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12-18 February 2018 - 16-min

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8 12 - 18 February, 2018 A Neighbourhood News Bangladesh court sends former leader Khaleda Zia to prison Bangladesh court sentenced former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia on 8th February to five years in prison on corruption charges. The conviction means that Zia, the archrival of the current prime minister, could be barred from running in December national elections. Zia was taken to a Dhaka prison under heavy security. In a country riven by dynastic the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was looking for a way to weaken Zia politically. The opposition has accused the government of arresting hundreds of supporters ahead of the verdict. A few scattered protests broke out, with police firing tear gas at Zia supporters. Her party called for nationwide demonstrations to protest the verdict. Photo Credit : AP Photo NEW DELHI TIMES UN Official: Maldives State of Emergency Undermines Democracy U. N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein has condemned the state of emergency imposed by the president of the Maldives as an ‘allout assault on democracy’ and a violation of peoples’ rights. Zeid said the suspension of constitutional guarantees in the Maldives has created a dangerous concentration of power in the hands of President Abdulla Yameen. The Maldives president declared a state of emergency following an order by the country’s Supreme Court to release and retry nine political leaders and to reinstate 12 suspended opposition members of parliament. Chief of the Rule of Law and Equality in the High Commissioner’s Office Mona Rishmawi, told VOA that this is creating a So, it is a very worrying sign for a small country of islands like the Maldives and we are extremely concerned,” she said. Rishmawi said a state of emergency can be legally proclaimed if the life of the nation is threatened. She said the Maldives’ case does not meet that standard and is in violation of international law. She notes the decree also suspends fundamental protections against arbitrary detention. That, she says, makes detainees very vulnerable because they will have no right to appeal a conviction and sentence in a criminal or civil matter. Soon after the state of emergency was declared, former Maldives president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was arrested on charges of politics, security forces fearing clashes had poured into the streets ahead of the verdict, along with supporters of both major political parties. Defense lawyer Mahbubuddin Khokan said Zia ordered him to appeal. “This is unbelievable,” he said. “I am confident she will come out of jail.” Zia was convicted of embezzling some $250,000 in donations meant for an orphanage trust established when she first became prime minister in 1991. Judge Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, who announced the verdict in a courtroom in Dhaka’s Old City, also sentenced Zia’s son Tarique Rahman and four others to 10 years in prison for involvement in the case. All can appeal their convictions. Bangladesh law says anyone imprisoned for more than two years cannot run for office for the next five years, but Law Minister Anisul Huq said the final decision rests with the courts. “It’s up to the appeals court to decide whether she will be eligible to run,” he said after the verdict. Ruhul Kabir Rizvi, a close Zia aide, rejected the verdict, saying N UN: Nepal Must Punish Recruiters Who Exploit Migrant Workers epal must punish recruitment agencies that charge migrant workers illegally high fees to find jobs abroad, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation, the United Nations said on 5th February. Remittances sent home by about 4 million Nepalis, mainly working in construction or as domestic servants in the Middle East, Malaysia and South Korea, make up nearly 30 percent of the Himalayan nation’s gross domestic product, state officials say. Rights groups such as Amnesty International say poor migrants become trapped in a cycle of debt and exploitation as they have to borrow large sums of money at high interest rates to pay recruitment agencies who arrange jobs for them overseas. Once abroad, migrant workers often have their passports confiscated and find themselves trapped in forced labor - having to work for years to clear their debts - activists say. The Nepali Zia faced a maximum sentence of life in prison, but the judge said he took into consideration the 72-year-old’s health and her “social status,” an apparent reference to her time as prime minister. Zia faces more than 30 other charges, ranging from corruption to sedition. Rahman, her son and heir-apparent, lives in London. He was tried in absentia, along with two other people. Bangladesh politics are deeply fractious, with rivals Hasina and Zia ruling the country alternately since 1991, when democracy was restored. Both women emerged from political dynasties. Zia is the widow of Ziaur Rahman, a general-turned-president who was assassinated in 1981. Hasina is the daughter of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s first president who was assassinated in 1975. In the last election in 2014, Zia’s party and its political allies boycotted the race, allowing Hasina to return to power with a landslide victory. Credit : Associated Press (AP) government allows private recruitment agencies to charge migrant workers a fee of $100 to process their papers, but a top U.N. official said the costs can be as high as $1,750. The government should “revoke the licenses of recruitment agencies that charge fees to migrants ... or have abused their human or labor rights,” said Felipe Gonzalez Morales, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. “Licenses should be subject to regular renewal with compliance with human rights obligations,” he told a press conference in Kathmandu after a week-long visit to Nepal to meet state officials, rights groups, migrants and their families. Nepal should sign legally binding bilateral agreements with destination countries to protect its overseas workers, who often do not receive