Kenya election: Kenyatta re-elected in disputed poll
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been declared winner of a controversial re-run of the presidential election. He won 98% of the vote with turnout at just under 39% – less than half that recorded in August’s vote, according to the election commission. The opposition leader, Raila Odinga, pulled out of the re-run and urged his supporters to boycott it. Mr Kenyatta was also declared the winner in the August vote, which was annulled because of “irregularities”. The unprecedented decision from the Supreme Court cancelling the result did not attribute any blame to President Kenyatta’s party or campaign.
Netherlands to hold referendum on surveillance law
The Netherlands Electoral Council announced Wednesday that a referendum will be held next year on a controversial surveillance law. The surveillance bill was passed in July after years of debate and criticism. Proponents of the legislation claim the increased powers are necessary to counter threats to national security in the modern era. Opponents of the bill warn that it gives the government intrusive access into the lives of law-abiding citizens. The council confirmed that it had received more than 384,000 citizen signatures requesting the referendum, clearing the 300,000 signature threshold needed to force a public vote under the country’s referendum law. However, the referendum serves a purely advisory purpose and at least 30 percent of the electorate must vote in order for the referendum to have any legal weight.
Black cab shape not distinctive enough to be trademark, say judges
New-style taxis could soon roll on to city roads after court of appeal judges ruled that the shape of the traditional London black cab was not distinctive enough to be a trademark. The London Taxi Company wanted to claim exclusive rights to the black cab shape and thwart a rival firm. But Lord Justice Kitchin and Lord Justice Floyd have upheld a ruling made last year by a high court judge. In January 2016, Mr Justice Arnold ruled that the shape was not a “valid registered trademark” after a high court hearing in London.
France counterterrorism bill signed into law
French President Emmanuel Macron formally signed a law to replace a two-year-old state of emergency established in the wake of violent Paris attacks that killed 130 people in November 2015. The new law gives police and other law enforcement officials authority to conduct searches, and more. It took effect on 31st October, just as the state of emergency was set to expire November 1. The lower house of parliament approved the bill October 3 with a sweeping 415-127 majority, and the French Senate voted 244-22 on October 17 to approve the bill.
Saudi Arabia to allow women to attend stadium sporting events
Saudi Princess Reema Bandar bint Al-Saud, vice president for women’s affairs of the General Sports Authority, tweeted that the country will begin to allow women to attend sporting events in 2018. The kingdom’s sports authority announced that stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam will be prepared to admit “families” at the beginning of next year, though the details of how the change will be carried out remain elusive. The country has strict guardianship laws regarding women, arising from cultural and religious beliefs associated with Sharia Law, that have shown signs of weakening recently. The announcement comes a month after a royal decree was made allowing women the right to obtain a driver’s license in the kingdom come June 2018.
Brazil Olympic committee members and former Trump Hotel partner charged with corruption
Brazil’s federal prosecutors charged individuals instrumental in obtaining Brazil’s bid for the Olympic Games held last summer. Most notable of those charged of bribery are Carlos Nuzman, head of Brazil’s Olympic Committee, Leonardo Gryner, right-hand man of Nuzman on the committee, and Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, former Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro partner. Sergio Cabral, former governor Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state, was sentenced to 14 years and two months in June for corruption and money laundering in connection to the Olympics. Filho is considered a fugitive in the US. Brazil has attempted to extradite the accused former partner, but has claimed that the US has not cooperated with the international investigation. There have been no allegations made in connection with the Trump organisation.
Quebec Ministry of Justice releases guidelines on face-covering ban
Quebec Minister of Justice and Attorney General Stéphanie Vallée released guidelines for the implementation of Bill 62, legislation requiring those who wear face veils to remove them when using public services. The bill passed by a vote of 66-5 in the Quebec National Assembly. These guidelines provide further instructions concerning the implementation of the new enacted law. The guideline describes the law as requiring a staff of an organisation covered by the law to exercise his or her functions with the face uncovered. The guideline also describes the law as requiring anyone who requests a service from an organisation covered by the law to have their face uncovered when the service is being delivered. Essentially, the guidelines lays out the objectives of Bill 62 as: 1) ensuring quality communication between people 2) facilitating verification of identity, and 3) ensuring safety.
