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Israel adopts contentious ‘Jewish nation state’ law

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem, July 19 : Israel’s parliament on Thursday passed into law a controversial bill that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people – leading to accusations that it discriminates against Arabs.

The “Jewish nation state” bill downgrades Arabic as an official language and says advancing Jewish settlement is a national interest. It also states that the “whole and united” Jerusalem is its capital.

 Sixty-two MPs voted for the bill, with 55 against in a stormy session of Knesset that lasted more than eight hours while Israeli Arab MPs condemned the legislation and ripped up papers after the vote.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the Jewish Nation-State Bill by terming it as a “defining moment in the annals of Zionism”  after the state marked the 70th anniversary of its birth.

Netanyahu said the bill was about defending the Jewish character of the state, which was established in 1948 as a homeland for the Jewish people, “for generations to come”.

“We will keep ensuring civil rights in Israel’s democracy but the majority also has rights and the majority decides,” he said.

The bill, backed by the country’s right-wing government, says that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”.

Israeli Arabs make up about 20 per cent of the Israel’s population of about nine million people.They have equal rights under the law, but have long complained of being treated as second class citizens and say they face discrimination and worse provision of services such as education, health and housing.

Arab MP Ahmed Tibi said the bill’s passing represented the “death of democracy”.

Adalah, an Arab rights NGO, said the law was an attempt to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.

 

World

4 new Covid-19 cases reported in NZ

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Africa Coronavirus Case

Wellington, Sep 20 (IANS) New Zealand reported four new coronavirus cases on Sunday, taking the nationwide tally to 1,464, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Of the four new cases, two were community cases and two were at managed isolation facilities, Xinhua news agency reported citing the Ministry statement.

The current number of active cases in New Zealand has reduced to 71, including three patients in Auckland hospitals.

Laboratories across New Zealand have conducted 5,417 tests, increasing the total number till date to 910,853, according to the Ministry.

New Zealand is now at COVID-19 Alert Level 2 with additional restrictions on gatherings for its biggest city Auckland.

–IANS

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Trump wants replacement of Ginsburg without delay

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Donald Trump

Washington, Sep 20 : US President Donald Trump has said he wants a new Supreme Court judge to be sworn in “without delay”, following the death of the long serving liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

Ginsburg, 87, died on Friday, just six weeks before the presidential election.

Trump’s Democrat rival, Joe Biden, insists the decision on her replacement must wait until after the vote. The ideological balance of the nine-member court is crucial to its rulings on the most important issues in US law.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices. We have this obligation, without delay!,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Saturday, the BBC reported.

In 2016, Senate Republicans blocked Democratic President Barack Obama’s pick for the US top court. At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell justified the move on grounds that it was an election year.

But on Friday, Senator McConnell said he intended to act on any nomination Trump made.

Ginsburg, a liberal icon and feminist standard-bearer, died of metastatic pancreatic cancer at her home in Washington DC, surrounded by her family. She was only the second-ever woman to sit on the US Supreme Court.

Supporters gathered outside the court on Friday night to pay tribute to the woman who had become affectionately known as “The Notorious RBG”.

The appointment of judges in the US is a political question which means the president gets to choose who is put forward. The Senate then votes to confirm – or reject – the choice.

Ginsburg, who served for 27 years, was one of only four liberals on the nine-seat bench. Her death means that, should the Republicans get the vote through, the balance of power would shift decisively towards the conservatives.

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450 jobless Indian workers forced to begin Saudi, shifted to detention centres

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of the economy of many countries has worsened. The effect can be seen in Saudi Arabia as well. As there are no jobs 450 Indian workers have no other choice but to beg for survival.

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jobless Indian workers in Saudi

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the situation of the economy of many countries has worsened. The effect can be seen in Saudi Arabia as well. As there are no jobs 450 Indian workers have no other choice but to beg for survival.

The workers are mainly from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Delhi, Rajasthan and Karnataka. The work permits of these workers have now expired and thus they have to beg as their situation is worse.

These workers are now being shifted to detention centres. Videos have gone viral where the workers are being taken to the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah. Among the workers 39 belong to the state of Uttar Pradesh, 10 belong to Bihar, 5 are from Telangana and four each from the state of J and K, Maharashtra and Karnataka.

Workers said that they have not committed any crime but had to beg as they had lost their jobs and were helpless.

Social worker and MBT leader Amjed Khan told TOI that the workers with an expired work permit were taken to detention centres .

A total of 2.4 lakh Indians were reported to return to the country but only 40,000 have made it so far.

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