Tag Archives: Reforms

Saudi Arabia's reforms to allow some women to travel without men's permission will do nothing to help many of the vulnerable people trapped in the kingdom

Saudi Arabia's reforms to allow some women to travel without men's permission will do nothing to help many of the vulnerable people trapped in the kingdomMany of the 1,000 women who flee Saudi Arabia each year are under 21, and must still escape abuse in dangerous and secretive circumstances.



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New Zealand shooting: Jacinda Ardern to announce gun law reforms within 10 days

New Zealand shooting: Jacinda Ardern to announce gun law reforms within 10 daysJacinda Ardern, New Zealand's prime minister, said on Monday gun law reforms would be announced in 10 days, after meeting her cabinet for the first time since the massacre in Christchurch. The shock of the attacks, in which 50  people were killed and dozens wounded at two mosques, has led to calls for an immediate tightening of laws to restrict access to some firearms, particularly semi-automatic weapons. Ms Ardern said on Monday that her cabinet had made in principle decisions around the reform of gun laws following the mass shooting in Christchurch "I intend to give further details of these decisions to the media and the public before cabinet meets again next Monday," she said at a press conference. "This ultimately means that within 10 days of this horrific act of terrorism we will have announced reforms which will, I believe, make our community safer." Terror in New Zealand | Read more She said an inquiry would look at the lead up to attack and what might have been done differently. The owner of a New Zealand gun store said on Monday the man charged with murder in Christchurch's mass shooting had bought firearms and ammunition online from the store, but it did not sell him the high-powered weapon used in the mosque shootings. Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday. Tarrant was remanded without a plea and is due back in court on April 5 where police said he was likely to face more charges. Gun City owner David Tipple said the alleged gunman bought four weapons and ammunition between December 2017 and March 2018. "The MSSA, military-style automatic, reportedly used by the alleged gunman was not purchased from Gun City. Gun City did not sell him an MSSA, only A-category firearms," Mr Tipple told a news conference in Christchurch. Gun City owner David Tipple gestures during a press conference in Christchurch Credit: AP Under New Zealand gun laws, A-category weapons can be semi-automatic but limited to seven shots. Video of a gunman in one mosque showed a semi-automatic with a large magazine round. Mr Tipple said the online purchases followed a police-verified online mail-order process and A-category firearms were bought in three or four purchases. "We detected nothing extraordinary about the licence holder. He was a brand new purchaser, with a brand new licence," he said. Tightening New Zealand's gun laws was at the top of Ms Ardern's agenda for the Cabinet meeting on Monday. "What the public rightly are asking right now is why is it and how is it that you are currently able to buy military style semi-automatic weapons in New Zealand, and that's the right question to ask," Ms Ardern told TVNZ earlier on Monday. "There are ways we can bring in effective regulation of firearms that actually target those we need to target and that is our focus." Mr Tipple said he supported Ardern's call for gun law reforms as the Christchurch shootings had raised legitimate concerns. New Zealand, a country of only 5 million people, has an estimated 1.5 million firearms. The minimum age for a gun license is 16, and 18 to own a semi-automatic weapon. A Radio New Zealand report, based on police data secured through an Official Information Act request, said more than 99 percent of people who applied for a firearms licence in 2017 were successful. A New Zealand standard A-category firearm licence is issued after a police and background check. No licence is required to buy a large round magazine, which can be illegally modified for use in such a weapon. Only firearm owners are licensed, not weapons, so there is no monitoring of how many weapons a person may possess. The plans for gun control measures came as Tarrant's court-appointed lawyer said the suspect intended to represent himself.  Duty lawyer Richard Peters, who represented Tarrant during the preliminary court hearing, told AFP the 28-year-old "indicated he does not want a lawyer". "He wants to be self-represented in this case," said Mr Peters, who played down suggestions that Tarrant may not be fit for trial. "The way he presented was rational and someone who was not suffering any mental disability. That's how he appeared. He seemed to understand what was going on," Mr Peters said. New Zealand mosque massacre – In pictures Ms Ardern was the first signatory of a national condolence book for the country's worst mass killing that she opened in the capital Wellington on Monday. "On behalf of all New Zealanders, we grieve together. We are one. They are us," she wrote in the book. Frustration was building among the families of victims as under Islam it is custom to conduct burials within 24 hours, but bodies will not be released until post mortems are carried out. Deputy Police Commissioner Wally Haumaha said the first body was approved for release on Sunday night, but the family was yet to take the body because another relative was also killed and they wanted to collect them together. He said there would be no burials on Monday. "We’ve been working fairly hard through the night to ensure the process of returning the deceased to their loved ones is taking place expediently," he said. The burial process, which usually involves washing with three kinds of water, salving wounds and scrubbing skin, would be complicated, volunteers in Christchurch said. Muslims embrace after overseeing the excavating of graves at a Muslim cemetery in Christchurch, New Zealand Credit: AP Mo, a volunteer who had flown in from Brisbane to wash the bodies, said the people who died in the mosques were classified as martyrs. That meant there were different views as to whether they would be washed or not because he said Islamic jurisprudence said martyrs are not to be washed as their blood was witness to their martyrdom. "But some people have said because it was not a battlefield it is okay to wash the body. But it is at the discretion of the family," said Mo. He asked to be identified by just one name. The two mosques involved in the shootings have been closed since the massacre, but are expected to reopen by Friday prayers after cleansing blessings were carried out, said Haumaha. "This morning we conducted two important blessings at the Deans Avenue mosques and the Linwood mosque," he said. "This blessing this morning gave them (the Muslim community) huge confidence…We hope to have those premises in place by the end of the week to allow our Muslim community to go back and undertake prayer." Sign up for your essential, twice-daily briefing from The Telegraph with our free Front Page newsletter.



