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US judge blocks Trump’s new asylum restrictions



Donald Trump Trade War

Washington, July 25 A federal judge in the US has temporarily blocked asylum restrictions passed last week by President Donald Trump seeking to keep most Central American applicants out of the country.

The San Francisco court’s injunction on Wednesday overruled an earlier decision by a lower court on the same day that validated Trump’s measure, in what happened to be a short-lived victory for the American leader.

With this new ruling, US District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California compelled the US government to continue to accept asylum requests from all applicants arriving at the border, according to Efe news.

The measure promoted by Trump last week restricted the possibility of seeking asylum at the US’ southern border for immigrants who had passed through other countries, where they would now be required to apply for refuge.

As most asylum-seekers are from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, they generally pass through Guatemala and Mexico on their way to the US.

The move virtually ended the possibility for these migrants to apply for asylum in the US.

Tigar said that the rule was “inconsistent with the existing asylum laws” passed by Congress.

During the hearing, Tigar said the government had provided no evidence that the asylum systems of Mexico and Guatemala could take care of tens of thousands of new Central American applicants.

Tigar found that the government’s own evidence “affirmatively demonstrates that asylum claimants removed to Mexico are likely to be (1) exposed to violence and abuse from third parties and government officials; (2) denied their rights under Mexican and international law, and (3) wrongly returned to countries from which they fled persecution”.

Since assuming office in January 2017, Trump made limiting asylum rights one of his political goals as he claims that immigrants take advantage of the existing system to enter and work in the US.

In fact, in recent months, the southern US border has witnessed an increase in the arrival of Central American asylum-seekers in family units.

The month of May saw the greatest influx since 2006, with more than 132,000 people arrested after crossing the border illegally.

Trump has tried several measures to discourage this type of immigration, such as separating parents from their underage children after crossing the border or returning asylum-seekers to Mexico while their cases were being decided.


Pakistan’s economy shows positive indicators: PM’s Office




Imran Khan Pakistan PM

Islamabad, Feb 28 : Pakistan’s economic indicators are seeing a constant improvement due to efforts made by the current government to overcome the serious economic challenges, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Friday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, chairing a meeting of his economic team, expressed satisfaction over the improvement in all sectors, adding that his government is making efforts to bring a trickle-down effect of the improving economy on general public and in this regard steps are being taken to provide relief to low income and salaried class of the country, Xinhua reported.

He also directed the economic team to keep the public updated about the positive indicators of the economy in a bid to win the confidence of the local businessman to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, the prime minister approved subsidy of Pakistani Rs 10 billion ($65 million) on five essential food items for controlling rampant inflation in the country.

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Iranian vice president tests positive for coronavirus



Tehran, Feb 28 Iran’s Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar has tested positive for the coronavirus, an official said on Thursday.

Ebtekar’s adviser Fariba Ibtihaj said the vice president tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, Iran’s official IRNA news agency  reported.

“Everyone in the vice president’s team was also tested and the results will be available on Saturday,” she said.

Ebtekar is not the first high-ranking Iranian official to contract the virus.

Ebtekar, joins the deputy health minister, the head of the national security commission and a reformist MP who have been infected with the virus, reports Efe news.

She tested positive on Thursday after showing symptoms the previous day during a cabinet meeting, according to state TV.

The politician is one of the most recognizable in the Islamic Republic and previously held the position of environment minister.

Iran has reported 26 deaths from the deadly disease and 245 cases total with a dramatic surge of 106 new infections registered on Thursday, the Health Ministry said.

Tehran authorities have decided to close down schools and universities in the country to curb the spread of the disease.

Friday prayers in the capital have also been cancelled.

Amid the spread of the virus, neighbouring countries have closed their land borders with Iran and most airlines have suspended their flights or imposed restrictions on air travel to the country.

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COVID-19 cases in South Korea reach 2,022, 13 deaths




Seoul, Feb 28 The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea increased to 2,022 on Friday, with a total of 13 fatalities as the nation aggressively counters the fast-spreading virus with massive testing, particularly for 210,000 followers of a religious sect at the centre of the epidemic.

The 256 new cases brought the nation’s total infections to 2,022, the Yonhap News Agency quoted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) as saying.

Only two days ago, the number of infections exceeded 1,000.

More than half of newly confirmed cases were linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southeastern city of Daegu, 300 km southeast of Seoul.

Of the 256 new cases, 182 are in Daegu, and 49 are in the neighbouring North Gyeongsang Province.

Since raising the virus alert level to “red”, the highest level, on Sunday, health authorities have focused on halting the spread of the virus in Daegu, the epicentre of the virus outbreak in South Korea, and North Gyeongsang.

Experts said the number of confirmed cases is expected to jump in the coming days as health authorities have begun testing more than 210,000 members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

The government also ordered another 1,638 Shincheonji followers to self-isolate as they have shown symptoms, Yonhap News Agency said in its report.

Since the first coronavirus case — a Chinese woman from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak — on January 20, the pace of infections had not been alarming until February 18, when a 61-year-old woman who is tied to the Daegu religious sect tested positive for the virus.

Since then, the nation has seen an explosion in infections as it accelerated virus tests on potential cases.

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