Upper house

Highlights of the Taj Mahal – KTVZ

CNN Editorial Research

Here is some general information about the Taj Mahal, India’s most popular tourist attraction. The monument is located on the banks of the Yamuna River in Agra, India.


The Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan to honor his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth.

“Taj Mahal” means “crown of palace” in Urdu and Persian.

In fiscal 2018, nearly 6.5 million people visited the Taj Mahal, according to statistics from Indian Ministry of Tourism.

The site is maintained by the Archaeological survey of India, who organized multi-year clean-up projects to restore the discolored areas of the Taj Mahal’s facade caused by air pollution and insect excretions from the adjacent Yamuna River.


The most recognizable feature of the Taj Mahal is the large, domed white mausoleum, which is surrounded by four tall minarets at each corner. The exterior is white marble.

The main building contains two cenotaphs commemorating Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. A cenotaph is a Greek word meaning “empty tomb”. The couple are actually buried in sarcophagi below.

The cenotaphs and the screen that surrounds them are covered with intricately designed mosaics in semi-precious stones.

On either side of the Taj Mahal are two red sandstone buildings: a mosque and a meeting room.

The grounds also include gardens and a long, reflective swimming pool.


1628 – Shah Jahan becomes emperor as part of the Mughal dynasty, ruling northern India.

1631 – His wife, Mumtaz Mahal, dies in childbirth.

1632 – Start of construction of the Taj Mahal. It is estimated that around 20,000 workers participated in the construction of the structure.

1648 – The main mausoleum of the Taj Mahal has been completed.

1653 – Additional features including a mosque, guest house and courtyard are completed.

1666 – Shah Jahan dies and his remains are buried next to Mumtaz Mahal under the Taj Mahal complex.

1861 – The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is founded to help preserve and restore Indian monuments and historic sites.

1899-1905 – British Lord Curzon serves as viceroy of India. During his tenure, he ordered the restoration of certain historic places, including the Taj Mahal.

1983 – UNESCO designates the Taj Mahal as a world heritage site.

July 7, 2007 – the The Taj Mahal is named one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”. as part of a online marketing campaign.

October 2017 The Taj Mahal is one of many sites excluded from a brochure issued by the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department. Referring to Yogi Adityanath’s explanation, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh that the monument does not “reflect Indian culture,” Swapan Dasgupta, a BJP member of the upper house of the Indian parliament, told CNN that any controversy had been exaggerated.

April 1, 2018 – A three hour limit for Taj Mahal visitors is implemented.

May 9, 2018 – The Supreme Court of India orders ASI to do a better job with its restoration plan, as the discoloration and stains on the exterior of the Taj Mahal have not been addressed as promised.

March 17, 2020 – ASI orders the closure of all monuments and museums due to the threat of coronavirus, including the Taj Mahal.

June 14, 2021 – ASI issues statement that monuments and museums closed due to coronavirus pandemic will reopen June 16, with protection guidelines in place.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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Legislative assembly

What is the diversity of the new assembly of Azad Kashmir?

Newly elected members of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) are sworn in before outgoing President Shah Ghulam Qadir in Muzaffarabad, August 3, 2021. – Twitter / GovtofAJK / File

The recent elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir have held many surprises and also brought a new ruling party to rule.

But who are the men and women of the new legislature? And how diverse and representative is it? examines the age, occupation, gender and educational background of new representatives.


No young politician, therefore aged 25 to 30, was elected to the AJK legislative assembly in 2021. While in 2016, the last ballot was held in the federative unit, 5% of young people members went to the assembly.

An overwhelming majority, 95%, who will sit in the new assembly belong to the middle and old age group.

Below is a breakdown:

Age, gender, profession: what is the diversity of the new assembly of Azad Kashmir?


It is estimated that 82% of the members of the Legislative Assembly in 2021 have completed their bachelor’s degree. This is an increase from 2016, when only 58% had an undergraduate degree.

However, there are no masters or doctorates in the legislative body, while only 4% have completed their intermediate and 7% have passed their final exams.

Age, gender, profession: what is the diversity of the new assembly of Azad Kashmir?


A significant percentage of members, 58%, have businesses in the 2021 legislature. Their percentage was 61% in 2016.

Lawyers come second, representing 18% of the assembly. Their percentage was only 15% in 2016.

Separately, owners or farmers represent 7% of the assembly, up from 12% in 2016.

Those who identify themselves as “full-time politicians” will represent 13% of the members of the Assembly. There were no such politicians in the previous assembly.

However, at the 2021 assembly no doctor could become a member.

Age, gender, profession: what is the diversity of the new assembly of Azad Kashmir?


Six women reached the assembly of 53 members, one of whom was elected to general headquarters. The other five were appointed from reserved seats.

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Upper house

Southwestern Somalia State Elects New Senators


The state of southwestern Somalia elected five senators on Monday, becoming the second federal region in the country to vote for new representatives in the upper house.

But the vote in Baidoa, the state’s interim capital, came amid complaints of favoritism from some of the candidates banned from the nomination list.

