9-year-old chess prodigy wins fight to stay in Britain

UK child prodigy Shreyas Royal and the numerous trophies he has won. (Courtesy of Facebook)
Updated 11 August 2018
0

9-year-old chess prodigy wins fight to stay in Britain

  • Shreyas Royal, who came to Britain with his family when he was 3, has competed internationally
  • The English Chess Federation and two lawmakers had appealed to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to let the family stay

LONDON: A 9-year-old India-born chess prodigy whose fight to stay in Britain drew international attention can remain in the country, the UK government said Friday.
Shreyas Royal, who came to Britain with his family when he was 3, has competed internationally and came fourth in the World Cadets competition in Brazil last year. But his family faced having to leave the UK when his father’s work visa expires next month.
The English Chess Federation and two lawmakers had appealed to Home Secretary Sajid Javid to let the family stay, saying Shreyas was the UK’s greatest chess talent in a generation and had lived in the country most of his life.
Javid said Friday that “after carefully reviewing the evidence, I have taken the personal decision to allow Shreyas and his family to stay in the UK“
“We have always been clear we want a world-class immigration system that welcomes highly talented individuals from across the globe,” he said.
London’s Battersea Chess Club, where Shreyas plays, thanked supporters and said the young chess player had “a big future ahead of him on the world stage, hopefully representing England.”
Immigration is a divisive issue in Britain, and reducing the number of newcomers was a major factor for many voters who in 2016 backed leaving the European Union. The Conservative government says it wants Britain to remain open to global talent, but has tightened policies in recent years in a bid to create a “hostile environment” for illegal immigration.
Critics say many legal immigrants have suffered as a result of excessive bureaucracy and harsh decisions. Earlier this year it was revealed that hundreds of legal long-term residents from the Caribbean had been refused medical care or threatened with deportation because they could not produce paperwork to prove their right to remain in the UK
Javid, who was appointed in April after the migration scandal felled his predecessor, has said the term hostile environment “does not represent our values as a country.”


Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

Updated 21 August 2018
0

Indonesia woman irked by mosque noise convicted of blasphemy

  • Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam
  • The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years

MEDAN, Indonesia: An Indonesian court has sentenced a woman who complained about a noisy mosque to 18 months in prison for blasphemy.
The ethnic Chinese woman, Meiliana, burst into tears as presiding Judge Wahyu Prasetyo Wibowo announced the sentence Tuesday. She was taken from the court in handcuffs.
Prosecutors said the 44-year-old defendant violated the criminal code by committing blasphemy against Islam, the dominant faith in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation.
Mobs burned and ransacked at least 14 Buddhist temples throughout Tanjung Balai, a port town on Sumatra, in a July 2016 riot following reports of Meiliana’s complaint about a mosque’s noisy loudspeakers.
The woman’s lawyer, Ranto Sibarani, said the sentence would be appealed. A conservative group, Islamic Community Forum, said Meilana’s sentence was too light.
The maximum sentence for blasphemy is two years.
Indonesia’s Constitution guarantees freedom of speech and religion but in recent years blasphemy cases have been filed against those perceived as offending Islam. The overwhelming majority end with guilty verdicts.
Last year, the minority Christian and ethnic Chinese governor of Jakarta, the capital, was convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned for two years after massive street protests over comments seized upon by his political opponents.
Judges imposed the sentence despite prosecutors downgrading the blasphemy charge to a lesser offense.