Volume 17 Issue 446- Dhul Qadah 11, 1438 AH August 4, 2017
   :: International News
::Republican legislation to overhaul
immigration system gets Trump’s backing

U.S. President Donald Trump joined with two Republican senators to unveil legislation that would place new limits on legal immigration. It would seek an immigration system based on merit and jobs skills instead of family connections. Trump appeared with senators David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas at the White House on Wednesday to discuss the bill. Trump said proposed legislation to limit legal immigration would be the most significant change to the system in half a century. This competitive application process will favor applicants who can speak English, financially support themselves and their families and demonstrate skills that will contribute to our economy,” Trump said. Trump said the new system would keep out people who will just end up collecting welfare, but provided no information to support his statement. Trump has made cracking down on illegal immigration a hallmark of his administration and has tried to slash federal grants for cities that refuse to comply with federal efforts to detain and deport those living in the country illegally. His involvement will put him at the centre of efforts to make changes to the legal immigration system. Previewing the event, White House officials said the bill would aim to create a skills-based immigration system to make the U.S. more competitive, raise wages and create jobs. The White House said that only one in 15 immigrants comes to the U.S. because of their skills, and the current system fails to place a priority on highly skilled immigrants. Perdue and Cotton introduced the legislation in February that would change the 1965 law to reduce the number of legal immigrants, limiting the number of people able to obtain green cards to join families already in the United States. The bill would also aim to slash the number of refugees in half and eliminate a program that provides visas to countries with low rates of immigration. Trump’s appearance was aimed at bringing attention to the bill, which has been largely ignored in the Senate, with no other lawmaker signing on as a co-sponsor. Republican leaders have showed no inclination to vote on immigration this year. Some immigrant advocates have criticized the proposal, saying that slashing legal immigration would hurt industries like agriculture and harm the economy. “Our system is broken, but the response should be to modernize it, not take a sledgehammer to it,” said Jeremy Robbins, executive director of New American Economy, a group of business leaders, mayors and others backed by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg that advocates for comprehensive immigration reform.
Source: CBC News

::Nawaz Sharif steps down as PM after SC’s disqualification verdict

The Supreme Court on Friday disqualified Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from holding public office in a landmark decision on the Panama Papers case.
Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, who had headed the apex court’s implementation bench following its April 20 order on the Panama Papers case, announced that the larger bench had unanimously deemed PM Sharif unfit for holding office and would also order an accountability court to open references against him and his family, and other respondents.
Shortly after the order, the PM House issued a notification saying that Nawaz Sharif, despite having “strong reservations” on the SC’s verdict, has stepped down from his post as the premier.
Reacting to the court’s order, a PML-N spokesperson said that the party will utilise all legal and constitutional means to contest the verdict. The judgement, announced shortly after 12pm, brings Sharif’s third term in power to an unceremonious end, roughly one year before the scheduled general elections which would have seen him become the first Pakistani prime minister to complete a full five-year term. It is unclear at the moment who will be appointed to take over the post till the next general elections, which are scheduled for 2018.
‘Disqualified for being dishonest’
“The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) shall issue a notification disqualifying Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif from being a member of the Parliament with immediate effect, after which he shall cease to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan,” Justice Khan told the packed courtroom Friday afternoon.
The judges ruled that Nawaz had been dishonest to the parliament and the courts in not disclosing his employment in the Dubai-based Capital FZE company in his 2013 nomination papers, and thus, could not be deemed fit for his office.
“It is hereby declared that having failed to disclose his un-withdrawn receivables constituting assets from Capital FZE Jebel Ali, UAE in his nomination papers filed for the General Elections held in 2013 in terms of Section 12(2)(f) of the Representation of the People Act, 1976 (ROPA), and having furnished a false declaration under solemn affirmation respondent No. 1 Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is not honest in terms of Section 99(f) of ROPA and Article 62(1)(f) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 and therefore he is disqualified to be a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament).”Source: Dawn


