Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong freed on bail pending appeal

In this Aug. 17, 2017 photo, Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong, right, and Nathan Law, left, speak outside the high court before a ruling on a prosecution request for stiffer sentences following a lower court decision that let them avoid prison in Hong Kong. (AP)
Updated 24 October 2017
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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong freed on bail pending appeal

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s highest court has freed pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Nathan Law on bail pending an appeal of their prison sentences after they were convicted of sparking massive protests in 2014.
The two were granted bail on Tuesday by the Court of Final Appeal, according to a post on their political party’s Facebook page.
In August, the two along with a third student leader were given prison sentences of six to eight months for unlawful assembly related to the “Umbrella Movement” protests.
They had been given more lenient, non-custodial sentences earlier but the justice secretary requested that the courts review those punishments.
The move sparked fears that authorities were undermining the semiautonomous Chinese city’s independent judiciary.


New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

Updated 17 June 2019
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New Quebec law stresses migrants’ skills, thousands must reapply

  • The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers
  • The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec

MONTREAL: The Quebec provincial legislature on Sunday approved a controversial immigration bill that will replace a first-come, first-served standard for accepting migrants with one tied to an applicants’ skills.
The law is similar to a proposed plan from US President Donald Trump that would shift his country’s visa system from family-based immigration toward bringing in more skilled workers.
The law will attempt to more closely match the skills offered by would-be immigrants with the needs of the labor market in Quebec, Canada’s second most-populous province.
Under the new law, some 18,000 applications now on file will be shredded, affecting as many as 50,000 people, many of whom already live in the province.
The 18,000 existing applicants will have to restart the immigration process.
The provincial government promised to expedite processing of their new applications, saying qualified workers would have answers within six months rather than the current 36 months.
The 62-to-42 vote on the bill took place around 4 am (0800 GMT) at the end of a marathon session convened by the governing center-right Coalition Avenir Quebec, immigration minister Simon Jolin-Barrette announced on Twitter.
“We are modifying the immigration system in the public interest because we have to ensure we have a system which meets the needs of the labor market,” Jolin-Barrette told the National Assembly.
All three opposition parties opposed the measure, calling it “inhuman” and saying the government did not justify dropping the 18,000 pending applications.
“Honestly, I don’t think this bill will be seen positively in history,” Liberal Party MP Dominique Anglade said, according to the Montreal Gazette. “It’s the image of Quebec which gets tarnished.”
Premier Francois Legault’s government resorted to a special parliamentary procedure to limit debate over the proposal.
His party won power in October with a promise to slash by more than 20 percent the number of immigrants and refugees arriving each year in Quebec.
The assembly reconvened on Sunday and after sometimes-acrimonious debate passed a bill banning the wearing of religious symbols by public servants including police officers, judges, lawyers, prison guards and teachers.
However the new law will only apply to new recruits, with existing employees unaffected.
The proposal, also backed by Legault, puts the premier at odds with the multiculturalism advocated by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.