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Canada is all set to legalise marijuana and Donald Trump fulfils Kim Kardashian’s wish

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Argentina has cancelled a friendly football match against Israel in protest against the treatment of Palestinians in Gaza, and a major fire has been reported at a London five-star hotel.

Canada is the first G7 country to legalise marijuana

The Canadian Senate is expected to ratify Thursday Bill C-45, which will effectively make marijuana legal for recreational use, reports The Guardian. The country has already made medical marijuana legal, but this particular step is being seen as a “science fiction experiment”.

“Legalisation could affect Canada’s crime patterns, health and countless other factors — but exactly how, no one yet knows,” The Guardian reports.

CTV News reports that senators have been studying the bill, or the Cannabis Act, for over six months now, and will most likely vote on it towards the end of the day. The legalisation of marijuana was one of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s electoral promises.

Donald Trump has begun the pardoning process for dozens of people

The White House has begun assembling the paperwork to pardon at least 30 people, reports CNN. “The President signed paperwork for one of those individuals Wednesday: 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, whose life sentence was commuted by the President.”

Johnson, a great-grandmother and a first-time offender, was sentenced in 1996 on charges related to non-violent drug possession and money laundering. Celebrity Kim Kardashian West has been campaigning for her release, and met with Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner last week to discuss her pardon.

“The White House said she had been a model prisoner and worked hard to rehabilitate herself,” BBC reports.

Trump has commuted Johnson’s sentence and she was released from prison Wednesday.

This move by Trump signals that he is ready to exert his “constitutional power and intervene, in some instances, where he believes the Justice Department has overstepped”.

Argentina cancels football match with Israel in solidarity with Palestinians

A friendly football match between Argentina and Israel, which was due to happen in Jerusalem Saturday, has been suspended — allegedly in protest over the Israeli treatment of Palestinians, following weeks of protests in the Gaza strip. The match was supposed to be a warm-up match for the FIFA world cup.

“The Argentinians pulled out after widespread condemnation by Palestinian and human rights activists, which included a message by a Palestinian footballer wounded by an Israeli sniper during a protest,” Al Jazeera reports.

The Argentinian decision was met with widespread Palestinian support. BBC reports that the news was met “with cheers” in Gaza. At least 120 Palestinians have been killed in recent clashes with Israel, and thousand others injured.

Fire at luxury London hotel 

A huge fire broke out in central London’s five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel, causing panic in the city. The fire took place a week after “the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history” was completed, reports BBC

The London Fire Brigade said 120 firefighters and 20 engines were sent to the scene, and that the hotel’s guests and employees had been safely evacuated.

The cause of the fire is not known as yet. There have also not been any injuries or casualties.

Audio clip raises suspicions over extrajudicial killings in Bangladesh

A recorded phone conversation purportedly suggesting the murder of a local politician by the Bangladeshi police has thrown new light on the massive drugs crackdown in the country.

Akramal Haque, accused of dealing drugs, was “killed in a gunfight last week”, according to the Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion. This weekend, however, his wife Ayesha released “a series of phone conversations she had recorded with her husband that night, which she claims paint a different picture”, reports The GuardianThe recordings allegedly pertain to the last moments of Haque’s life.

“The content of the tapes, and Ayesha’s accusations that her husband’s death was a ‘planned murder’, were reported on the front page of the national Daily Star newspaper and have sparked debate in Bangladesh over the country’s recently launched narcotics crackdown,” the report added.

The killing of alleged drug dealers in Bangladesh has continued over the last three weeks, with a total of about 129 people dead, reports Daily Star. Eminent citizens in the country have expressed concern about the situation, with some people drawing parallels with the Philippines’ much-criticised crackdown on the drug trade. They have also asked for a judicial inquiry into the ‘shootouts’.

“Chilling information about some individuals killed has been published in the news media as well as social media. No allegations against slain Teknaf municipal councillor Akram before his death. The municipal mayor has protested his killing,” said a statement by them.

Long-term rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea are finally at peace

Hours after lifting the state of emergency in place since February, Ethiopia announced it would be accepting the terms of its peace agreement with Eritrea.

Al Jazeera reports that the move came as a surprise, and seems to be part of new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s series of dramatic reforms. The agreement, originally signed in 2000, brought a two-year war to end.

Ethiopia became landlocked in 1993 after Eritrea voted to secede. Eritrea, now known as one of the most reclusive nations in the world, has been ruled since 1993 by the same president, Isaias Afwerki.

Political changes in Italy and Spain spell uncertain future for the EU

Italy and Spain got new governments last week, but both are cobbled-together coalitions that are far from stable.

In Italy, the left-leaning Five Star Movement and right-wing League finally got the President’s approval to form a government three months after the election. Both parties are anti-immigrant and anti-Europe, and are usually constantly in conflict, making them an unlikely match.

In Spain, Pedro Sanchez was sworn in as Prime Minister Saturday. Sanchez, who does not even have a seat in parliament, managed to oust Mariano Rajoy’s conservative party from power.

“What’s next was far from clear, but unlike the reaction to Italy’s government, the European Union and financial markets displayed little anxiety over Spain,” The New York Times writes in an editorial.

“As in any time of political turmoil, there’s plenty of reason for the rest of Europe to be wary and watchful,” the editorial adds.

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