Global Review – 25th September

Switzerland to vote on marriage equality

Voters in Switzerland go to the polls tomorrow to decide whether to allow marriage for same-sex couples. Supporters say the change in the law is long overdue. But there is opposition from Church groups and right wing political parties, who claim it would undermine the traditional family.

Beijing releases Canadians after US frees Lady Huawei

Two Canadian citizens detained in China since 2018, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have been released from Beijing and are on their way to their homeland…just hours after the US reached an agreement to release Lady Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, who in turn is returning to China. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in December 2018 in China for espionage, causing an unprecedented diplomatic crisis between Ottawa and Beijing. Their detention was seen by Canada as a retaliatory measure after Meng Wanzhou’s arrest at the request of the United States. Earlier on Friday, the US Department of Justice had reached an agreement that would allow Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, to return to China after nearly three years under arrest in Canada at the US request. The 49-year-old daughter of Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founding billionaire, was reportedly caught on Canadian TV as she boarded a flight to the city of Shenzhen. The US had alleged that Meng misled HSBC Bank over the true nature of Huawei’s relationship with a company called Skycom, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran. Meng always maintained her innocence and had been fighting extradition to the US. The incident has strained China’s relations with the US and Canada.

Canada: Church apologises for abuses on native children

The Catholic Church of Canada has issued a written apology for the historical abuse suffered over the past decades by indegenous children in residential schools and colleges run by the Church. Earlier this year, hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered at sites of institutions which operated from the late 1800s to the 1990s.

Former Catalan leader freed by Italian court

An Italian court has ordered the former president of Spain’s Catalonia region to be freed following his arrest in Sardinia. His lawyer said Carles Puigdemont was free to leave the island but must return for a hearing next month. He was arrested on a Spanish arrest warrant on Thursday. Puigdemont fled Catalonia after leading a breakaway independence vote in the region in 2017.

USA: all migrants evacuated from Texas border

All the migrants, mostly Haitians, who had long lived camped under the Del Rio bridge on the Mexican-US border, in Texas, have been evacuated. US Interior Minister Alejandro Mayorkas said some 2,000 people were expelled and repatriated to their countries of origin, and another 8,000 decided to return to Mexico voluntarily. The remaining 5,000 migrants were transferred to reception centres, waiting for their asylum applications to be examined.

350,000 killed in Syria

In ten years of conflict, more than 350,000 people have been killed in the conflict in Syria. A UN research reveals 26,727 were women and 27,126 children. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said the figure, which covers the period between March 2011 and March 2021, was “certainly an underestimate” of the actual number of people killed as it included only the deaths of people identifiable with a name, date and place of death.

Disfigured by cosmetic treatment, Evangelista asks for $50m

Supermodel Linda Evangelista, one of the most beautiful women in the world, is asking $50 million from the cosmetic treatment company that allegedly left her “disfigured”. In a lawsuit filed in New York, Evangelista, who dominated the global runways with Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss in the 1990s, said that after receiving a “CoolSculpting” (cryolipolysis) treatment that causes non-invasive reduction of body fat through localised skin cooling, she had developed a rare side effect that had caused a radical metamorphosis of its appearance to the point of making it unrecognizable.

UK: Labour MP in the House… with the baby

British Labour MP and new mother Stella Creasy took her place in the House of Commons with her baby tightly to her chest to show her colleagues how difficult it was for a mother to attend the sessions and once she intervened she started a question and answer with the conservative Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg, a father of six. “I know that some in this place are not fans of mothers in the mother of all parliaments,” said Creasy with a certain irony. She then turned directly to Rees-Mogg: “But I’m sure he is not among them, and therefore wants to form an inter-party delegation to see how we can make sure that everyone in this Parliament respects the law on maternity and parental leave”. Casey claims the rights and protection guaranteed in the UK to all employees as regards the return to work of new mothers, were not being observed by the House. 

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