or cannot understand their contracts, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, very unfortunate situation for the country. “You have to remember that this year is a year of elections — 2018 is a year of elections. So, if the political leaders cannot freely run for elections, how can the elections take place in a free and fair manner. Morales added. Yet Nepali authorities say recruitment agencies are being monitored, and that those charging illegal fees are punished. Foreign Employment Department Director Mohan Adhikari said such penalties ranged from fines of $1,000 to revoking licenses. “We are making all efforts to protect migrant workers and to ensure that they are not exploited,” Adhikari told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone. Nepal is working with India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to better protect the rights of overseas migrant workers, he added. Wedged between China and India, Nepal is one of the poorest nations in South Asia and is recovering from a 2015 earthquake that killed 9,000 people and destroyed about one million homes. Credit : Voice of America (VOA) trying to overthrow the government. Two Supreme Court judges, including the chief justice who had ordered the release of political prisoners, also have been detained. Credit : Voice of America (VOA) Gunmen kill Chinese shipping employee in Pakistan G unmen opened fire on two Chinese nationals in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi on 5th February, killing one and wounding the other, police said. Senior police officer Azad Khan said the two employees of a shipping firm were targeted in an upscale neighborhood while out shopping for groceries. The perpetrators fired nine shots before fleeing in a car, Khan said. He said one victim was shot twice in the head and died at a hospital while the other was shot in the leg. It was not clear what motivated the attack. China has invested heavily in transport projects in Pakistan as the two countries have strengthened ties in recent years. Credit : Associated Press (AP) India’s only International Newspaper

12 - 18 February, 2018 9 Canada News Toronto police: remains of 6 found in serial killer probe P olice in Toronto have recovered the remains of at least six people from planters on a property connected to alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur, officials said. Detective Sgt. Hank Idsinga said the remains, found on property McArthur used as storage in exchange for doing the landscaping, included some from one of the five men McArthur is already charged with killing, Andrew Kinsman. McArthur was arrested Jan. 18 and charged with two counts of murder in connection with the disappearances of Kinsman and Selim Esen, two men last seen in the “Gay Village” district of Toronto. Not long after that, he was charged with the murders of three more men and police said they were on a wide search for other possible victims. Police expect to file more charges. Investigators are still working to determine who the other alleged victims are from the property. They haven’t determined yet if they are the same men or other people. “It’s getting bigger and we are getting more resources,” Idsinga said of the investigation. Authorities have checked at least 30 other places where the landscaper was known to have worked, including some of Toronto’s wealthiest neighborhoods. Police have said they expect to find more remains in the planters they’ve retrieved from around the city. Idsinga said they have about 15 planters now, but he declined to say where they are in examining them. Investigators are also starting to excavate part of the lawn at the home where the new remains were found. Police have set up a large tent and heaters on the property to C India’s only International Newspaper keep the ground from freezing and a forensic anthropologist arrived at the property on 8th February. The two-story home sits across Photo Credit : AP Photo from a park and next to small apartment buildings in an upscale neighborhood. Idsinga said investigators finished searching inside the house and the garage and said the occupants of the home are free to return, but can’t go into the backyard. Idsinga said police have thought about excavating a second property elsewhere, but said it might depend on what they find in that backyard. Investigators have not yet released complete details, but the 66-year-old McArthur is believed to have met his victims cruising around the city in the van he used for work and on gay dating apps for older and large men with names such as “SilverDaddies” and “Bear411.” In his SilverDaddies profile, McArthur described himself as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 221 pounds and primarily interested in younger men. “I can be a bit shy until I get to know you, but am a romantic at heart,” he wrote. On his Facebook page, he posted pictures of his cats, children and grandchildren and of himself dressed as Santa Claus. “There is an extensive digital investigation going on,” Idsinga said. “We’re going through computers. We’re going through cell phones. We’re going through online applications and different apps.” Edward Royle, a lawyer for McArthur, has declined comment on the case. McArthur is due back in court on Feb. 14. He has yet to enter a plea. McArthur’s son Todd, meanwhile, appeared in an Oshawa, Ontario court on unrelated charges in a different case involving making indecent phone calls and criminal harassment. “We’ve been through enough. We’re also victims,” Todd McArthur told the Toronto Star outside court when asked about his father. “We’ve been through too much. It’s been hell. No more comment.” The other three known victims are 58-yearold Majeed Kayhan, who went missing in 2012, Soroush Marmudi, 50, who went missing in 2015 and Dean Lisowick, who went missing between May 2016 and July 2017. Police said Lisowick, who was in his mid- 40s, was homeless, stayed in public shelters and had not been reported missing. Kinsman, 49, went missing last June and Esen, 44, was reported missing last April. Police will eventually look at hundreds of missing person cases and try to determine if they were victims of McArthur. They