Mass Protests Erupt in India Against Anti-Muslim Citizenship Law + More News

by Debra Brown

India Citizenship Law

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


India Passes Law Granting Citizenship to Religious Minorities Except Muslims

India has passed a law that grants citizenship to religious minorities, except Muslims, from neighbouring countries, with legal experts saying it violates the country’s secular constitution. The major criticism of the law has been that it prevents Muslims from seeking citizenship, something similar to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban under which Muslims from few countries were banned from seeking asylum. 

The law, first introduced in Parliament in July 2016, amends the Citizenship Act 1955 by making religion a basis for citizenship. The previous law did not make religion an eligibility criterion to become a citizen.The new citizenship law allows Indian citizenship to “persecuted” minorities – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians – from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but makes no reference to Muslims. Opposition parties say the law is discriminatory as it singles out Muslims in an officially secular nation of 1.3 billion people. Muslims form nearly 15 percent of the population. 


McConnell Rejects Demand for Witnesses at Senate Impeachment Trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed the impeachment process against President Trump as a political proceeding rather than a judicial one. McConnell’s comments to reporters came after the majority leader rejected Democrats’ request to call witnesses for Trump’s Senate trial. Democrats had hoped to establish rules for evidence and witnesses well before a trial starts, possibly in January. McConnell said on the House floor that it was not the Senate’s job to build a case against the president.

Democrats want to call four administration officials, including former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, as witnesses. Democrats chose that list to establish additional information from individuals who have not yet testified in the House impeachment inquiry into Trump. If McConnell and Schumer do not come to an agreement, senators can still try to call witnesses once a trial has begun. Those requests would be subject to a simple majority vote. Some Republicans want Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, to be called as a witness.


H&M Launches Clothes Rental Programme For Shoppers in Sweden

H&M is trialling a new clothes rental initiative in its flagship Stockholm branch to combat the effects of fast fashion. The retailer has come under fire in recent years for contributing to climate change with its cheap, mass-made clothing. The alternative rental service will allow customers who subscribe to rent clothes for 30 days, after which point they must be returned or purchased. If successful after three months, the company will consider expanding the rental service internationally. The move follows a United Nations report that found fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world. Fast fashion in particular has been criticised for the exacerbation of unethical and unsustainable clothing production that also encourages consumers to dispose of clothing frequently. Urban Outfitters and Banana Republic both launched similar rental services earlier this year.


House Approves Spending Measures to Avert Government Shutdown

The House took the first step to avert a government shutdown, giving approval to legislation that would fund all federal agencies and programs through next fall days before federal funding is set to lapse. The House passed the measures less than 24 hours after lawmakers formally unveiled more than 2,000 pages of legislation, which cover the federal government for the current fiscal year. The Senate is expected to vote on both measures before the Friday deadline when funding expires.

The House approved one package that contained $632 billion for nondefense programs and a number of additions, including the repeal of three health care taxes and language raising the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 nationally. The measure also includes $25 million in funding for gun violence research, the first time in more than two decades that such funding will be allocated.

A second measure, billed as a national security package because it included allocations for both the military and the Department of Homeland Security, passed on a 280 to 138 margin.  Seventy-five Democrats voted against the measure, with some protesting what they said was an excessive $738 billion cost for the military and others objecting to the decision to fund the administration’s immigration policies without adequate oversight. The legislation maintains $1.375 billion for border barrier construction, with no limitations on Mr. Trump’s ability to transfer funds from other Pentagon accounts. The $738 billion defense bill funds the US-Mexico border wall, the Space Force, and continued US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.


New Research Identifies Possible Mass Graves From 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

After studying four identified sites using ground-penetrating radar, scientists led by the State of Oklahoma Archaeological Survey confirmed they discovered “anomalies” indicating what may be at least two mass burials. One of the newly discovered pits is in a section of Tulsa’s Oaklawn Cemetery. It measures roughly 30 feet by 25 feet, which researchers said is large enough for up to 100 bodies. The second possible mass grave is in an area called The Canes. It is a small piece of land near the Arkansas River, covered in overgrown vegetation. 

It is still unclear how many people were killed in the 1921 Race Massacre, also known as the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot. The incident and many of its horrors were recreated in the debut episode of HBO’s Watchmen in October.


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