The Southwest, like Jubbaland who elected five new senators last week, is given eight seats in the upper house. And the local legislature is supposed to approve or reject the candidates proposed by the president of the local state.

And like Jubbaland, local state president Abdiaziz Laftagareen, chose to nominate candidates for all five seats, instead of eight.

She saw Ms. Zamzam Ibrahim Ali become the first senator elected in Baidoa and successfully retain her seat in the Upper House.

Ms. Ali defeated Ms. Sharifo Osman Ibrahim, receiving 81 votes against 4 votes obtained by the latter while 7 votes were wasted.


According to the list of candidates who were selected “on the basis of serious intentions to run” for the five seats, four women and six men were sent to the local parliament for a vote.

“Three seats will be contested by six male candidates, [and]four women will run for the remaining two seats, ”said Yusuf Abdulkadir, president of the State Election Implementation Team (SEIT) for the South West, ahead of the elections on Monday morning.

The election of five senators in Baidoa was preceded by the election of 4 senators in the city of Kismayu, the acting capital of Somalia’s Jubbaland, on July 29.

In the Southwest, however, two outgoing Senators Ilyas Ali Hassan and Hussein Mohamud complained of criminal acts after their names were removed from the list and seats were assigned to other clans.

Under Somali electoral law, presidents of federal states hold a lot of power when it comes to elections for senators. They choose the names of candidates based on specified criteria, including clan membership, ability to pay required fees, and other conditions. However, they might as well settle their scores with her, given that there are few challenges if they feel unfairly excluded.

In these elections, Somalis are also struggling to meet the proposed quota of 30 percent women in parliament. Mr Abdiaziz allocated some of the seats to women, but the losing candidates argued that this was based on favoritism rather than the need for gender parity.

The much-delayed indirect elections are being held despite various challenges such as security and a looming famine that has seen officials admit that some 6 million people are at risk of starvation.

Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, who is the top election official in Somalia, nonetheless welcomed the progress and urged all remaining states and all involved in the electoral processes to speed up the implementation of the elections.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Roble met Abdi Hashi Abdullahi, Speaker of the outgoing Upper House of Parliament and Mahdi Mohamed Guled, Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia.

Abdullahi and Guled lead two opposing factions of politicians in the North West region, also known as Somaliland. The two sides disagree on the direction of the electoral processes supposed to elect senators and deputies to the lower house of parliament.

After the meeting, government spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu said: “The meeting was intended by Prime Minister Roble to obtain a debriefing from the two parties who were asked to clarify the differences a week ago.

Moalimu added: “President Abdullahi asked for one more day before delivering his conclusion.”

Somaliland’s electoral process is expected to generate more than 61 lower house deputies and 11 senators through a special arrangement to be held in Mogadishu.

Somaliland, an authority in the city of Hargeisa, which has declared itself unilaterally independent from the rest of Somalia, does not consider itself part of the federal government of Somalia.

On Sunday, July 25, Prime Minister Roble took a giant step forward by appointing 13 activists led by Ms. Batulo Ahmed Gabale, President of the National Association of Somali Women, to advocate and ensure that the 30 percent quota for female seats is reached in bicameral Somalia. parliament.

The decision to fight for the seats allocated to women is hailed by Somali and foreign supporters.

Ms. Zahra Haji Khalif, women’s affairs activist in Mogadishu, acknowledges that the election of women to political decision-making positions is hampered by the fact that Somalia is a clan-based patriarchal society.

“Our lineage is paternally traced, which allows women to participate in clan-based power-sharing policies,” Ms. Khalif said.

In a joint statement last Thursday, Somalia’s international partners, a group of multilateral organizations and countries, said in part: “Among recent examples of progress, the Prime Minister (Roble) has appointed goodwill ambassadors to promote the 30% quota for women.

The Federal Election Implementation Team and the Federal Electoral Dispute Resolution Team sent representatives to Baidoa city to ensure the smooth running of the elections and the respect of all procedures.

This is technically a repeat of what was done last time in the city of Kismayu, where Jubbaland President Ahmed Mohamed Madobe submitted the list of candidates for each seat and local lawmakers voted for the candidates for each seat.

In Baidoa, the President of the Southwestern Somalia State, Abdiaziz Hassan Laftagareen, submitted the names of the 10 candidates, leaving lawmakers to vote for the candidates and SEIT to manage the process while representatives of the federal teams of implementation and dispute resolution closely observed the process.

Yet to begin the elections, the federal member states of Puntland, Galmudug and Hirshabelle and special delegates must be assembled to vote for the Senate and members of the lower house for Somaliland.

Somalia’s parliamentary elections were supposed to take place in 2020, but feuds between the federal government and some of the leaders of the federal member states delayed the process until a deal reached on May 27 by Prime Minister Roble and Chief the five presidents of FMS Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland as well as the mayor of Mogadishu have paved the way for elections to be held between July and October 2021.

The end of Somalia’s electoral season is marked by the presidential election, which is due to take place in a joint session of the upper and lower houses of parliament on October 10. It is expected to attract a few candidates, including incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajaajo and a galaxy of challengers including former Somali presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.

