Socioeconomic disadvantage puts students three years behind, report finds

Australian schools’ maths and science results have flatlined for the past 20 years relative to comparable countries

The difference between attending a disadvantaged school and a more privileged one is the equivalent of three years of education, a report on Australia’s test results has found.

On Wednesday the Australian Council for Educational Research (Acer) released two reports on the performance of Australian children in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (Timss) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests.

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Q&A: What will happen if the US Federal Reserve raises interest rates?

Janet Yellen, the Fed chair who has been criticised by Donald Trump, is set to raise rates for third time since financial crash

The US central bank is poised to raise interest rates for only the third time since the financial crash of 2008. With it’s headquarters just round the corner from the White House, the Federal Reserve and it’s chair, Janet Yellen, are in Donald Trump’s sights.

On the campaign trail Trump said Yellen should be “ashamed” of the Fed’s low interest rate policy, and accused the bank of creating a “false stock market”. Trump has called for higher rates, but Yellen can not take a positive presidential reaction for granted.

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Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said on Tuesday that if Donald Trump is sincerely concerned about the government’s ability to listen in on his private communications, he should fix the NSA mass surveillance programs that collect data on every American.

Snowden, speaking remotely from Moscow, was interviewed by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill at the South by Southwest Conference in Austin, Texas, for Scahill’s Intercepted podcast.

Snowden did not validate Trump’s wild accusation that President Obama had “tapped” the wires in Trump Tower. “If Donald Trump or anyone else wants us to take this seriously, they have to show evidence,” Snowden said. “And the fact that they have not despite the severity of this allegation, means that they’re trying to make political hay — I suspect — out of something that effects all of us, which is that mass surveillance is making all of us vulnerable.”

Snowden explained that the NSA’s surveillance dragnet currently allows any analyst with an appropriate clearance to search a massive database of communications for phones or IP addresses related to anyone, including the president. He was describing the “Upstream” program conducted under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, in which the NSA collects a vast number of American communications from internet cables entering and exiting the United States, ostensibly only “targeting” foreigners.

“If Donald Trump wants to take this seriously, he needs to fix the problem that everyone in America’s communications are being collected right now, without a warrant, and they’re going into the bucket, and they’re protected by very lax internal policy regulations, and this simply is not enough,” said Snowden.

“The problem is not, ‘Oh, you know, poor Donald Trump.’ You’re the president. You should be asking questions about, ‘Why was this possible in the first place,’ and, ‘Why haven’t I fixed it?’”

Far from trying to eliminate the NSA’s authorities under Section 702, Trump supports having Congress extend the programs past this year, when they would otherwise expire — while at the same time continuing President Obama’s refusal to give the legislative branch even a ballpark estimate of what proportion of domestic communications they capture.

Listen to the entire interview Wednesday on the Intercepted podcast.

Subscribe to Intercepted on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and other platforms. New to Podcasting? Click Here.

Top photo: Scahill and Snowden.

The post Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance appeared first on The Intercept.

Winter storm blankets north-east but spares major cities – video

Snow piled up rapidly in parts of the north-eastern United States on Tuesday as a blizzard began blowing in, with residents being advised to stay at home, airlines grounding flights and schools canceling classes. However, earlier predictions of up to two feet of snow in major cities like New York and Washington DC were revised down as precipitation turned to sleet early

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