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US Justice Department to challenge court ruling against travel ban

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Washington, March 18, 2017: The US Justice Department on Friday filed a notice which would appeal a Maryland federal judge’s ruling that halted a key portion of President Donald Trump’s revised immigration order, media reports said.

The ruling in Maryland and another in Hawaii earlier this week claimed Trump’s temporary barring US entry to predominantly Muslim refugees violated the US Constitution, citing statements by Trump and his advisers suggesting the real purpose of the disputed immigration order was to discriminate against Muslims.

The Trump administration denied it is a Muslim ban, arguing the order aims to prevent terrorism by suspending visitors from terror-prone countries where visa vetting may not be effective, Xinhua news agency reported.

So far the US Justice Department didn’t move to appeal the Hawaii federal judge’s ruling on Wednesday, hours after which Trump slammed it as “an unprecedented judicial overreach”, pledging to take the legal fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

“We’re going to take our case as far as it needs to go, including all the way up to the Supreme Court,” Trump said, suggesting the ruling was made for “political reasons”.

Under President Trump’s order, a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. will be imposed on citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, while freezing refugee resettlement for four months.

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Red alert issued in Australian state for cyclone Kelvin

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Canberra, Feb 18: Authorities on Sunday issued a red alert in the state of Western Australia (WA) after tropical cyclone Kelvin made landfall earlier in the day, bringing with it winds of up to 250 kph.

In a warning, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services told residents of northern WA that they were “in danger and need to act immediately”, reports Xinhua news agency

“There is a possible threat to lives and homes as a cyclone is approaching the area,” it said.

Residents of the Pilbara and Kimberley regions were told to remain in the safest parts of their house, away from windows or stay in evacuation centres.

Further south, a yellow alert was put in place warning of winds up to 150 kph.

Heavy rainfall was also expected. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned of possibilities of heavy flooding.

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66 people killed in Iran plane crash

The plane crashed in a mountainous area near the town of Semirom.

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 A passenger plane crashed in central Iran on Sunday killing all 66 people on board, authorities said.

The ATR 72, a twin-engine turboprop operated by Aseman Airlines, crashed due to bad weather into the Dena Mountain near the town of Semirom, an official at the Iranian carrier confirmed to the media.

The plane was flying from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, reports Press TV.

Officials in Semirom said the crash site was hard to reach and rescue helicopters had been unable to land because of heavy fog and rain.

Spokesman for Iran’s emergency services Mojtaba Khaledi said rescue teams has reached the crash site by land and were trying to find the debris.

Air controllers lost contact with the airplane at around 8 a.m. The people on board were 60 passengers, two security guards, two flight attendants, the pilot and co-pilot.

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Egypt court jails 65 Morsi loyalists up to 10 years

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Cairo, Feb 18: An Egyptian court sentenced on Saturday 65 loyalists of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi up to 10 years in prison over inciting anti-state riots, protests and violence.

Zagazig Criminal Court sentenced 44 defendants to 10 years in jail and 21 to two years while acquitting eight of the said charges, Xinhua reported.

The convicts are mostly members and supporters of Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group which has been outlawed in Egypt as a terrorist organisation.

Morsi was ousted by the military in early July 2013 in response to mass protests against his one-year rule and his Brotherhood group.

His angry supporters attacked many security personnel and churches of the Coptic minority in several provinces, following a heavy crackdown on pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza in mid-August 2013 which left hundreds dead and thousands arrested.

Most Brotherhood leaders, members and supporters, including Morsi himself and the group’s chief Mohamed Badie, are being detained.

Many of them have been given appealable death sentences and lengthy jail terms over charges of inciting violence, murder, espionage and jailbreak.

Morsi is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence over inciting deadly clashes between his supporters and opponents in late 2012 and a 25-year jail term over leaking classified documents to Qatar.

Since Morsi’s removal, Egypt has been facing a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of policemen and soldiers before expanded to target hundreds of civilians, mostly at houses of worship.

Most of the terror attacks were carried out by the Wilayat Sinai, a Sinai-based group affiliated with the Islamic State regional terrorist group.

Meanwhile, security forces also killed hundreds of terrorists and arrested thousands of suspects during the country’s anti-terror war declared by President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief then, following Morsi’s ouster in 2013.

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