Germany top court rejects petition seeking to halt European Central Bank’s bond-buying program
Germany’s Constitutional Court rejected a petition to block the Bundesbank from participating in the European Central Bank plan to purchase bonds. The European Central Bank is currently purchasing EURO 2.3T (USD 2.7T) worth of bonds in order to keep inflation rates at just under 2 percent. So far, the European Central Bank has already purchased EURO 2T worth of bonds. The case was brought before the Constitutional Court by a group of German academics and politicians. The court’s decision to reject the plea for an injunction still leaves the case with the European Court of Justice.
EU top court rules height requirements for police discriminate against women
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Greek police cannot enforce a blanket height requirement for police recruits because such a policy discriminates against women. Prior to a previous ruling, Greece enforced a minimum height requirement of 1.7 meters (5 feet 7 inches) for entry into the police academy. In 2007, Marie-Eleni Kalliri, who is 1.68 meters tall, was denied enrolment to the police academy because she did not meet the height requirement. She then filed a complaint arguing that she was discriminated against on the basis of sex.
India Supreme Court rules sex with minor bride is rape
The Supreme Court of India ruled that sexual intercourse with a girl who is under the age of 18 is rape regardless of the marital status of the girl. Section 375 of the India Penal Code specifies that intercourse with someone under the age of 18 is considered rape. However, Exception 2 to section states that a husband can have intercourse with a girl between the ages of 15 and 18 if he is married to the girl, whether intercourse is consensual or not. The court noted that there are an estimated 23 million child brides in India. Although India’s laws require that the minimum age to be married is 18, other laws regarding how child brides and grooms can nullify marriages has in some ways legitimized these marriages in the country. The Supreme Court of India ruled that sexual intercourse with a girl who is under the age of 18 is rape regardless of the marital status of the girl.
Smacking ban should prompt a national conversation in the UK
Scotland has banned smacking and England maintains the reasonable chastisement clause, so it makes sense for the whole of the UK to come together on this. However, June O’Sullivan who runs 37 nurseries across London working with 4,500 children and families, says that this ban will have little impact on behaviour at home unless we provide some means of helping parents learn other ways of managing children’s behaviour. No one can police the way parents manage their children at home, yet it’s the smallest children who are often smacked because parents are unable to get them to “do as they are told”.
Germany same-sex marriage law takes effect
Germany’s new same-sex marriage law took effect, allowing Karl Kreile and Bodo Mende, a couple for 38 years, to be the first same-sex couple to marry in the country. The couple was married in a civil ceremony at the town hall in Schöneberg, Berlin. The law, which had strong public support, was enacted in June by a large margin, making Germany the fifteenth European nation to legalise same-sex marriage after Chancellor Angela Merkel changed her conservative stance on the issue and asked lawmakers to vote with their conscience, instead of party lines.
Six-month minimum sentence proposed for repeat acid offences
‘Two strikes’ rule, mirroring regime for knife crime, is part of proposals to counter threat of acid attacks Anyone caught twice possessing corrosive substances without a good reason will automatically face a prison sentence of at least six months under government proposals to counter the threat of acid attacks. The “two strikes” rule would mirror the regime for those convicted of more than one knife possession offence. In addition, online retailers face criminal proceedings under the proposals if they deliver knives to a buyer’s home, in a measure aimed at clamping down on the sale of blades to children and teenagers. The steps form part of a drive to tackle violent crime following a surge in offences recorded by police.
Couple who faked holiday sickness are jailed
The government has stepped up attempts to eliminate fake holiday sickness scams, as a middle-aged British couple who had boasted on social media about having “sun, laughter and fun” on their holidays were jailed after making false insurance claims. The couple tried to claim £20,000 compensation by stating they and their two children had fallen ill on holidays to Mallorca in 2015 and 2016, Liverpool crown court was told.