Tuesday, March 28, 2023
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Global Pulse: Trudeau’s open refugee invitation under attack, US Gen wants peace with Taliban

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Trudeau faces the immigration heat

After months of sending refugee-friendly messages, Justin Trudeau is now being accused of misleading thousands of asylum seekers streaming to Canada from the US. “Our system now is in shambles, and I think a lot of this has to do with the messaging — the inconsistent messaging — that has been coming out of Justin Trudeau’s personal communication shop,” said a Conservative immigration critic MP.

Trudeau may well be aware of the problem. So while he has retained his position on welcoming refugees, he has recently underscored the need to follow the rules to enter Canada. Montreal’s Olympic Centre has been temporarily turned into a welcome centre. The military has been deployed to set up a 500-person camp at the border. A temporary tent city has also been set up in Ontairo city. Yet, the country’s scrambling to cope.

US top official in Kabul makes case for settlement with Taliban

Days after Donald Trump depicted an accord to be a remote possibility in Afghanistan, the country’s “thinker warrior” has suggested otherwise. Without openly contradicting the president, Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan has spoken about the need to reach a settlement with the Taliban. In a joint press conference in Kabul, he invited the Taliban to “lay down your arms and join Afghan society. Help build a better future for this country and your own children”.

Nicholson’s role in ending the war cannot be understated. Often referred to as the American face of the war, he took command in Afghanistan during the Obama administration, and is now on his fourth tour to the war-torn country. And though he has never met Trump personally, Trump’s Afghanistan gamble hinges entirely on this one man – who, according to reports, the president had recently suggested firing.

A Saudi app to empower women

There’s an app for everything nowadays, including for empowerment. When Saudi lawyer Nasreen Issa thought of bringing awareness among women of their own religious rights, she came up with an app. “I thought maybe I should publish a book, but it’s an app era. Everyone’s using apps on their phone,” she said.

Both in English and Arabic, the app can be used by Arab women as well as female visitors to the Kingdom. A lot of social practices used to subjugate women are not stipulated by law, she says. But nobody’s going to explain that to women. “If a woman doesn’t know her rights, the judge isn’t going to explain, he’s just going to say ‘Next!’” she says. Nasreen says she wanted the app to have the answers to any questions that women might have. “There’s even a section on intellectual property rights: You wrote a poem, someone stole it. Your husband stole your jewellery? You’re looking for a job? There are links, including some government links,” she says. The app, which has been approved by the Ministry of justice has had 50,000 downloads so far.

Asia’s Muslim Metal Republic

It may be hard, even paradoxical, for some to imagine the world’s largest Muslim country to be a hotbed for heavy metal. But Indonesia happens to be the country with the largest number of heavy metal bands – more than 1,500 – in all of Asia. Metal-heads would know this already. The country has long been known as a “metal republic”.

There are all-women hijab-wearing metal bands too. And their musicians do not see any contradiction in their faith and their music. “Wearing a hijab is part of my identity as a Muslim woman, while metal is a musical genre which I happen to feel very passionate about. We don’t consider ourselves an ‘Islamic metal band’. We are just three teenage Muslims in a band, who play heavy metal music,” a young woman says.

Blacks and Hispanics an underrepresented minority in elite colleges

White supremacists may be a disgruntled lot in the US today. They may claim limited access to resources, education, etc. But it turns out, at least on campuses, diversity remains elusive, and Whites continue to be the most overrepresented racial group. An analysis, in fact, shows that despite affirmative action, Blacks and Hispanics are more underrepresented in elite colleges as they were three and a half decades ago.

While Blacks comprise of 15 percent of America’s college-going population, the share of Black freshmen at elite colleges is only 6 percent. Affirmative action has a role in increasing the numbers of Black and Hispanic students in college. But the equity issues start playing out much earlier. “There’s such a distinct disadvantage to begin with…A cascading set of obstacles all seem to contribute to a diminished representation of minority students in highly selective colleges,” said an executive director at the National Association for College Admission Counseling.

Compiled by Sanya Dhingra.

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