer than at present.

The move comes two days after Australia unveiled stricter visa requirements for skilled workers from overseas.

Turnbull said the changes would ensure that migrants were better integrated into the community.

"It is important that they understand that they are making a commitment to our Australian values," he said.

In explaining what constituted "Australian values", Turnbull said migrants must demonstrate support for religious freedom and gender equality.

 

Turnbull announces changes to citizenship test

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZY3MQVZP4tc   (CLICK)

 

"Respect for women and children … that is a key Australian value," he said, adding domestic violence would not be tolerated.

A more stringent English language test involving reading, writing, listening and speaking is one of the other changes included in the citizenship process.

Providing evidence of integration into the community, such as employment history, school enrolment or membership of community organizations, having already been a permanent resident for at least four years, allowing applicants to apply only three times and automatically failing anyone who cheats on a test are also new changed made by the government in its migration process.

When asked about reports that applicants would be quizzed on whether they supported forced child marriage or female genital mutilation, Turnbull said it was important to "reinforce our values".

"If we believe that respect for women and children [is an Australian value]… then why should that not be made a key part, a fundamental part, a very prominent part, of our process to be an Australian citizen?"

The requirements would apply to all new applications for citizenship, the government said.

The opposition Labor Party accused Turnbull of making announcements for political gain.

"It seems a little odd to me that you would actually ask people whether or not they are going to obey the law when they already pledge to obey the law," said Labor senator Penny Wong.

   

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CivicAction and LinkedIn Help Youth Facing Barriers Connect to Opportunities Through 21st Century Job Search Tools

Posted on 19 July 2016 by TSL

 

CNWTORONTO, July 15, 2016 /CNW/ – Today at YouthConnect 2016, hundreds of youth workers have gathered for hands-on training on how to build a digital network and get young people connected with employers and opportunities online. As thousands of young people in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) go to their summer jobs this morning, up to 83,000 youth in our region are not in employment, education or training.

"In the job market so much boils down to relationships, and today connections are being made and maintained online," said Sevaun Palvetzian, CEO, CivicAction. "YouthConnect is a unique large-scale training for youth and frontline staff on 21st century job finding tools and is a smart, practical way to increase transparency and connect-the-dots in our job market."

CivicAction, LinkedIn, the Ryerson University Career Centre, and the City of Toronto have partnered to host YouthConnect 2016 at the Ted Rogers School of Management to better connect employers and young job-seekers in the GTHA. By training youth workers and employment counsellors there's a "multiplier effect" with a potential reach of more than 2,500 youth. Employer attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how to use online recruitment options to address their entry-level needs and the benefits that come along with that. The almost 100 young job-seekers in attendance will learn how to use tools like LinkedIn for career exploration and personal branding.

"At LinkedIn, we're passionate about our mission to create economic opportunity for each and every member of the global workforce. That starts with empowering the professionals of tomorrow with the tools and skills they need to leverage their full potential," said Jonathan Lister, vice president of North American Sales and Canada country manager for LinkedIn. "We're thrilled to be participating in YouthConnect again this year to help break down barriers to employment and connect our region's youth with long-term opportunity."

In addition to the hands-on training by expert LinkedIn staff, attendees will hear from guest speakers Peter Sloly, Executive Director, Deloitte; Michael Coteau, Minister of Children and Youth Services; and Rob Meikle, Chief Information Officer, City of Toronto on the power of LinkedIn to advance the career aspirations of young people, and the importance of maintaining a professional brand online. Youth attendees will also have the opportunity to build their personal brand, network with employers and get a picture-perfect headshot for their LinkedIn profile.

YouthConnect is a part of CivicAction's Escalator initiative, which connects youth facing barriers to employment with jobs, through collaboration with a large tent of players from the public, private and non-profit sectors. By engaging small and medium-sized businesses, bringing job opportunities into the open, closing the skills gap, and connecting youth with role models, CivicAction and its partners are making the job market more transparent and giving new networks to youth who currently don't have them. This event was made possible by the generous support of Accenture, Cisco, the City of Toronto, and Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

"Research shows that Canada's future prosperity depends on our ability to harness the energy and optimism of young people, but too many are feeling anxious about their future with job prospects being a major worry," said Zabeen Hirji, Chief Human Resources Officer, RBC and Chair of CivicAction's Escalator initiative. "We want to help young people navigate through education into employment. YouthConnect will help close the gap by teaching the digital skills needed to successfully do this in the 21st century."

Our thanks to CNW Group for sponsoring this announcement.

About CivicAction: For over a decade, CivicAction has brought together senior executives and rising leaders from all sectors to tackle some of the GTHA's toughest challenges. CivicAction's Escalator: Jobs for Youth Facing Barriers brings together private, public and community sector leaders to tackle the issue of unemployment for youth facing barriers. Over the last two years, CivicAction has successfully launched a number of programs which are making a difference in the lives of young people across the GTHA. CivicAction's new phase of work launched in 2016 will develop evidence-based tools to help identify and address barriers within organizations that may hinder the success of young people across Ontario. To find out more visit civicaction.ca or follow us on twitter at @CivicActionGTHA.

About LinkedIn: LinkedIn connects the world's professionals to make them more productive and successful. With more than 433 million members — including more than 12million in Canada — our vision is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. As part of our ongoing Economic Graph initiative to digitally map the global economy and help connect talent with opportunity at massive scale, LinkedIn worked with CivicAction to map the opportunities and skills gap in Toronto's growing tech sector. See the report here.

About the Career Centre at Ryerson University: The Career Centre at Ryerson University provides career education, employment opportunities and employment support services to students, recent graduates and alumni, and prospective employers. Our staff offer a diverse suite of services that assist students and alumni reach their professional development and long-term career goals.

