The World in Review: 2/1-2/8
February 8, 2017
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Travel Ban Challenges: Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban has come under review by a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after a Seattle judge suspended the order, finding that the order caused “significant and ongoing harm” to people within the US. The travel ban—Executive Order 13769: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States—bans nearly all travel into the US by citizens of the Muslim majority countries of Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Iran for 90 days and halts all refugee admissions for a period of 120 days while the security check procedures are revised. The order has divided America as over a hundred travelers, immigrants, and permanent residents were detained and questioned in what some hail as a security victory in the fight against terrorism, and what others condemn as an Islamophobic and un-American act that plays into the narrative of terrorist organizations. The State Department has claimed that roughly 60,000 visas had been revoked to comply with the order, but is now complying with the initial court ruling and is once more accepting visas. Due to the highly controversial nature of the order the case will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court once the court of appeals makes a ruling.
French Election Upsets: Francois Fillon, the conservative Republican candidate in the French elections, has lost his considerable lead in the polls in the midst of a financial scandal. In what is now colloquially referred to as “Penelopegate”, Fillon was reported to have made substantial payments to his wife Penelope and two of his children for political jobs that they did not perform. Once the frontrunner of the race, Fillon now lags behind the far-right Front National candidate Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, a centrist who leads the independent En Marche! movement. Now widely viewed with mistrust, Fillon has denied the charges and pledged to maintain his candidacy despite increasing calls for him to step down.
Rohingya Persecution: The United Nations, joined on Wednesday by Pope Francis, have condemned the East Asian country of Myanmar for gross human rights violations in a military crackdown against the Rohingya ethnic group. The Rohingya are a Muslim majority group that is highly discriminated against by Buddhist-majority Myanmar, and in fact the entire group is officially regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and denied citizenship. The military crackdown followed the targeted attacks of police stations by a recently-formed Rohingya militant group, which was among the first of its kind despite decades of violence. The UN has so far documented widespread cases of retaliatory beatings, arson, rape, and killings perpetrated by Myanmar military personnel upon Rohingya civilians. Around 65,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the latest round of violence.