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City Hall calendar could restrict public contribution to KS redistribution

In May, the Kansas legislature appeared poised to delay a series of city halls on redistribution until the US Census Bureau released new demographics.

While there has been some disagreement over whether to delay, the Senate leader of the redistribution effort, Senate Deputy Speaker Rick Wilborn, said he heard the public and answered questions about d ” possible new legislative limits of Congress and the states. before having full information, lawmakers might appear “almost incompetent”.

Corn On Friday afternoon, the state’s Legislative Research Department released a timeline that Wilborn defined risks exactly that. The 14 town halls would take place over five days, from August 9 to 14. All but four would take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., which would limit opportunities to attend after hours. Census data is not expected until August 16.

Each session will be limited to one hour and 15 minutes.

Historically, town halls offer the Kansans their best chance to speak out publicly on what their congressional and state legislative districts should look like over the next decade.

Kansas Democrats have been on high alert since Republicans began discussing plans to attract Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District to help oust Democratic United States Representative Sharice Davids. The compressed schedule has triggered alarms.

“Republicans are treating redistribution the same way they treat the legislative process: hastily, carelessly and with as few opportunities for deliberation and public input as possible,” Senate Minority Leader Sykes said. , a Democrat from Lenexa, in a statement.

The state Democratic Party called the calendar proof that the redistribution would be a “sham.”

Minority House Leader Tom Sawyer, a Democrat from Wichita, urged his colleagues to reconsider a timetable that he said would effectively silence the Kansans and undermine the integrity of the process.

“Where is the responsibility? He asked in a statement.

In response, Republican leaders on the House and Senate redistribution panels accused the Democrats of partisan games.

“By attacking what amounts to a timeline, Kansas Democrats are showing they would have voiced criticism regardless of the timeline,” Wilborn and Rep. Chris Croft said in a joint statement.

Mike Pirner, spokesperson for Senate Speaker Ty Masterson, said Monday that the schedule will offer more, not less, opportunities for public engagement.

“Committee leaders believe it is important to hear from people across Kansas as we begin the process,” Pirner said in a statement. “The sooner we start, the more opportunities the Kansans will have to weigh in as we move forward.”

There is room in the calendar to add additional meetings, and Kansans can give a written contribution at any time. But the short notice could prevent working Kansans or those busy with back-to-school plans from attending early sessions.

The schedule also surprised Republican lawmakers. State Representative Jim Kelly, a pro-independence Republican and member of the Redistribution Committee, said he would be unable to attend due to previously planned plans.

“I’m disappointed that he really arrived the week after his announcement,” Kelly said. “The timing just hasn’t worked for me and I’m sure it won’t work for a number of other people.”

Gerrymandering’s concerns

Since last fall, Kansas Republicans have openly expressed their desire to draw lines in Congress in a way that could hamper the re-election efforts of Davids, the state’s only Democratic congressman.

State Representative Stephanie Clayton, Democrat of Overland Park, said the limited time allocated to town halls was disrespectful to Kansans and the decision to seek comment before receiving census data would help lawmakers skew cards in favor of rural, more conservative, parts of the state.

“We’re honestly showing that we care more about rural Kansas than urban and suburban Kansas and, more importantly, and I keep hitting on that, the literal economic engine of the state. And that’s wrong, ”Clayton said.

Dave Daley, a member of FairVote, an organization that advocates for non-partisan redistribution commissions, said Kansas would likely have congressional and legislative cards that disproportionately favor Republicans.

Such cards are common in all states where a single party has near universal control over the process, regardless of the party.

“There will likely be an epidemic of cracking and wrapping of Democratic voters, in Kansas City and surrounding areas in particular, on these maps,” Daley said.

Town halls, he said, are the best opportunity for voters to prevent this. In a process that takes place largely behind closed doors, forums give voters the opportunity to explain which parts of their communities they believe are most united and where common interests lie.

“In many states, public shame is the only weapon citizens have against truly distorted maps,” he said.

Impact of audience contribution

Compared to the last division in 2011, the 2021 edition is jostled and sketched with regard to public town halls. In 2011, Kansas held its 14 recut sessions over a four-month period. Each was allocated approximately 2.5 hours.

But long hours of public hearings do not necessarily guarantee a fair result. Lawmakers were unable to come up with a plan, and the following year a federal court had to draw the lines.

Steve Morris, a Hugoton Republican who was Speaker of the Senate at the time, said he believed the Legislature could have more easily achieved a fair map if they had listened to comments from residents in town halls.

“The Speaker of the House and the Governor pretty much ignored what was said at these meetings,” Morris said.

Yurij Rudensky, a lawyer at the Brennan Center for Justice, said states with partisan redistribution processes are often not particularly responsive to public comment.

However, he said, the process remains important to bring about community considerations.

The current schedule in Kansas, he said, would disadvantage low-income Kansans or others with barriers preventing them from attending a meeting in the middle of the day.

“A public contribution process is only as good if it is designed to actually reach a population and really reach all communities in a state,” he said.

“People understand this problem better than they have in decades past, people are more engaged about it and they want to have their voices heard.”

