World Briefs: Obama abandons plan to rate schools

 US President Barack Obama departs to travel to a town hall meeting with service members at Fort Meade, from the White House in Washington on Sept 11, 2015.
US President Barack Obama departs to travel to a town hall meeting with service members at Fort Meade, from the White House in Washington on Sept 11, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS

Obama abandons plan to rate schools

WASHINGTON • United States President Barack Obama has abandoned his two-year effort to have the government create a system that explicitly rates the quality of the nation's colleges and universities, a plan that was bitterly opposed by presidents at many of those institutions.

Under the original idea, announced by Mr Obama in 2013, all of the nation's 7,000 institutions of higher education would have been assigned a ranking by the government, with the aim of shaming low-rated schools that saddle students with high debt and poor earning potential.

Instead, the White House on Saturday unveiled a website that does not attempt to rate schools with any kind of grade, but provides information to prospective students and their parents about annual costs, graduation rates and salaries after graduation. NEW YORK TIMES


Scottish nationalists to seek referendum

LONDON • Scottish nationalists will propose holding a new referendum on independence from the rest of Britain, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday.

Ms Sturgeon said her pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP) would set out a timescale for a referendum in its manifesto ahead of regional elections next year.

"Our manifesto will set out what we consider are the circumstances and the timescale on which a second referendum might be appropriate," she told the Press Association news agency. The manifesto will be unveiled next month.

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Muslims, Israeli cops clash at holy site

JERUSALEM • Muslims clashed with Israeli police at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound yesterday, hours before the start of the Jewish New Year, the latest violence over access to the site sacred to both faiths.

The latest clashes came with tensions running high after Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon last week outlawed two Muslim groups that confront the compound's Jewish visitors to the compound.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas condemned what he called an Israeli police "attack" at the site, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the authorities must prevent rioting at the compound.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2015, with the headline 'World Briefs: Obama abandons plan to rate schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe