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Melania, Ivanka forego wearing headscarves in Saudi Arabia

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Melania Trump

Washington, May 22 : First lady Melania Trump and the oldest child of President Donald Trump, Ivanka, on Sunday created controversy in the US when they refused to wear headscarves in Saudi Arabia.

Interestingly, Trump had criticised former first lady Michelle Obama for failing to wear the head covering when she visited the Arab nation in 2015, Efe reported.

Melania and Ivanka are accompanying Trump on his first international trip as president, arriving in Riyadh on Saturday, the first stop on a journey that will take him to Israel, The Vatican and to NATO and G7 summits in Brussels and Sicily, respectively.

The first lady and Ivanka on Saturday appeared at several official events in the Saudi capital with uncovered heads, although they did conform to the conservative kingdom’s accepted modesty norms by wearing sober outfits consisting of loose-fitting pantsuits with long-sleeved blouses in dark colours.

According to the Saudi kingdom’s strict dress code, Saudi women who go out in public must wear the “abaya,” a loose over-garment or robe, and many also hide their hair by wearing the “hijab,” or Islamic headscarf.

However, it is normal for foreign women visiting the Arab country as part of international delegations not to cover their heads.

For instance, British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not wear headscarves during their separate visits to Saudi Arabia earlier this year, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not cover her head on her several trips to the kingdom.

“Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies,” tweeted Trump on January 29, 2015, using a common social network abbreviation for the word “enough.”

On the other hand, some Republican politicians, including Senator Ted Cruz, at the time applauded Michelle Obama for her choice.

When asked about why Melania and Ivanka opted not to cover their heads in Saudi Arabia, the White House said that there was no requirement to wear such coverings, CNN reported.

On his first day in Riyadh, Trump was warmly welcomed and feted by the 81-year-old Saudi king, Salman bin Abdulaziz.

The US and Saudi Arabia on Saturday signed a series of accords in various areas valued at $380 billion over the next 10 years.

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US confirmed COVID-19 cases top 70,000, toll crosses 1,000

The state of New York has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, with 37,258 cases reported.

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New York, March 27 : The number of COVID-19 cases in the US topped 70,000 as of 1.45 p.m., US Eastern Time on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

The fresh figure reached 75,233 with 1,070 deaths, the CSSE said, Xinhua reported.

The state of New York has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, with 37,258 cases reported. New Jersey and California have reported 4,407 and 3,247 cases, respectively, according to the center.

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Indian-American Amrit Singh becomes first turban-wearing Deputy Constable in Harris County in US state of Texas

In 2015, Harris County made national headlines after sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal fought for and won the rights to wear his turban and beard on duty.

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Sikh Man

Houston, Jan 22 : Amrit Singh, an Indian-American law enforcement officer, has scripted history by becoming the first-ever turban-wearing Sikh to be sworn in as Deputy Constable in Harris County in the US state of Texas.

Singh, 21, will be the first in his profession to wear his articles of faith – a turban, beard, and uncut hair in the line of duty.

It was a historic day on Tuesday as Singh’s swearing-in coincided with the adoption of a new policy that allows law enforcement officers in nearly every single Harris County Constable’s Office to wear articles of their faith while in uniform. For Sikhs, that means being able to wear a turban and beard while on duty.

Singh always wanted to work as a peace officer. He spent years in law enforcement explorer programmes and five months in a police training academy.

“Growing up, I always wanted to be a deputy and my Sikh faith was also very important to me,” Singh said.

“Constable Alan Rosen was the first one to give me a callback. He opened this agency with open arms for me,” he said.

Speaking at Singh’s swearing-in ceremony, Precinct 1 Constable Rosen said the county’s eight constables supported accommodations for Sikhs to serve while adhering to their religion.

“As a man of the Jewish faith, I know how it feels to be religiously targeted and how important it is to teach inclusion, understanding and tolerance,” Rosen said, standing in front of representatives from the county’s other constable offices.

“To me, wearing a yarmulke or him wearing a turban really doesn’t impact the quality of work he’s going to do. It should have zero impact on public safety or what job we do. Are you going to care if the person showing up to your door to help save you has a turban or yarmulke? You’re not. You’re just happy they’re there to save you and keep you safe,” the officer said.

Singh will now go on to months of field training, after which he will be assigned to patrol within Precinct One.

In 2015, Harris County made national headlines after sheriff’s deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal fought for and won the rights to wear his turban and beard on duty.

At the time of the deputy’s murder last year, just a few dozen law enforcement agencies across the United States — and the US Army — had uniform policies with religious accommodations allowing Sikhs to serve in accordance with their faith.

“Legacy of Dhaliwal is not far removed, it clearly recognised and acknowledge his service and this is a gift that continues to give in his recognition and legacy,” said Bobby Singh, a Sikh community leader.

In 2009, Dhaliwal was the first Sikh to join the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and in 2015, he became the first Sikh law enforcement officer to be allowed to wear his articles of faith in uniform. He was shot and killed during a traffic stop last year.

“We honour his legacy by honouring his faith here today,” Rosen said.

In the months since Dhaliwal’s death, law enforcement agencies in California, Washington and in Texas have signalled willingness to change their policies, said Manpreet Singh of the Sikh Coalition, which advocates for religious accommodations for minority communities in public and private sectors.

“It makes me proud to be a Houstonian, and a Texan. I hope the rest of the nation follows Texas,” she said.

“I could just hope that I could be half as decent a cop as he ever was, and everything I do, I want people to know that I’m doing it following in his footsteps,” Deputy Singh said.

“He made our community proud,” said Suhel Singh, Deputy Singh’s father.

Singh’s parents were recognised at the ceremony. They told FOX 26 that they were proud to see their son pursue his passion even though it is a dangerous job.

“The way I look at it, maybe it will make me pray harder and be more praying for his protection from God,” said Singh’s mother Sukie Kaur.

Singh is now one of just two law enforcement officers in the county wearing a turban.

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Republican ‘disturbed’ over party’s stance in Trump impeachment

Murkowski also said there should be distance between the White House and the Senate over how the trial is conducted.

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Donald Trump

Washington, Dec 26 : Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski has said that she was “disturbed” by her party’s stance before President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, it was reported on Thursday.

The Alaska Senator’s comments come after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellpledged “total co-ordination” with the White House, the BBC said in a report.

Murkowski told Alaska’s KTUU news channel on Wednesday that she was uncomfortable with McConnell’s comments about “total co-ordination”.

“When I heard that I was disturbed,” she said.

Murkowski also said there should be distance between the White House and the Senate over how the trial is conducted.

“To me it means that we have to take that step back from being hand in glove with the defence,” the BBC quoted her as saying to KTUU channel.

She further said that the impeachment proceedings were “rushed”.

Murkowski, a moderate Republican, has criticised President Trump on a number of policy issues.

In October 2018, she opted not to vote to confirm Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, after sexual assault allegations.

On December 18, Trump was impeached by the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

He now faces a trial in the Republican-dominated Senate, whose members are supposed to remain impartial.

The trial could begin next month, after the holiday break.

However, Trump, the third President in US history to be impeached, was unlikely to be removed from office because of the Republican control of the Senate.

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