White House asks US Supreme Court to allow full travel ban

This file photo taken on March 31, 2012 shows the US Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2017
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White House asks US Supreme Court to allow full travel ban

WASHINGTON: The White House asked the US Supreme Court on Monday to allow President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban to take full effect after an appeals court in California ruled last week that only parts of it could be enacted.
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 13 partially granted a Trump administration request to block at least temporarily a judge’s ruling that had put the new ban on hold. It ruled the government could bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States.
Trump’s ban was announced on Sept. 24 and replaced two previous versions that had been impeded by federal courts.
The administration’s appeal to the top US court argued that the latest travel ban differed from the previous orders “both in process and in substance” and that the differences showed it “is based on national-security and foreign-affairs objectives, not religious animus.”
It also argued that even if the 9th Circuit ruled to uphold the partial ban, the Supreme Court was likely to overturn that decision as it had “the last time courts barred the President from enforcing entry restrictions on certain foreign nationals in the interest of national security.”
Last week’s appeals court ruling meant the ban would only apply to people from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad who did not have connections to the United States.
Those connections are defined as family relationships and “formal, documented” relationships with US-based entities such as universities and resettlement agencies. Those with family relationships that would allow entry include grandparents, grandchildren, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins of people in the United States.
The state of Hawaii, which sued to block the restrictions, argued that federal immigration law did not give Trump the authority to impose them on six of those countries. The lawsuit did not challenge restrictions toward people from the two other countries listed in Trump’s ban, North Korea and Venezuela.
US District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu ruled last month that Hawaii was likely to succeed with its argument.
Trump issued his first travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries in January, just a week after he took office, and then issued a revised one after the first was blocked by the courts. The second one expired in September after a long court fight and was replaced with another revised version.
Trump has said the travel ban is needed to protect the United States from attacks by Islamist militants. As a candidate, Trump promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Critics of the travel ban in its various iterations call it a “Muslim ban” that violates the US Constitution by discriminating on the basis of religion.
The 9th Circuit is due to hear oral arguments in the case on Dec. 6. In a parallel case from Maryland, a judge also ruled against the Trump administration and partially blocked the ban from going into effect.
An appeal in the Maryland case is being heard on Dec. 8 by the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The Maryland case was brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents several advocacy groups, including the International Refugee Assistance Project.


Strawberry sabotage akin to ‘terrorism’: Australia PM

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks in the House of Representatives at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, September 10, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 3 min 10 sec ago
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Strawberry sabotage akin to ‘terrorism’: Australia PM

  • The scare has prompted a slew of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries

SYDNEY: The tainting of supermarket strawberries with sewing needles is comparable to “terrorism,” Australia’s prime minister said Wednesday, as he demanded tougher sentencing in response to a nationwide scare.
Urging Australians to make a strawberry pavlova this weekend to help struggling farmers, Scott Morrison demanded a change in the law to put the perpetrators behind bars for 15 years.
“We’re not mucking about” said Morrison, after at least 20 pieces of fruit were found to be contaminated with needles or pins. “This is not on, this is just not on in this country,” he said.
Calling the perpetrator a “coward and a grub,” Morrison called on parliament to quickly raise the maximum sentence for such deliberate food contamination from ten to 15 years behind bars.
That, he said, would put the crime on par with “things like possessing child pornography and financing terrorism. That’s how seriously I take this.”
The scare has prompted a slew of supermarket recalls, and some stores in New Zealand have temporarily banned the sale of Australian strawberries.
Farmers have been forced to pulp fruit and layoff pickers because of slower sales and lower wholesale prices.
“Just go back to buying strawberries like you used to, and take the precautions that you should,” Morrison told Australians in a televised address.
“Make a pav this weekend and put strawberries on it,” he suggested.
Authorities have suggested strawberries be cut up before they are eaten.
Australian police on Tuesday said they still did not know the motive behind the attacks and were still looking for suspects.
They have asked the public for help with their investigation and are expected later Wednesday to increase a reward for information that helps resolve the case.