In 2011, former Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley said the public hearing process was helpful in fighting a map proposal that would have placed Wyandotte County in western Kansas’ first congressional district. .

Hensley drew a map to show participants what this would mean. Kansas Republicans have discussed pursuing a similar card in 2022.

“During these public meetings that took place between the 2011 and 2012 sessions, I was able to tour the state and make a presentation. We already had the census data. And I was able to do a presentation that showed this gerrymandered map putting Wyandotte County in the first district, ”Hensley said.

“It is actually a disservice to the people of Kansas to do this process in a rushed manner like this.”

Kansas City Star Related Stories

Katie Bernard covers the Kansas Legislature and State Government for the Kansas City Star. She joined The Star as a late-breaking journalist in May 2019 before joining the political team in December 2020. Katie studied journalism and political science at the University of Kansas.

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Legislative assembly

Lawmakers should talk about emergency and mask law

State lawmakers return to the State Capitol this morning to review Governor Asa Hutchinson’s recovery from a statewide public health emergency due to covid-19 and expect meet in a special session starting Wednesday to consider a bill allowing public school officials to decide whether to require masks in schools.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage »]

But Hutchinson has yet to call for the special session.

Pro tempore Senate Speaker Jimmy Hickey R-Texarkana said on Monday that one of two bills circulating among state lawmakers would allow school boards to decide whether to require masks in public schools with children under 12, who are not eligible for vaccination.

The other bill in circulation would respond to a decision by a Pulaski County circuit judge on Thursday who ordered the state to try to resume participation in a federal unemployment assistance program that Hutchinson had sought to end, Hickey said.

Circuit Judge Herbert T. Wright’s temporary injunction against Hutchinson’s order affects some 69,000 unemployed Arkansans who were receiving weekly federal supplements of $ 300 to their regular state unemployment benefits.

Hutchinson announced in May that he would end Arkansas ‘participation in the federal program after June 26, saying the federal supplements were interfering with employers’ ability to find enough workers.

Wright wrote in its decision: “The Court has serious doubts that the Governor and the Director of Manpower Services were acting within the scope of their duties, as these decisions would normally be subject to review. legislation of the General Assembly. “


When asked why Hutchinson had yet to make the call to the special session, her spokesperson, Shealyn Sowers, said Monday evening she had made no comment.

He was asked on Friday when the governor would launch the appeal and provide details of his bill. “More information will be released on Monday,” Sowers said that day in a written statement.

Hickey said he expects the governor to call the Legislative Assembly into special session starting at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

House officials are still preparing for a special session starting Wednesday, House spokeswoman Cecillea Pond-Mayo said.

But Hickey said the public school mask mandates bill was “not even close” to having the 18 votes required for the approval of the 35 Senate members.

But he said, “You never say never.”

The proposed legislation would amend Law 1002, sponsored by Senator Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, which prohibits state and local governments, including public schools, from requiring that individuals wear masks. The law came into effect on July 28.

The bill’s emergency clause would require a two-thirds vote in the 35-member Senate and 100-member House to take effect immediately after the bill is signed by the governor. Otherwise, the bill would come into force 90 days after it is signed by the governor. If the bill passes by the Legislature and is signed by the governor this week, it would come into force in early November.

The latest wave of covid-19 is now and school starts in mid-August.

Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee chair Cecile Bledsoe, R-Rogers, said she still hopes the proposed legislation will empower the legislature.

“I serve with a lot of great people and they represent their area and a lot of them feel like they need to listen to the people in their area and, if people call and ask to vote against part of that, then that’s what they’re going to do, “she said.

“I have a wonderful region and I think I have a lot of support there,” said Bledsoe.

On March 30, Hutchinson announced he was lifting the state’s mask mandate.

On April 22, the Senate voted 19-9 to send Garner’s bill that became Law 1002 to the governor, after the House voted 69-20 to approve Garner’s bill on April 20.

Rogers attorney Tom Mars announced Monday that he has filed a complaint with Pulaski County Circuit Court to prevent the application of Law 1002 and seek a ruling that the law is unconstitutional. The costume was not available online Monday night. The Little Rock School District has also threatened to sue for Bill 1002.

Citing the increase in hospitalizations linked to covid-19, Hutchinson on Thursday restored the public health emergency that he had allowed to expire at the end of May.

The State House and Senate are each scheduled to meet in Committee of the Whole at 10 a.m. today to consider the declaration of emergency as provided for in Bill 403, signed by Hutchinson in March.

If a concurrent resolution to end the public health emergency is introduced, lawmakers will consider the resolution. But no resolution had been presented late Monday afternoon, according to House and Senate officials. If a concurrent resolution to end the public health emergency is not introduced, Hickey has said he will declare that the statewide public health emergency will continue.

If a resolution ending the emergency is passed, Hutchinson could veto it and the legislature could consider overriding the veto.

The emergency will expire 60 days from Thursday, unless the emergency is lifted earlier or its renewal is approved by the Legislative Council.


During Monday afternoon’s meeting of the Senate and House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committees, State Representative Mary Bentley R-Perryville said she had heard that masking children increased their carbon dioxide levels and children weren’t sure how to wear them properly. , causing them to pick up dirt, urine and feces.

