BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — A teenage Pakistani activist shot in the head by the Taliban arrived in Britain on Monday to receive specialized medical care and protection from follow-up attacks threatened by the militants.
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Malala was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group's behavior when they took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived. Two of her classmates were also wounded in the attack and are receiving treatment in Pakistan.
The Taliban have threatened to target Malala again until she is killed because she promotes "Western thinking."
Pakistan's military had said a panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted to a center in the United Kingdom that has the ability to provide "integrated" care to children who have sustained severe injuries.
"It was agreed by the panel of Pakistani doctors and international experts that Malala will require prolonged care to fully recover from the physical and psychological effects of trauma that she has received," the military said in a statement.
Malala was flown out of Pakistan on Monday morning in a specially equipped air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates, the Pakistani military said.
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The plane stopped for several hours in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on the way to the United Kingdom, said Pakistani Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan. The ambassador visited Malala during the stop and said she appeared to be in stable condition. Her parents were not on the plane with her, he said.
Pakistani doctors at a military hospital earlier removed a bullet from Malala's body that entered her head and headed toward her spine.
Pakistanis have held rallies for Malala throughout the country, but most have only numbered a few hundred people. The largest show of support by far occurred Sunday when tens of thousands of people held a demonstration in the southern port city of Karachi organized by the most powerful political party in the city, the Muttahida Quami Movement.
"The U.K. stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism," British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement sent to reporters. "Malala's bravery in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all."
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The police engaged the militants in a gunbattle that lasted for several hours, but the insurgents escaped after burning the police station and four police vehicles, said Yar.
One of the policemen who was beheaded was a senior official who commanded several police stations in the area and was leading reinforcements against the attack, said Yar. Another 12 policemen received gunshot wounds.
A Pakistani Taliban spokesman, Mohammad Afridi, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying the police were targeted because they had killed several militants.
The Taliban have carried out hundreds of attacks throughout Pakistan but the attacks rarely include such a high number of militants as in the assault on the police station in Matni.
Abbot reported from Islamabad. Associated Press writers Asif Shahzad in Islamabad, Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, Riaz Khan in Peshawar, Pakistan, and David Stringer and Robert Barr in London contributed to this report.McDermid
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General Electric Co, Alcoa Inc, Boeing Co and Lockheed-Martin Corp said they would provide financial support to the "Get Skills to Work Coalition." It will initially aim to train 15,000 veterans, who will be hired by the four companies or matched to other jobs. Open jobs will be listed on LinkedIn.
"I look at this as a catalyst," said GE Chief Executive Jeff Immelt at an event unveiling the group in New York. "We're looking for other manufacturers to join us."
The group will be managed by the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers trade group. GE will invest an initial $6 million in the program.
The program will get its start in January at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College in Ohio, near a major GE Aviation factory, and be rolled out to nine more U.S. cities over the course of 2013.
It calls for working with community and technical colleges to speed up training; translating military skills into equivalent civilian job functions; helping employers with recruitment and managing workers; and developing on-the-job training programs in major cities.
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That has been a particular frustration for U.S. policymakers as stubbornly high unemployment has been one of the main barriers to the nation's economic recovery from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.
The founding companies collectively employ 64,000 veterans.
Besides current unfilled jobs, up to 2.5 million manufacturing jobs will open up within five years as older workers retire, GE said. Nearly a million workers in the oil and gas industry are approaching retirement age.
"We can't get enough people to do the work we need to do in oil and gas," Immelt said.
BRIDGING A PERCEIVED 'SKILLS GAP'
Executives from the four companies said they were responding to a 'skills gap' where employers find too few qualified people. Many positions require literacy and math skills that few applicants possess, executives said at a panel in New York. Most job applicants don't have those skills but veterans learned them while serving, Alcoa executive Bob Wilt said.
"There's a problem with skills," he said.
Yet some question the severity of a U.S. skills gap, at least in the short term.
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BCG defines a skills gap as jobs where pay has outpaced inflation by 3 percentage points for five years running. By that measure, a few categories -- such as welders and machinists -- show skills shortages, but those are limited to only about 8 percent of the high-skilled manufacturing workforce, which is itself a small part of total U.S.
Part of the problem, however, is that employers' high expectations add to the perception of a skills gap, the BCG report said. Employers demand skills and experience for relatively low pay.
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(Additional reporting by Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Dan Grebler and Sofina Mirza-Reid)