Quebec Face Covering Ban: A Discriminatory Bill

A Muslim woman riding the Montreal Métro. Image courtesy of Canadian Press and the CBC. On October 18th, 2017, the Quebec National Assembly voted in favor of Bill 62. The measure is a long document about the need for Quebec to assert what it calls “State religious neutrality.” However, critics and concerned citizens have keyed in on the bill’s call for a ban on the wearing of head coverings for a religious purpose. The ban includes mandatory ‘unveiling’ in various public places where people receive government service, like on the bus, in libraries and at public hospitals. The law is directly targeted at Muslim women in the province who wear the burqa or niqab, and harkens to the policy withi

Watchlist: Prime Minister Hariri Returns to Lebanon After Resigning Abroad

Week of November 20th Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, 22 April 2015 (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Africa In Response to Calls to Step Down, Mugabe Shows Defiance 93 year-old President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe was placed under house arrest by his own military on Tuesday. While some described the action as a military takeover, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said "We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes ... As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy." Business Insider among others have speculated that the military is acting to keep power away from Mugabe’s wife, Grace, who is 42 years younger than her hus

Australians Signal Desire for Marriage Equality, but Path to Legalization Could Prove Tricky

Same Sex Marriage Rally Melbourne, 29 November 2009 Logging on to Facebook yesterday, I came across a livestream video from my sister’s account. My sister, Victoria, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, was documenting the public reaction to the news that in a government survey conducted by mail-home ballots that more than 61% of Australians favor legalizing gay marriage. Nearly 80% of eligible Australians voted, which sent a clear signal to both liberal and conservative lawmakers that the supposed “silent majority” that opposed legalization is a mythical construct of conservative politicians that doesn’t hold up to the truth. However, the results don’t translate into legalization yet, as it i

Watchlist: Polish Independence Day Marchers Call For ‘White Europe’

Week of November 6th Celebration of 99th anniversary of recover the Independence of Poland on Wolności Square in Włocławek. Here - scouts with inscription on the background: "for You, Poland, solider's toil" on Monument of Polish Solider, 11 November 2017 (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Africa Unusually Deadly Madagascar Plague The ongoing deadly outbreak of pneumonic plague in Madagascar seems to finally have reached a turning point, after nearly 2,000 infections and 143 deaths. Plague is endemic to Madagascar, with cases generally occurring in the rainy season from September to April. This outbreak has been unusually deadly and widespread because the majority of cases have been the more lethal

25 Years On: The Baltics

A map of the Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Introduction The Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were occupied by the Soviet Union from the early 1940s to the early 1990s and resisted Russo-Soviet control to a greater extent than most of the other union republics. Under Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader, they played a major role in leading the movement of national independence from the Soviet Union, and they were the first Soviet republics to be recognized by the international community as independent. Less than fifteen years later, all three republics received full EU and NATO membership, having made considerable progres

The Watchlist: Houthi Missile Explodes Above Riyadh

Week of November 6th Riyadh North Skyline (King Abdullah Financial District), November, 2016. Source: Wikimedia Commons Africa Kenyan Nurses End Five-Month Strike, University Lecturer Strike Begins Nurses in Kenya’s public hospitals returned to work this week after a five-month-long strike that had paralyzed the country’s healthcare system. The strike began in response to the government’s refusal to honor a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the nurse’s union and the Kenyan Council of Governors. The government claimed that the pay increases outlined in the agreement were too expensive. the union ended the strike once substantial increases in uniform and risk allowances were appro

Raqqa in Ruins

A rebel fighter of the Kurdish Front during the Battle of Raqqa (2017). Source: Wikimedia Commons On October 17, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the liberation of the Syrian city of Raqqa. Formerly a hub of cultural and social diversity situated along the Euphrates River, Raqqa became the center of standoffs between government forces and civilian protestors demanding fundamental freedoms and rights more than seven years ago. The severe clampdown by state security and regime affiliates turned the uprising into a bloody conflict with both civil and regional elements. In 2013, Raqqa was seized from government control by rebel forces, only to be ousted by the terrorists of ISI

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