But state epidemiologist Dr Jennifer Dillaha told lawmakers CO2 molecules are much smaller than the covid virus and could easily pop out of the mask.

She said the virus is carried in droplets, which are much larger than the virus itself, and that’s how the mask catches them.

“The cloth mask should have a totally closed system to increase carbon monoxide levels,” Dillaha said. “Claims that it might do this make no medical sense to me.”

Senator Kim Hammer, R-Benton, asked Dillaha why the conversation wasn’t about vaccines more than masks, because he said most of the evidence pointed to the decline in coronavirus cases earlier this year being attributed to the vaccine.

Dillaha said both measures are necessary if the state is to see a drop in cases.

“Without vaccines and masks, we will not be able to suppress this virus to avoid overwhelming our hospital system,” she said.

Dillaha said the vaccines were 98% effective at first, but now medical officials are seeing a decrease of about 10% with breakthrough cases noted across the country due to the delta variant.

After being asked about the effectiveness of sheet masks, she said that all types of masks can be effective. She said the layers on fabric masks can achieve medical grade protection and that anything other than N95 masks protects more against the spread of particles by the wearer than inhaling particles.

“When [masks] are implemented, they decrease the transmission of covid-19, ”she said.

Dillaha said the original variant of covid-19 infected, on average, about two to three unvaccinated people.

She said a study from the UK indicates that the delta variant infects around eight people on average.

Dillaha said the best way to prevent transmission of the virus is a combination of things.

“The vaccines will reduce the risk of infections and transmission,” she said. “Masking practices, social distancing, and good hygiene as well. Other things that can be done are increase ventilation in an area and if they are sick stay home and do not infect them. other people.”


At the State Capitol on Monday morning, several dozen people attended a rally to oppose a bill that would allow school boards to decide whether to require masks in public schools.

Bronson Martin de Conway, representing US group Freedom Cruisers, urged lawmakers to “stand firm and not change” Law 1002.

Parents – not local school boards – should decide whether their children wear masks in public schools, Martin said.

Subsequently, Arkansas School Boards Association executive director Tony Prothro said the association did not have a position on the bill that would allow school boards to decide whether or not to require masks in public schools.

Like other Arkansans, school board members have different opinions on the requirement for masks in public schools, he said. He said their opinions depend in part on whether they live in urban or rural parts of the state.

If the legislature changes Bill 1002 to allow school boards to decide whether or not to require masks in public schools, school board members across the state want a data system, possibly from the health department. of Arkansas or Arkansas Children’s Hospital, to show the number of covid -19 cases in each district and at each school in addition to advice on a school closure threshold, Prothro said.

School board members across the state want to get students back to school because of the learning loss resulting from distance learning last school year, he said.

Arkansas Department of Health spokesperson Meg Mirivel said on Monday: “We are in internal talks about the possibility of restarting the educational report we produced on Mondays and Thursdays last school year. . ” This report shows cases among staff, faculty and students, she said.

The Arkansas Center for Health Improvement has started updating its report which shows community cases within school district boundaries, she said.

Mirivel said whether or not to close a school is a discussion between the Arkansas Department of Health, the Arkansas Department of Education and the district.

The Ministry of Health “does not set a precise threshold because every situation is different,” she said. “For example, if a school has cases primarily among teachers and staff, it may impact their ability to keep the school open, even if the number of cases is not high.”

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Upper house

France passes laws to fight terrorism, but critics call them excessive

PARIS – French lawmakers have passed two bills that the government says will strengthen its ability to fight terrorism and Islamist extremism following a series of attacks that have heightened the sense of insecurity before the presidential election next year.

Debate over the bills, passed Thursday and Friday, had been pushed out of the headlines by an outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but critics say they are restricting civil liberties and extending police powers to an worrying degree.

One of the new laws gives French security services more tools to track suspected terrorists and monitor them online; it was adopted Thursday evening by the National Assembly, lower house of Parliament, by 108 votes to 20.

The other, voted on Friday by the same chamber by 49 votes to 19, aims to combat extremist ideas at all levels of French society. Among a series of measures, it toughens home schooling conditions, toughens the rules for associations requesting state subsidies and gives authorities new powers to close places of worship deemed to be tolerant of hateful or violent ideas. .

Both measures had been pushed by President Emmanuel Macron and his government as necessary responses to a persistent threat posed by Islamist extremism against France’s ideals, in particular secularism, and its security.

“We are giving ourselves the means to fight against those who abuse religion to attack the values ​​of the Republic”, declared Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior. on Twitter.

Over the past year, people identified as Islamist extremists fatally stabbed a policeman, killed three people in a Nice basilica and beheaded a teacher near Paris who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad during a class discussion on freedom of expression. As recently as this week, the government Recount that the country’s authorities be on high alert after al-Qaeda released a video threatening France about the cartoons.

Right-wing opponents, where politicians scramble to run for next year’s election have made security a key issue, say the two laws do not go far enough. Human rights groups and left-wing critics say the measures are onerous and that Mr Macron’s government has turned to increasingly repressive policies.