are also running down tips that have come in from around the world. “We are dealing with some agencies overseas,” Idsinga said. Credit : Associated Press (AP) NEW DELHI TIMES Trudeau pitches Canadian globalism to California tech firms anadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pitched Canadian globalism and the country’s new fast-track visa as reasons why Silicon Valley companies should consider Canada as a place to do business and spend money. Trudeau brought his charm offensive to the San Francisco Bay Area amid increasing unease over U.S. immigration policy and while talks continue over the North American Free Trade Agreement. The heated debate over immigration since the election of President Donald Trump has provided a clear opening for Canada to promote itself to Silicon Valley. As American employers worry about access to foreign workers, Canada is offering a twoweek, fast-track employment permit for certain workers, dubbed the “global skills strategy visa.” Government-sponsored billboards in Silicon Valley pitch: “H1-B Problems? Pivot to Canada.” Recruiters from cities in Canada attend Canadian university alumni events in the valley, urging graduates to come home “to your next career move in the Great White North.” Trudeau demurred when asked whether Trump’s immigration efforts are making the sales pitch easier, pointing to the power of globalism. “We know that bringing in great talent from around the world is an enormous benefit, not just to the companies that want to do that, but to Canadian jobs and to our country as a whole, so we’re going to continue to do that,” he said. His stops were designed to showcase recruiting successes. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced the online business software company will invest another $2 billion in its Canadian operations. And San Francisco-based AppDirect, an online management platform whose co- CEO first met Trudeau in political science class at McGill University in Montreal, said it would add another 300 jobs in Canada in the next five years. Trudeau is also meeting with Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos as Bezos considers the location for its second headquarters. Toronto, which has created a government-sponsored innovation hub for tech companies, was the only one of several Canadian cities that applied to make the shortlist. The San Francisco Bay Area has become increasingly important to the Canadian government, said Rana Sarkar, the consul general of Canada in San Francisco. He said it fits with the “innovation strategy” the Trudeau government has promoted since its election in 2015. “It’s the global epicenter for many of these revolutions. We need to be here both offensively to ensure that we’re telling our story. ... And we’re also here defensively to ensure that we’re here at the table when the decisions about the next economy are made,” Sarkar said. Trudeau’s stop in San Francisco also highlights the already strong ties between Canada and California, particularly in research, academia and technology. While much of the attention on the North American Free Trade Agreement has focused on physical commodities such as vehicle manufacturing, dairy and timber, skilled workers have also become increasingly mobile between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Google built its latest DeepMind artificial intelligence facility at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, after several of its graduates came to work on the project. The next round of talks over the 24-yearold trade pact in Mexico later this month loomed over Trudeau’s visit. Trump has called the agreement a job-killing “disaster” on the campaign trail and has threatened to withdraw from it if he can’t get what he wants. The lengthy talks have increased the political pressure and the rhetoric in Canada, where the stakes are high. Trudeau declined to talk about specifics but said Canada wants an agreement that is “win-win-win” for all three countries. “We’re going to continue to make an Alberta stops importing B.C. wine over pipeline dispute C anada’s oil-rich province of Alberta is banning wine imports from neighboring British Columbia over a dispute about a proposed pipeline. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced that the province is banning wine from British Columbia wineries effective immediately. Last week, British Columbia’s government announced it is looking at rules to limit any increase in imports of petroleum from Alberta’s oil sands until an independent panel can better analyze whether the system is safe and if it can adequately deal with a spill disaster. The rules could kill the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that would move oil from Alberta to the Pacific coast. The wine ban is the second trade retaliation that Notley has announced. Last week, she suspended talks to buy electricity from British Columbia. Credit : Associated Press (AP) argument that it’s not enough to just trade, we have to ensure that the benefits of trade are properly and fairly shared,” he said. There are hundreds, maybe thousands — no one can say for sure — of Canadians in the tech industry in Northern California, many of them on visas made possible through the trade pact. Without NAFTA, “those (jobs) go away. That could cause immediate disruption for the tech community” on both sides of the border, said Daniel Ujczo, an international trade lawyer based in Columbus, Ohio, who has been part of the talks, now in their sixth round. “It’s unfortunately not an area that is up for discussion. Canada and Mexico keep raising worker mobility issues, but the U.S. won’t discuss it,” he said. Trudeau met with Gov. Jerry Brown and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, both Democrats, before travelling to to Southern California to deliver a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. The location is a symbolic choice, referring to the longstanding trade relationship between the U.S. and Canada. In 1988, Reagan and then-Prime Minister Brian Mulroney signed the first free trade agreement — a precursor to NAFTA. Credit : Associated Press (AP)

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