Quebec passes controversial face veil ban

Quebec's face veil ban is the fist of its kind in North America [File: Shakil Adil/AP Photo]

Montreal, Canada – Quebec has passed a contentious law that would make it illegal for Muslim women, and other individuals, who cover their faces to receive public services, including riding public buses.

Members of the provincial legislature voted 65-51 in favour of the legislation on religious neutrality, known as Bill 62, on Wednesday morning.

The law forces citizens to uncover their faces in order to receive or give public services in the French-speaking province.

It applies to provincial and municipal employees – including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers – and public transit workers.

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Israelis shut down Palestinian TV stations, then build another Jewish-only complex on their land. Badness.

Israel’s army raided TV channels and media outlets across the occupied West Bank overnight Tuesday, confiscating equipment, forcing broadcasters off the air and arresting two Palestinians. In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces accused the media outlets of inciting terrorism. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate condemned the crackdown and promised to rally media workers outside U.N. offices in Ramallah.

The raids came as Israel approved plans to build 31 new housing units in a settlement in the Palestinian city of Hebron. It’s the latest move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to defy international law by expanding Jewish-only settlements. This is Hagit Ofran of the Israeli group Peace Now.

Hagit Ofran: “This plan is going to be in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron. It’s going to increase the number of settlers by 20 percent. This is a bad decision that Israel is now allowing to expand the settlement, which represents the most ugly face of Israel’s occupation.”

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Trump to Widow of Soldier Killed in Niger: “He Knew What He Signed Up For”

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In Florida, the widow of U.S. Army Sgt. La David Johnson, Myeshia Johnson, wept over the casket of her husband as his body arrived at Miami International Airport Tuesday ahead of a funeral planned for the weekend. Sgt. Johnson was one of four U.S. soldiers killed in an ambush during a patrol in Niger on October 4—a raid that President Trump did not publicly acknowledge until a reporter confronted him about it this week. On Tuesday, Florida Congressmember Frederica Wilson said Trump called Myeshia Johnson as she was accompanying her family to the airport in a car. The congressmember said she heard Trump say over a speakerphone, “He knew what he signed up for … but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”

Trump: VP Pence “Wants to Hang” All Gays!

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Back in the United States, the White House is denying an explosive article published in The New Yorker that reports President Trump joked that Vice President Mike Pence “wants to hang” gay people. According to reporter Jane Mayer, Trump made the comments in a private meeting with a legal scholar, saying of the vice president’s views on LGBT rights, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!” Trump also reportedly mocked Pence over his religious views and his anti-abortion activism. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the remarks never happened, but The New Yorker stands by its reporting, saying the report was meticulously researched and based on interviews with over 60 officials.

Pope Francis Warns U.S. over Withdrawal from Paris Climate Accord

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The extreme weather events came as Pope Francis warned of the dangers of climate change, taking a swipe at the Trump administration for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord. The pope was speaking at a United Nations event in Rome.

Pope Francis: “Thanks to scientific knowledge, we know how to confront these problems, and the international community has also worked out the legal methods, such as the Paris accord, which, sadly, some have abandoned. However, we are seeing negligence toward the delicate equilibriums of the ecosystems, the presumption of manipulating and controlling the limited resources of the planet for greed, for profit.”

Rep. John McCain Warns of Trump’s “Half-Baked, Spurious Nationalism”

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Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona condemned what he called “half-baked, spurious nationalism” Monday, in a clear reference to President Trump’s foreign policy. McCain made the comment during a speech at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.

Sen. John McCain: “To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain the last best hope of Earth, for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism, cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems.”

Drug Czar Nominee, Rep. Tom Marino, Led Effort to Undermine Opioid Abuse Fight.

President Trump declined to say Monday whether he’d continue to back his nominee for drug czar, Republican Congress member Tom Marino, after a Washington Post/”60 Minutes” investigation found Marino spearheaded a drug industry-backed effort to weaken federal government’s ability to crack down on the opioid epidemic. The legislation, backed by Rep. Marino and passed in 2016, made it nearly impossible for the Drug Enforcement Administration to intervene in cases where large, suspicious shipments of opioids are delivered to pharmacies bound for the black market. The Washington Post reports the drug industry lobbied heavily to win passage of the bill, contributing $1.5 million to its 23 congressional co-sponsors. Among them was Congress member Marino, who accepted nearly $100,000 in campaign cash from the industry. Drug overdose deaths—primarily from opioid abuse—surged in the U.S. last year to nearly 60,000, becoming the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

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