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Trump denounces racism ahead of white supremacist rally anniversary

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US President Donald Trump denounced on Saturday “all types of racism” ahead of the anniversary of the white supremacist rally that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia, which resulted in the death of a woman and two police officers.

“The riots in Charlottesville a year ago resulted in senseless death and division. We must come together as a nation. I condemn all types of racism and acts of violence. Peace to ALL Americans!,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump’s message is in stark contrast with the controversial remarks he made nearly a year ago, when he blamed the violence in Charlottesville on both the neo-Nazi groups and the counter-protesters, adding that there were “fine people” among the white supremacists, Efe reported.

The Charlottesville protests, which became a symbol of racial tensions in the US, took place on August 12, when white supremacists marched in the city to denounce the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general who fought in the American Civil War.

During the rally, a young neo-Nazi rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 people.

In addition, two police officers died in a helicopter crash while they were monitoring the protests.

A student rally has been planned this weekend in Charlottesville to reclaim the campus square where the white supremacists marched last year wielding tiki torches.

However, most sights will be set on Washington, DC, where white nationalists are once again planning a “Unite the Right” rally, which last year ended in tragedy in Charlottesville.

The neo-Nazis are planning to protest in front of the White House, while a coalition of progressive groups has organized an “anti-racist” counter-protest nearby.

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Singapore court upholds gay sex ban

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Singapore, March 31 (IANS) A Singapore court has dismissed a bid to overturn a law that criminalises gay sex, dealing a blow to the city-states LGBT movement, a media report said.

The high court on Monday rejected appeals by three gay men who had argued the colonial-era law was unconstitutional, the BBC said in the report. The presiding judge said the law was “important in reflecting public sentiment and beliefs” in Singapore.

Under Section 377A, men found guilty of homosexual acts in public or private can be jailed for up to two years.

Speaking outside court, a lawyer for one of the complainants, M Ravi, said he was “very disappointed” by the ruling.

“It’s shocking to the conscience and it is so arbitrary,” the BBC quoted the lawyer as saying. The legal challenges were the latest attempts to repeal Section 377A, after an effort by a gay couple in 2014 was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Singapore’s authorities rarely enforce Section 377A, first introduced in 1938 by British colonial rulers. But the city-state’s leaders have refused to remove it, saying it reflects the conservative mores of the city state’s society, the BBC reported.

In Monday’s judgement, the court echoed that sentiment, saying non-enforcement of the law against consensual gay sex in private did not render it redundant.

The court concluded the law was constitutional because it did not violate articles regarding equality and freedom of speech.
Currently 70 countries criminalise same-sex relations.


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Bangladesh might extend shutdown of office

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New Delhi : Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday signalled that the shutdown of offices and workplaces due to the coronavirus pandemic may be extended to April 9.

Hasina made the remark while handing out instructions on the prevention of the novel coronavirus outbreak to field-level officers across Bangladesh via video-conference from her official residence here, reports bdnews24.

“We had declared a 10-day holiday. But it might be extended by a few more days,” Hasina said. Bangladesh announced the closure of all government and private offices and courts from March 26 to April 4 amid mounting fears.
However, the government said the shutdown would not affect emergency services such as hospitals and the fire service.

Public transport would also operate on a limited scale during the holidays, it added. On Monday, the government’s disease control agency has confirmed one more case of the coronavirus infection, taking the total number of infections to 49, bdnews24 reported. The overall death toll stood at five, the agency added.


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Japan to ban entry to people from 73 countries

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Tokyo, March 31 (IANS) Japan said Tuesday that it would ban people from more than a third of the world, including the US, from entering the country to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The US is among a list of 73 countries to which the Japanese government also discouraged travel amid the steep global increase in the number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, reports Efe news.

Japan raised its travel alert to Level 3 (out of a possible 4), over which it advised against travelling to certain territories under any circumstances.

The alert was extended on Tuesday to 49 countries, including the US, Canada, South Korea, China, Ecuador, the Dominican Republic, Chile, Panama, Brazil, Bolivia, the UK and Greece, from which Japan will prohibit the entry to travelers who aren’t Japanese, Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference.

Motegi did not specify when the entry veto would take effect.

In this way, Japan will increase to 73 the countries to which it urges not to travel – more than a third of the world – among which are Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Australia and Iran.

Citizens who have travelled to these countries in the last 14 days are all subject to entry restrictions.

Travel alerts to the rest of the world was maintained at alert Level 2 (which discourages non-essential or unurgent trips).

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement it would follow the evolution of the spread of COVID-19 and said it does not rule out implementing more border restrictions.

The Japanese government has so far reported 2,665 new coronavirus infections and 67 deaths in the country, including 712 cases and 11 deaths linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Japan has experienced an increase in cases detected both in the country and its airports, with more than 10 daily infections identified at the country’s airports for more than a week.

On Monday, 51 of the total 87 cases Japan detected were at airports.


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