The Great Debate UK

from Afghan Journal:

British army shoots itself in row over Afghan “mosque” models ?

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Members of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland  at the Black Watch Memorial at Aberfeldy in Scotland following the end of their deployment in Afghanistan. By Russell Cheyne

Members of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland at the Black Watch Memorial at Aberfeldy in Scotland following the end of their deployment in Afghanistan. By Russell Cheyne

The British Ministry of Defence has apologised after Muslims complained that it was using replicas of mosques at a firing range  in northern England to train soldiers ahead of deployment in Afghanistan.

Relations between Muslims and the military are already fragile, so what's the point of  testing them even more by suggesting that mosques were places of danger, the Bradford Council of Mosques said, according to The Independent. The green-domed structures erected at the end of the firing range in north Yorkshire must be taken down, the council said.

A British military source told Reuters that the one-dimensional hardboard structures are not used as direct targets  but are intended to provide a more "realistic" background for soldiers training ahead of deployment in Afghanistan.  Other "generic eastern silhouettes" used include palm trees and irrigation ditches to recreate the Afghan setting soldiers would face there.   It was never the intention for the structures to look like or replicate mosques, the Defence Ministry said,  offering an apology if any offence had been caused. It said it had sought a meeting with the representatives of the community to find a way forward.

The cost of youth unemployment

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Tony McAleavy-Tony McAleavy is the Director of Education at CfBT Education Trust. The opinions expressed are his own.-

In response to fears that 16 and 17 year olds were the forgotten victims of the recession, the government announced an extra 72,000 school, college and apprenticeship places from this month. If all the places are taken up, non-participation might dip from 14 percent to around 10 percent. And yet, as many as 100,000 16 and 17 year olds currently in employment (with or without training) would still be at risk from the recession.

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