Anne-Sophie Simpere, an Amnesty International activist, said the anti-terrorism law, like others before it, was too broad and vague, raising concerns that it was being poorly applied.

“Often one of the government’s arguments is that these restrictive measures have been used in a reasonable way,” she said. “But these tools are here to stay, regardless of which government is in power, and there is a lot of room for interpretation.”

The measure on Islamist extremism had been hotly debated in Parliament in recent months, especially in the Senate, the upper house dominated by the right.

There, lawmakers voted on a series of amendments that critics said were blatantly anti-Muslim or xenophobic but did not appear in the final version of the bill. These proposals included a headscarf ban for parents accompanying children on school trips.

the anti-terrorism law enshrines and expands measures that were first introduced on an experimental basis in a comprehensive counterterrorism bill of 2017. Among other things, it grants the security services the power to monitor and restrict the movements of people who have been imprisoned for terrorism for an extended period after their release. The law also allows security services to use computer algorithms that automatically process data from phones and web addresses to detect potential suspects.

the Islamist extremism law is vast, with a panoply of measures aimed at eradicating what the government considers to be sources of extremism in all corners of French society. Critics like Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the far-left France Unbowed party, say instead that the measures cover an “anti-Muslim” bias.

The law changes the rules governing home schooling by requiring parents to seek state authorization – previously, parents only had to officially declare their intentions – and restricting the reasons that would justify such authorization .

The education of children at home, which is not widespread in France, is seen by the government as a possible source of “separatism” which, according to it, undermines French values, for example by giving conservative Muslim families a way to keep their children away from public schools. .

The law also extends strict religious neutrality obligations beyond civil servants to anyone who is a private contractor in a public service, such as bus drivers. It makes associations requesting state subsidies sign a commitment to “respect the principles and values ​​of the Republic”. And, it prohibits health professionals from issuing “virginity certificates” before religious marriages.

An article in the new law, added after the beheading of the schoolteacher – whose murder came after videos criticizing him circulated widely on social media – criminalizes posting someone’s private information online. ‘there is a clear intention to endanger him.

The law also creates a new offense of “separatism”, with sentences of up to five years in prison and fines of up to 75,000 euros, or $ 88,000, for people who threaten or assault an elected official or an official. civil servant because they do not want to respect the rules governing French public services, for example if a person becomes violent in a public hospital because he refuses to be examined by a female doctor.

Some lawmakers have already warned that they will file a petition with the French Constitutional Council to verify that the new measures comply with the French Constitution, meaning some could be overturned. For example, key articles from another security law passed in April were hit the next month, forcing the government to introduce another bill.

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Stuck in court, preserves hope legislature will help | news / arlington

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

After failing in a Hail Mary legal challenge to force preservation of land surrounding Rouse’s razed estate on Wilson Boulevard, some activists are now considering taking their cases to the legislature.

On July 16, a Circuit Court judge bluntly dismissed a challenge to Arlington County Council’s actions related to the property, saying the plaintiff – Arlington Green Party leader John Reeder – did not lacked the legal capacity to challenge the decision in court.

Judge Louise DiMatteo hinted that the public’s appeal, if they were not satisfied with the county council’s decision, was at the polls and not at the courthouse.

In April, members of the county’s board of directors rejected a recommendation by the Historic Affairs and Sites of Interest Review Board (HALRB) that the property should be covered with a local historic designation. The vote only came after the county board members, willingly or not (and they indeed knew exactly what they were doing), gave the owner of the property enough time to secure demolition permit for the main house and outbuildings from the beginning of the 20th century.

The court’s decision was likely inevitable, as Virginia law grants landowners extremely strong rights and, in many cases, also gives local governments powerful powers to interpret and enforce their own rules and policies – like those that have sued unsuccessfully to prevent the name change of the school board from Washington-Lee High School can attest to this.

While Reeder was unhappy with DiMatteo’s decision, he directed most of his shots at the local government.

“Our county council bowed to the money and the developers,” he said in an email to those who supported the lawsuit. “County board members simply saw more development, more luxury homes, and more wealthy people moving in as their goal. They don’t care about our past history, culture, and unique history as a major area of ​​Civil War in the 1860s. They see no value in nearly 10 acres of open land with mature trees, shrubs and vegetation as a park open to all for recreation.

Reeder suggested that preservation advocates could continue to champion their cause, seeking to allow greater public input into preservation decisions, when the General Assembly meets in Richmond in 2022.

But the issue could turn into local political football before that, as independent county council candidate Audrey Clement appears to be making it the cornerstone of her long-term attempt to topple outgoing Democratic County Council member Takis Karantonis.

“If the public is unhappy with the cavalier manner in which [the] The county council got rid of much of its legacy of the civil war and the brutal way the Circuit Court extinguished its legal rights, and then it can elect new leaders, ”said Clement, making echo of the court decision, in an email to supporters. “I think Arlington needs public servants who honor rather than denigrate the rights of its citizens.”

(Independents Michael Cantwell and Adam Theo also challenge Karantonis in November. Republicans did not field a candidate in the race.)