::Shahid Khaqan Abbasi sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan

PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was sworn in as prime minister of Pakistan in an oath-taking ceremony held at President House on Tuesday.President Mamnoon Hussain
administered the oath to Abbasi.
Abbasi was elected prime minister by lawmakers in the National Assembly earlier today, bagging 221 votes to become the successor to ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif. PPP’s Syed Naveed Qamar secured 47 votes, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid received 33 votes, and four MNAs voted for Jamaat-i-Islami’s Sahibzada Tariqullah during the ballot.
An NA session to elect a new prime minister had been called by President Mamnoon Hussain following a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the Panama Papers case on Friday, in which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as PM after being deemed unfit to hold office.Following the SC verdict, the PML-N had agreed upon Abbasi, the former petroleum minister, as its candidate for prime minister for the interim period till the ‘permanent’ replacement could be elected. Abbasi has to eventually give way to Shahbaz Sharif, who is likely to compete for the National Assembly seat lying vacant following the ouster of his elder brother and then stand for the chief executive’s office. Source: Dawn

::Saudi Arabia seeks to end US lawsuits over 9/11 attacks

Saudi Arabia has asked a US judge to dismiss 25 lawsuits filed against it in relation to its alleged support of the September 11, 2001 attacks, court documents filed late on Monday afternoon show. In a filing in US District Court in Manhattan, lawyers representing Saudi Arabia claim the plaintiffs - who represent thousands of victims who died and were injured in the attacks, as well as businesses and insurers - cannot prove the Gulf kingdom supported the al-Qaeda-affiliated men who hijacked and crashed planes into New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon outside Washington, and a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks. Saudi Arabia also claimed it deserves sovereign immunity. James Kreindler, a lawyer representing those killed in the September 11 attacks, told Reuters news agency the filing was “expected … We have tonnes of allegations of what many Saudis and the country’s alter ego charities did. Saudi Arabia cannot hide from the facts.” Saudi Arabia’s lawyers introduced several exhibits which they say support their claims. One such exhibit was an executive summary from the CIA dated to 2005, which says there was no evidence that Saudi Arabia supported the attackers. But doubt has long-centred over claims that Saudi Arabia wasn’t involved. It is known that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens, and several met Saudi nationals with ties to their government, such as Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi national who has connections to Saudi diplomats. A trove of declassified documents suggested evidence of collusion between the hijackers and Saudi Arabia described as “chilling” by investigators. Congress initiated an inquiry on November 27, 2002 into the attacks. A report totalling over 1,000 pages was published in 2004. There were 28 pages left out of the report on the orders of former President George W Bush, which became a source of controversy. These pages were finally made public in July 2016, though no definitive answers arose, and further possible ties between al-Qaedaand the Saudi embassy in the US were uncovered, as phone numbers saved in the phone of an al-Qaeda operative captured in Pakistan were linked to Saudi consulates in the US. Former Senator Bob Graham, the co-chair of Congress’s 9/11 Joint Inquiry and one of the voices alleging the Saudis and the hijackers were connected, told Politico he no longer called the US government’s actions a “cover-up”. That would be “a passive activity. What they’re doing now I call aggressive deception.” The 25 cases were previously in danger of being thrown out, due to a legal inability for US citizens to sue foreign governments for support of “extremists”. Then, in 2015, legislators introduced the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which made possible legal action against states that support “terrorists” who commit violent acts on US soil. Then-President Barack Obama attempted to veto the bill after months of Saudi threats and lobbying, but the US Congress overrode Obama’s veto in 2016. The override was widely praised as a step towards justice for the victims of the deadliest attack on US soil in history by much of the US public. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have until October 2 to file documents in opposition to the motion.Source: Al-Jazeera

