Syrian grandmother in travel ban flap arrives in the US

The first version of Trump's order triggered howls of protest at home and abroad as well as chaos at US airports as people were detained upon arrival. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2017
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Syrian grandmother in travel ban flap arrives in the US

HONOLULU: The Syrian grandmother at the center of Hawaii’s lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s travel ban on people from six mostly Muslim countries arrived in Honolulu Saturday night.
Ismail Elshikh, the imam of a Honolulu mosque, said his 52-year-old mother-in-law Wafa Yahia received approval from the US government several weeks ago. She arrived at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Saturday evening on a flight from San Francisco in a 28-hour journey that started in Lebanon, he said.
Elshikh is a plaintiff in Hawaii’s challenge to the travel ban. The lawsuit argues that the ban prevented his Syrian mother-in-law from visiting.
The complex legal wrangling over the travel ban is ongoing. A federal appeals court in Seattle is scheduled to hear arguments later this month in the government’s appeal of a judge’s ruling in July that allows grandmothers and other family members of those in the US who may enter the country.
The US Supreme Court previously allowed a scaled-back version of the ban to go into effect before it hears the case in October. The justices exempted visa applicants from the ban if they can prove a “bona fide” relationship with a US citizen or entity.
“The news that Dr. Elshikh’s family is being reunited is one bright moment today when love trumped hate,” Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said in a statement. “In America, no race should ever be excluded, no religion should ever be hated, and no family ever gets left behind.”
Yahia’s immigrant visa approval would not affect Hawaii’s lawsuit, Chin said: “So long as this discriminatory and illegal executive order is not struck down, the state of Hawaii and its residents are harmed.”
Two of Elshikh’s five children have never met her, he said. She last visited her family in Hawaii in 2005.
“Without the lawsuit, we couldn’t get the visa. Without this challenge, my children would not have been reunited with their grandma,” he said. “I still feel sadness for those who are still affected by the Muslim ban, who are not as lucky as my family.”


Shabab attacks military base in southern Somalia: army

Updated 13 min 35 sec ago
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Shabab attacks military base in southern Somalia: army

  • Heavily-armed Al-Shabab fighters on Monday stormed a military base in southern Somalia, leaving several dead
  • Military sources in the region said the attack targeted the Bar-sanguni military base

MOGADISHU: Heavily-armed Al-Shabab fighters on Monday stormed a military base in southern Somalia, leaving several dead, a local army official and witnesses said.
Military sources in the region said the attack targeted the Bar-sanguni military base which lies some 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of the regional capital Kismayo.
The attackers rammed an explosives-laden vehicle into a checkpoint before gunmen attacked the base, exchanging gunfire with soldiers for over an hour.
“Al-Shabab terrorists attacked Bar-sanguni military base early this morning and there was heavy fighting. The Somali armed forces have repelled the attackers but there were casualties inflicted on the both sides during the armed confrontation,” Mohamed Bile, a military commander in a nearby village said by phone.
“We don’t have the exact number of the dead so far but there it could be more than ten,” he added.
Several witnesses in nearby villages reported a heavy blast followed by sustained gunfire.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab claimed in a statement they had killed 27 soldiers in the attack on a base “which the Americans built for the apostate militias.”
The Shabab has been fighting to overthrow the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu for over a decade.
Despite losing towns and territory in recent years the group continues to carry out regular bombings and armed raids on government, security and civilian targets in the capital and elsewhere.