In late January, HALRB determined that the 9-acre property met requirements for a historic district, sending the case to the planning commission and county council for decision. This HALRB recommendation came over strong objections from the owner – a trust representing the family of the late Randy Rouse – who wanted nothing to do with preservation.

The historic designation application was filed in the spring of 2020 by Tom Dickinson, who is active in the Arlington Historical Society and preservation circles.

The Historic District Ordinance allows for such third-party applications, but it had been three decades since the Arlington government had imposed a Historic District over an owner’s objections. And given the aggressive stance taken by the estate’s powerful legal team, the members of the board of directors and the county attorney seemed reluctant to provoke a legal battle they believed they would end up losing.

And so, critics argue, county council members have stuck in an effort to shirk responsibility for deciding one way or another.

These critics seem to be right.

County council members could have held a public hearing on the recommendation of the HALRB in early March, before the Rouse estate received demolition permits from the local government bureaucracy. But by the time the measure finally reached the county council platform in April, the buildings had been leveled and council members wrung their hands but said, in essence, that was it.

The Rouse parcel, which is likely to be sold for development, is located at the corner of Wilson Boulevard and North McKinley Road. This is what remains of 26 acres of land bought by sportsman Randy Rouse in the 1950s. Rouse owned it until his death at the age of 100 in 2017; his widow resided in the main house until recently.

While some use the name Rouse to refer to the property, Conservatives and the county government seem to prefer “Febrey-Lothrop,” which is reminiscent of the families who owned the land in the 19th century.

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Legislative assembly

Bust of former KKK chief removed from Tennessee Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The bust of a Confederate general and the first leaders of the Ku Klux Klan that had been prominent inside the Tennessee Capitol for decades – despite objections from black lawmakers and activists – has been removed from its pedestal on Friday.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s image has sparked protests since its installation in 1978 as advocates sought to praise his legacy while critics objected to honoring a historical figure who supported Southern secession. Over the years, some have suggested adding historical context next to the bust. Yet many others, including Republican Gov. Bill Lee, have successfully advocated moving it to the Tennessee State Museum, just north of the Capitol.

Workers prepare scaffolding in front of a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest at the State Capitol on July 22, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune before the Civil War as a Memphis slave trader and plantation owner. He was later a leader of the Klan as he terrorized black people, quashing reconstruction efforts and restoring white power in the South.

He was in charge during the Battle of Fort Pillow, where about 300 African-American soldiers were slaughtered by Forrest’s men after surrendering. The massacre sparked outrage in the North and was one of the most hotly contested incidents of the Civil War.

Busts of Union Navy Admiral David Farragut and US Navy Admiral Albert Gleaves were also moved to the museum on Friday, as part of a deal used to gain necessary votes on the panels keys that military leaders should not be displayed in the Capitol.

Forrest died in 1887, but he maintained a strong presence throughout Tennessee history. A state park and state vacation are named after him. There is a 25 foot statue of Forrest on a horse located along Interstate 65 firing a gun.

Most recently, the bodies of Forrest and his wife were moved from Memphis in June. Forrest, a former member of the Memphis city council, had been moved there and buried in 1904 under his statue.

Still, the bust on Capitol Hill remained particularly painful for Tennessee’s black legislative caucus, many of whom had made moving speeches about the need to go through a slave trader and a Confederate general as they went about their work every day.

“From the Fort Pillow massacre to wandering lynchings, from Jim Crow to the assassination of MLK, Jr., it is time for us as a people to heal the wounds of the past,” said Senator Raumesh Akbari, a black lawmaker. of Memphis who chairs the Democratic Senate caucus.

The Tennessee State Building Commission on Thursday voted 5-2 to remove the busts, the latest obstacle in a months-long process that legislative leaders had strongly opposed.

The GOP-controlled General Assembly has refused for years to push forward legislation calling for bust removal. In 2016, lawmakers changed state law to make it harder to remove statues or rename streets of controversial figures by requiring those changes to receive a two-thirds majority vote from the Tennessee Historical Commission. The amendment came just a year after former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam supported the removal of Forrest’s bust in 2015 after the murder of nine black worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina. Haslam again called for the withdrawal in 2017 after the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, but that year the proposal was rejected by a state panel.

However, the momentum changed when Lee shifted his stance and called for moving the Capitol bust in 2020 amid nationwide outcry over George Floyd’s death in Minnesota custody. Floyd’s death sparked a new push to remove Confederate symbols, including the bust of Forrest.

Lee’s position was markedly different from when he took office in 2018, arguing that “the Ku Klux Klan is part of our history that we are not proud of in Tennessee, and we need to remember that and make sure that we do not forget it. I would therefore not recommend removing ”the bust.

The bust of Forrest will be ready for public viewing at the State History Museum on Tuesday. It is not known what exactly details will be released about him.

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Puerto rico government

Burn victim’s military hospital’s $ 1.7 million medical bill canceled


A Puerto Rican man who suffered burns over most of his body in a gas explosion and was treated at a US military hospital in Texas, and then received a government bill for $ 1.7 million, had his medical debt canceled.

As “CBS This Morning” reported earlier this year, Alexis Hernandez, 25, a Puerto Rican resident who was studying medicine in Mexico, was billed for his treatment at a burn center located at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.

