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US’ first Muslim female judge found dead

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Sheila-Abdus-Salaam
File photo

 New York, April 13: Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on New York States highest court and the first Muslim judge in the US, was found dead in the Hudson River, city authorities said.

Officers with the New York Police Department’s Harbour Unit on Wednesday afternoon responded to a report of a person floating by the shore near West 132nd Street in Upper Manhattan, The New York Times reported.

Judge Abdus-Salaam, 65, was taken to a pier on the Hudson River and was pronounced dead by paramedics.

The police were investigating how she ended up in the river, and it was not clear how long Judge Abdus-Salaam, who lived nearby in Harlem, had been missing.

There were no signs of trauma on her body, the police said. She was fully clothed.

A law enforcement official said investigators had found no signs of criminality. Her husband identified her body.

Since 2013, Judge Abdus-Salaam had been one of seven judges on the State Court of Appeals, reports The New York Times.

Before that, she served for about four years as an associate justice on the First Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, and for 15 years as a State Supreme Court justice in Manhattan.

She was previously a lawyer in the city’s Law Department.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement on Wednesday that Judge Abdus-Salaam was a pioneer with an “unshakable moral compass”.

“Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam was a trailblazing jurist whose life in public service was in pursuit of a more fair and more just New York for all.”

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Australian Dy PM resigns amid sexual harassment claim

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Barnaby Joyce

Canberra, Feb 23: Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced his resignation on Friday following an allegation of sexual harassment.

Joyce tweeted: “On Monday (February 26) morning I will step down as the Leader of @The_Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. I would like to thank everyone for offering their support to me, especially the people of New England,” reports Efe news.

Joyce’s move follows a complaint against him of sexual harassment by an unnamed woman, leading some MPs of his National Party to withdraw their support.

Nationals federal MP Andrew Gee said on Friday that “until I have clarification regarding some of the issues about Barnaby, I won’t be able to back him”, adding that “all bets are off”.

The most recent claim of sexual harassment follows a weeks-long scandal implicating Joyce in an affair with his former media adviser Vikki Campion, with whom Joyce is expecting a baby.

On Tuesday, Mia Davies, leader of the National Party in Western Australia, said in a statement that her wing of the party no longer supported Joyce as federal leader and urged him to “consider his position” in relation to the best interests of the party.

On February 15, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull publicly criticized Joyce’s actions and announced a ban on sexual relations between ministers and staffers.

Joyce began his political career when he was elected as a senator for Queensland in 2004, and went to become a minister of several portfolios before becoming leader of the conservative National Party in 2016 and Deputy Prime Minister in 2017.

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Maldives president did reject UN mediation for now: Guterres’ spokesman

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Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guteress, UN Secretary General (File Photo)

United Nations, Feb 23: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen did “convey that mediation was not wanted at this stage” when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to him last week, Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujrric has confirmed.

The conversation between the two leaders took place on February 16, Dujarric said.

The government of Yameen extended by 30 days on Wednesday the state of emergency that was declared on February 6 when Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, another judge and several politicians and activists were arrested.

“Obviously, we are all following the situation in Maldives with concern,” Dujarric said.

In an apparent response to a statement from the UN on Wednesday that Yameen had turned down the Secretary-General’s offer to mediate between him and the opposition, Maldives Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Mohamed Shainee tweeted on Thursday that the President had not rejected a UN role in “All Party Talks”.

Asked about Shainee’s claim, Dujarric reiterated that “the Secretary-General, in a conversation with the President, offered UN mediation, but the President conveyed that mediation was not wanted at this stage”.

“I can only speak for half of the phone call, and I can only speak for our half,” Dujarric added.

Asked about contacts with the opposition, which had written to Guterres asking for UN participation in talks with the government, Dujarric said: “I’m not aware that the Secretary-General has spoken to anyone in the opposition.”

In his tweet, Shainee claimed that Yameen had himself requested UN participation in talks and that the opposition was blocking the government’s attempts to have an initial engagement with them, which he said the UN required.

Earlier, the Joint Opposition led by former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party wrote to Guterres asking him to mediate between them and the government and to oversee any talks held.

The Maldives crisis began on February 1 when the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the terrorism conviction of former President Nasheed, as well as the convictions of eight other politicians on several charges.

After the arrest of the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and the other judge, the other three judges remaining on the Supreme Court overturned the court’s unanimous ruling ordering the release of the nine politicians.

Meanwhile, Maldives mission to the UN has set up a modest photo exhibition showing both the nature wonders of the archipelago as well as everyday scenes from the country.

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Suicide attack near US embassy in Montenegro

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US Embassy
Image: Reuters

Podgorcia, Feb 22: An unidentified man on Thursday threw a hand grenade near U.S. embassy compound in Montenegro before blowing himself up.

“In front of the USEmbassy MNE building in Podgorica, Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device. Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device,” the Montenegrin government tweeted, adding that the device was “most probably” a hand grenade.

As of now, no casualties or loss of property has been reported.

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