::More Canadians living alone, with parents or without children: census

Couples without kids are outpacing their procreating counterparts, same-sex relationships are blossoming, multiple generations are living under the same roof and more people than ever are living alone, Statistics Canada revealed Wednesday as the 2016 census showcased more seismic changes in the way Canadians are living their lives. This segment of the census -- focused on families, households, marital status and language --often elicits references to old-school sitcoms like “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Brady Bunch” to illustrate the dramatic shifts in the Canadian family unit. These days, even the fractured family dynamics of “Full House” feel dated. Instead, Canada is skewing older, with fewer children and less affinity for marriage -- forcing legislators to adjust and adapt their policies and programs to fit a rapidly evolving reality. Canada’s 35.15 million people are getting older; there are now more seniors than children under the age of 14. Immigration contributed two-thirds of the country’s population growth between 2011 and 2016, and that diversity has also added complexity to the Canadian family portrait. “Those are really fundamental trends going on in the Canadian population right now, which has impacts on everything, and I would suspect that in the forthcoming (census) releases you’ll still hear about and you’ll still be able to make links to those two key demographic trends,” said Laurent Martel, director of the demography division at Statistics Canada. Of the 14.1 million households in Canada in 2016, 28.2 per cent comprised only a single person -- the highest proportion of single-person households ever recorded and the most common living arrangement captured in the 2016 count, a first for the country. Outside of the United States and the United Kingdom, the percentage of one-person homes in Canada is not especially high, but it does illustrate the legacy of an aging population, the members of which are living longer than ever and are more likely to be widowed. Higher rates of separation and divorce also mean more people living alone or as lone parents, as does an increasing number of women in the workforce, which fosters a greater sense of economic independence. Childless couples grew in number at a faster rate over the last five years than couples with at least one child, leaving the latter group at 51.1 per cent of the population, the lowest level ever recorded. The baby boomers who fuelled such population growth in the 20th century are empty nesters in the 21st. The census found younger Canadians who do have kids are living in places like Alberta, long a magnet for job-seeking families, or Nunavut, where fertility rates are high. More signs of changing times: single-parent families grew by 5.6 per cent between 2011 and 2016, with the growth of single dads outpacing their female counterparts seven per cent to five. And one in three Canadians aged 20-34 was living with at least one parent in 2016, an increase of five percentage points between 2001 and 2016. During that same period, the number of young people living with families of their own dwindled to 41.9 per cent, down from 49.1 per cent. And multigenerational households -- three generations or more under one roof -- grew the quickest over the five-year census window, representing some 2.2 million Canadians. Sometimes, it’s out of necessity, said Spinks. Other times, it’s choice. And a decade after census-takers first collected numbers on same-sex marriage, such couples now make up one per cent of all households, with their overall numbers having increased by 60.7 per cent since 2006. Opposite-sex couples grew by just 9.6 per cent during the same period. Today, about 12 per cent of all same-sex couples are living with children, be they biological offspring, adopted or members of a stepfamily. In raw numbers, there were 10,020 children aged 14 and under living with 8,770 same-sex couple parents on census day last year. “In the old days, if you were coming out, you wouldn’t have gay and lesbian parents all over the place showing that, yes, you can start a family, said Mona Greenbaun, executive director of the LGBT Family Coalition in Montreal. “Nowadays, all the young people...they all know that if they want to, at one point, they can start a family.”
Source: CTV News