About the City of Toronto: The City of Toronto offers a variety of supports to youth seeking employment and employers seeking talent. The City's Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE), and the Toronto Youth Job Corps are just two of the many programs / initiatives the City offers to increase youth's access to economic opportunities. Find out how the City can help you find work or start a business by visiting YouthTO (www1.toronto.ca).

SOURCE CivicAction 

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Nelson Mandela dead at 95 – ‘He gave his life for his people’

Posted on 07 December 2015 by TSL

World mourns Nelson Mandela, former South African president and anti-apartheid leader.

National leaders and ordinary citizens around the world joined Thursday in mourning Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years as a prisoner in South Africa for opposing apartheid, then emerged to become his country's first black president, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and an enduring symbol of integrity, principle and resilience. Mandela died "peacefully" Thursday night at 95 at his home in Johannesburg, surrounded by family, according to South African President Jacob Zuma. Zuma, dressed in black, announced Mandela's death in a nationally televised address, saying " Our nation has lost its greatest son. Our people have lost a father. Although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss." Mandela had spent almost three months in a Pretoria hospital after being admitted in June with a recurring lung infection. Zuma said the man considered by many as the father of his nation would be accorded a full state funeral. In Washington, President Obama called him one of the "most influential, courageous and profoundly good" people to ever have lived. "He achieved more than could be expected of any man," an emotional Obama said, in remarks from the White House, adding: "He belongs to the ages." Obama ordered U.S. flags to be lowered immediately to half staff until Monday evening in tribute to Mandela.

Meanwhile, South Africans gathered to celebrate Mandela's life and mourn his death. Outside the Soweto home where he once lived, some residents sang and danced while others gathered outside his Johannesburg home, where the mood also was lively. A makeshift shrine appeared composed candles, a national flag and bouquets of flowers, along with a picture of him inscribed "Rest in peace, Madiba" — his clan name.. Mandela, who once said, "the struggle is my life," was a beloved hero of both South Africa and the world itself. His face was instantly recognizable in virtually any country, his story famous enough that he was portrayed in movies at least four times – by Morgan Freeman ("Invictus"), Sidney Poitier ("Mandela and de Klerk"), Danny Glover ("Mandela") and Dennis Haysbert ("Goodbye Bafana"). Stamps were issued with his likeness, songs written about him, statues erected in his honor everywhere from Johannesburg to London and more than 50 universities around the world awarded him degrees. Even a species of spiders was named in his honor.

Mandela, who had been in increasingly frail health in recent years, retired from public life in 2004. He is survived by his third wife, Graca Machel, three daughters (three other children died) and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In one of his last public appearances, televised in May 2012, Mandela sat in an armchair with a blanket pulled over his lap at his rural home in Qunu and received a symbolic flame to mark the centenary of the African National Congress. Ironically, the leader hailed as a symbol of peace at one point was on a U.S. terror watch list because of his affiliation with the ANC, which was designated a terrorist organization by South Africa’s apartheid government. He was finally taken off the list in 2008. Mandela, although initially committed to non-violence, had, in fact, once been involved with the militant wing of the ANC, which was founded in association with the South African Communist Party and carried out a campaign of violence against government targets. The man who died an anti-apartheid hero, world statesman and symbol of the strength of the human spirit was born Rolihlahla Mandela in a village near Umtata in the Transkei on July 18, 1918. Rolihlahla literally means "pulling the branch of a tree" but more colloquially, "troublemaker."

His father was primary councilor to the Acting Paramount Chief of Thembuland and after his father's death, the 9-year-old Mandela became the chief's ward. He received the English name Nelson from a primary school teacher at his mission school. He attended the University College of Fort Hare, a prestigious residential college for blacks in South Africa, where he was expelled over a student boycott, and then ran away from home to Johannesburg to avoid an arranged marriage. He eventually completed his bachelor's degree via correspondence courses, studied law and joined the African National Congress in 1942. After 20 years of leading a non-violent campaign against the South African government, his philosophy switched to armed struggle. In 1964 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for plotting to overthrow the government by violence. For 18 of his 27 years in prison, he was inmate #46664 on Robben Island, a notorious maximum security facility off Cape Town, where he became a worldwide symbol of resistance to racial oppression. In 1982, he was moved to Pollsmoor Prison, on the nearby mainland, where he spent much of his time in solitary confinement.

In 1985, President P. W. Botha offered to release him if he would renounce armed struggle but he refused, saying "only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts." Finally released from this third prison, Victor Verster – an event broadcast internationally – on February 11, 1990 , he was elected president of the ANC in 1991. In 1993 he and President Frederik Willem De Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1994, at the age of 75, he was inaugurated as the first black president of South Africa. Mandela served as president until 1999, when he retired and became an advocate for a number of human rights organizations and also a spokesman for the fight against AIDS. In 2001 he was treated for prostate cancer. His philosophy of learning to love instead of hate made him one of the moral leaders of his era. "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion" he wrote in his autobiography. "People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for loves comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Mandela was married three times. His first wife was Evelyn Ntoko Mase, from 1944-1957, and they had four children – one son died in a car crash, one son of AIDS and one daughter as an infant. His second wife was Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1958-1996) and they had two daughters before divorcing. On his 80th birthday in 1998 he wed Graca Machel, widow of Samora Machel, the former Mozambican president. But his nation was his beloved offspring as well. "My daughter Zinzi says," he once observed, "that she grew up without a father, who, when he returned, became a father of the nation…for me, there is no place like home." The Associated Press contributed to this report

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