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House Democrats' 1st bill aims for sweeping reforms

House Democrats' 1st bill aims for sweeping reformsWASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats on Friday unveiled more details of their first bill for the new Congress, a good-government package that would limit big money in politics, make it easier for citizens to vote and require presidents to disclose their tax returns.



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Saudi Arabia: storms and reforms under new crown prince

Saudi Arabia: storms and reforms under new crown princeMohammed bin Salman became crown prince of Saudi Arabia in June last year, shaking up the ultra-conservative oil giant with economic, social and religious reforms. On June 21, 2017, King Salman names his 31-year-old son, Mohammed, as crown prince, displacing the king’s nephew Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as heir to the throne. Widely known as MBS, Prince Mohammed retains his role as defence minister.



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Migrant caravan reforms in Mexico after thousands make desperate journey from Guatemala across river

Migrant caravan reforms in Mexico after thousands make desperate journey from Guatemala across riverA growing throng of Central American migrants resumed their advance toward the US border in southern Mexico on Sunday, overwhelming Mexican government attempts to stop them at the border. Their numbers swelled to about 5,000 overnight and at first light they started walking toward the Mexican town of Tapachula, 10 abreast in a line stretching approximately a mile (1.5 kilometres). Several hundred more already had applied for refugee status in Mexico and an estimated 1,500 were still on the Guatemalan side of the Suchiate River, hoping to enter legally. The decision to re-form the migrant caravan capped a day in which Mexican authorities again refused mass entry to migrants on the bridge, instead accepting small groups for asylum processing and giving out 45-day visitor permits to some.  Authorities handed out numbers for people to be processed in a strategy seen before at US border posts when dealing with large numbers of migrants. But many became impatient and circumventing the border gate, crossing the river on rafts, by swimming or by wading in full view of the hundreds of Mexican police manning the blockade on the bridge. Some paid locals the equivalent of $ 1.25 (£0.95) to ferry them across the muddy waters. They were not detained on reaching the Mexican bank. Migrants cite widespread poverty and gang violence in Honduras as their reasons for joining the caravan.  The caravan has triggered an increase in anti-immigrant rhetoric from Donald Trump, the US president, who has threatened to cut aid to the region, deploy the military and close the US-Mexico border if authorities do not stop the migrants. A Honduran migrant looks over the Suchiate River that separates Mexico from Guatemala Credit: AP Photo/Oliver de Ros At a rally on Saturday, he suggested the caravan was politically motivated. "The Democrats want caravans, they like the caravans. A lot of people say 'I wonder who started that caravan?'" he said in Elko, Nevada, where migration has become an issue in the upcoming US mid-term elections. Nevertheless, as they passed through Mexican villages on the outskirts of Ciudad Hidalgo, the caravan drew applause and donations of food and clothing. Maria Teresa Orellana, a resident of the neighborhood of Lorenzo handed out free sandals to the migrants as they passed. "It's solidarity," she said. "They're our brothers." On Sunday, federal police monitored the caravan's progress from a helicopter and had a few units escorting it. Outside Tapachula about 500 briefly gathered along the highway on buses and in patrol units, but officers said their instructions were to maintain traffic on the highway not stop the caravan.



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U.S. sanctions to remain until Zimbabwe demonstrates reforms: official

U.S. sanctions to remain until Zimbabwe demonstrates reforms: officialManisha Singh, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, told a House of Representatives hearing there were 141 entities and individuals in Zimbabwe, including Mnangagwa and former president Robert Mugabe, that are currently under U.S. sanctions. “We want to see fundamental changes in Zimbabwe and only then will we resume normal relations with them,” she added. Mnangagwa was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s new president on Aug. 26 after the Constitutional Court confirmed his July 30 election victory, dismissing a challenge by opposition leader Nelson Chamisa.



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Venezuela on edge as Maduro unveils raft of economic reforms

Venezuela on edge as Maduro unveils raft of economic reformsUncertainty reigned in Venezuela on Saturday after President Nicolas Maduro unveiled a major economic reform plan aimed at halting the spiraling hyperinflation that has thrown the oil-rich, cash-poor South American country into chaos. Ahead of a major currency overhaul on Monday, when Caracas will start issuing new banknotes after slashing five zeroes off the crippled bolivar, Maduro detailed other measures he hopes will pull Venezuela out of crisis.



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Gun Owners And Non-Gun Owners Actually Agree On A Lot Of Gun Reforms

Gun Owners And Non-Gun Owners Actually Agree On A Lot Of Gun ReformsWhen it comes to addressing gun violence in the U.S., the general consensus



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Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracy

Power to the party: Why political reforms can be bad for democracyOver the last half-century, political power has devolved from party functionaries to ordinary citizens voting in primaries. That has made the system more democratic — but also more susceptible to manipulation by populist demagogues. Some political scientists think it’s time to take another look.



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White House reforms security clearances to address scandal

White House reforms security clearances to address scandalWhite House Chief of Staff John Kelly has ordered changes to the way staff gain access to America’s most closely guarded secrets, after a top aide worked for months without full clearance. Kelly, a former Marine Corps general, proposed a series of tweaks intended to limit temporary security clearances, but which also seemed designed to draw a line under the Rob Porter scandal. The aide — who had daily access to the Oval Office and handled top secret documents — resigned in disgrace this month after allegations he beat both his former wives.



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