Anna Werner, CBS News consumer survey correspondent, told us the story of Hernandez, who has been waiting almost two years for someone to help with the massive bill. And now, after two members of Congress responded to our show, Hernandez has received good news: Military officials have waived the bill, courtesy of the Department of Justice.

“Now I know anything is possible,” Hernandez said.

Werner asked, “How do you feel now that this weight has been taken off your shoulders?” “

“I feel good because I have 1.7 million reasons to smile! ” he has answered.

A gas explosion in his apartment had left Hernandez with burns covering more than 70% of his body, and he was sent for specialist treatment at this burn center. He spent seven months there and underwent 19 surgeries.

And as he told us earlier this year, “It was really painful. I can’t express in words how painful it was.

With a $ 1.7 million bill hanging over his head, Hernandez potentially faced life-long debt and feared he would never be able to return to medical school. “I will not be able to pay it,” he said.

After Werner shared his story, Puerto Rico-born New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez wrote to the Treasury Department asking for the bill to be forgiven.

“It could happen to any other person, any other American,” she said.

Representative Joaquin Castro, who represents San Antonio, also contacted government officials. He said, “It’s a tragic story, and we’ve seen cases like this in Texas time and time again.”

Cases like Hernandez’s are the reason Castro launched legislation, which was passed last year, that allows military officials to waive medical bills for civilians unable to pay who have received “medical treatment.” ’emergency’.

“A lot of times people are oblivious and don’t make a decision as to which hospital to go to,” Castro said.

He said there was a good reason why the bills of civilian patients who cannot afford to pay should be waived: “This is a training hospital where members of our military train at the hospital. trauma treatment, ”Castro said. “And so there is an advantage for the United States government and the military to be able to see these patients. And yet it was really ignored when people were charged. “

Despite the change in law, “CBS This Morning” found that some people were still waiting for a waiver.

Ernest Faris, a 52-year-old welder from Fisher, Texas, suffered a broken neck in August 2018, after falling about 20 feet from a ladder. Emergency responders flew him to the trauma unit at Brooke Army Medical Center, where he stayed for a week.

“Just remember you are in real pain,” Faris said. “They put pins and screws in my neck. He broke it in two places, I believe. So, I am extremely lucky to still be alive.

An x-ray shows pins and screws used to repair Ernest Faris’ broken neck. Credit: Ernest Faris

Brooke Army’s bill? Over $ 114,000, which he had no insurance to cover. The best he said the government would do would be to offer a payment plan of $ 4,000 a month.

“It would have been impossible,” Faris said. “There wouldn’t have been a way, and I told her over the phone. I said, ‘Ma’am,’ I said, ‘I don’t even earn that much a month.’

So earlier this year the government started to garnish his salary, taking over $ 470 each month.

Faris said: “I have no control over it. They’re going to take any amount of money they want, and I have no control over it.

Faris said the government also seized his tax refund and that with interest and penalties the debt kept growing. It now stands at over $ 159,000. “It doesn’t make a hole, so I’ll probably never get paid,” he said. “I mean, you work your whole life so that you can retire someday. I’m just trying to get on with life the best that I can, but, you know, knowing it’s there, it’s pretty sickening.

Brooke Army Medical Center officials did not respond to our questions regarding Faris’ case, but said they were working “diligently to educate patients on the billing process” and were following “regulations and federal debt collection policies “.

A Treasury Department spokesperson told CBS News: “By law, when agencies, including the Department of Defense, initiate claims, the Office of the Tax Service is required to assist in the collection of claims. valid debts. The Bureau of the Fiscal Service works with federal agencies to ensure that those in debt are given proper advice and opportunities to challenge their debts as well as have the ability to repay their debts over time. Federal laws prevent the Bureau of the Fiscal Service from commenting on an individual’s case.

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Hong Kong legislature begins discussions on anti-doxxing privacy bill – jurist – news

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Legislative Council on Wednesday began discussions on the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Bill, which focuses on combating doxxing behavior. The controversial bill has drawn criticism from tech giants and activists for its implications for data privacy and free speech.

The Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Bill of 2021 aims to punish anyone who discloses an individual’s personal data without their consent with the intention of causing specified harm. The harms specified include harassment, threats, intimidation, bodily harm, psychological harm, causing the victim to be concerned about safety and others. The sentence includes fines of up to HK $ 1 million ($ 128,736) and five years in prison.

The bill also grants the Personal Data Protection Commissioner a wide range of powers. The Commissioner can request a warrant to enter and search premises and seize documents for investigation. The Commissioner can also access electronic devices without a warrant, as well as issue notices to remove content or block access to such content anywhere in the world.

Asia Internet Coalition, an advocacy group for tech giants Google, Twitter and Yahoo, among others, raised concerns with Ada Chung, the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, on the month last. The main concerns included ambiguity in the definition of acts of doxxing, the liability of intermediaries and exclusions in case of genuine disclosure.

Coalition members also warned the commissioner that they could stop offering their services in Hong Kong if authorities implemented the changes to the law.

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