::Supporting Violence: UK versus Libya
and now Four Arab States versus Qatar

Dr. Mohamed Elmasry
When the IRA imported sectarian violence from Northern Ireland into London, England to advance its political agenda, it was supported by Libya.
Then, UK and much of the international community treated Libya as a pariah aggressor, taking measures to stop its support of the IRA through sanctions, military strikes, and forcing the Libyan government to pay compensation to the victims of its illegal actions.
Let us move forward to the here-and-now.
Qatar – the world’s richest per-capita country – against all international law and norms has for years used its petrodollar wealth to support Arab-world groups that use violence to advance their political agendas of regime change.
Qatar’s toll of victims in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Yemen has now passed the one-million mark.
Additionally, some 10 million refugees and untold billions in economic and infrastructural damage have resulted from the terrorist acts it has supported in those countries.
Unlike the situation of Libya’s interference through the IRA, however, the 21st-century international community – especially the US – has turned a blind eye to Qatar’s crimes.
One reason given why Qatar has not been exposed as a threat to world peace and stability is that its government-sanctioned violence has not been directed against Israel.
Qatar has also routinely used its state-owned Al Jazeera Arabic broadcast organization (whose journalistic content, philosophy and style are very different to the English network of the same name) to propagate fatwa after fatwa from self-styled Islamist leaders.
Among other misinformed pronouncements, they decree that the killing of civilians (including women, children, the ill and the elderly), as well as members of the armed forces, is justified under Sharia Law; they even promise entry to paradise for those who commit these heinous crimes.
For decades, Qatar has financially supported and sheltered scores of these groups, as well as providing political sanction, asylum to their leaders, intelligence data, favorable media coverage and other protections, even though all were or are on Interpol’s global watch list. On June 5 of this year, four Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – finally decided in unison that enough is enough.
They cut all diplomatic and commercial ties with Qatar and publicly presented 13 demands that the Qatari government must fulfill in order to have its economic and diplomatic status restored.
It may be news to many, but these demands are not actually new at all.
In 2013 and 2014, a similar group of Gulf countries attempted an intervention, confronting Qatar over its blatant support of violent terrorist and insurrectionist groups in other Arab countries.
Qatar agreed and signed its compliance to conditions its neighbors presented. It then continued its former ways as if nothing had happened. Just days ago, on July 11, 2017 CNN revealed the full text of both agreements on which Qatar had defiantly reneged:
“Qatar made a series of secret agreements with its Gulf neighbors in 2013 and 2014 barring support for opposition and hostile groups in those nations, as well as in Egypt and Yemen.The existence of the agreements has been known, but both the content and the documents themselves were kept secret due to the sensitivity of the issues involved and the fact that they were agreed in private by heads of state. The Gulf countries have accused Qatar of not complying with the two agreements, which helps explain what sparked the worst diplomatic crisis in the Middle East in decades.”In an egregious example of flawed logic, Qatar is now claiming that the 13 demands of the 2017 ultimatum would “compromise its sovereignty,” while the 2013 and 2014 agreements that its government signed apparently did not.
The first such document, the handwritten Riyadh Agreement, dated November 23, 2013 was signed by the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of Qatar and the Emir of Kuwait. This agreement specifically mentioned withdrawing support from the Muslim Brotherhood. The second agreement, dated November 16, 2014 and labelled “top secret,” added signatures from the King of Bahrain, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Prime Minister of the UAE.
After the CNN story broke, the four Arab states involved in the latest confrontation issued a joint statement saying the earlier two failed documents “confirm beyond any doubt Qatar’s failure to meet its commitments and its full violation of its pledges.”
The statement continues: “The four states emphasize that the 13 demands submitted to the Qatari government were to fulfill their previous pledges and commitments and that the demands were originally stated in the Riyadh Agreement, its mechanism and the Supplementary Agreement and are fully in line with the spirit of what was agreed upon.”
With details now out in the open and the refusal of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt to back down and be ignored for a third time, the international community (including the US and Canada) needs to meet its collective responsibility of upholding international law. Now is the moment to take a firm stand against Qatar.
Courtesy by The Canadian Charger

::Political parties cannot be disqualified over a fake certificate, SC tells PML-N lawyer

During the hearing of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) foreign funding case on Tuesday, the chief justice of Pakistan said that there is no law that states that a political party can be disqualified on the basis of a fake certificate.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar, was hearing a petition submitted by PML-N’s Hanif Abbasi seeking the disqualification of PTI Chairman Imran Khan and PTI Secretary General Jahangir Tareen for the non-disclosure of assets, ownership of offshore companies, and for PTI being a foreign-aided party.
Chief Justice Nisar added that neither the Representation of People Act, nor the Political Parties Act mentions that a party must be disqualified for submitting a fake certificate. He was responding to arguments made by Abbasi’s lawyer, Akram Sheikh.
Sheikh accused PTI of receiving funds exceeding one million dollars from PTI USA, which is against USA’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). However, the chief justice maintained that American law is not applicable in Pakistan. Sheikh argued that since the PTI has not disclosed the name of its donors, the party must be disqualified under Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. “An MNA can be disqualified even for failing to declare his (or her) assets,” said Sheikh, bringing up the recent disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.
“It’s written in the law that a person will be disqualified for not declaring his assets,” remarked Chief Justice Nisar, adding that the judges would not comment any further on the Panamagate verdict.
Sheikh’s claim that PTI received “billions of dollars” as foreign forbidden funds prompted the judges to ask how anyone could determine which funds are illegal.
The lawyer’s argument that the PTI chairman’s charity projects were also funded by foreign sources was dismissed by the judges, who said “the law does not forbid receiving foreign funds for charity purposes.”
Source: Dawn




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