International Tidings, April 2, 2019

Quebec bill called out for breaching religious freedom

The government of Quebec has proposed a bill that bans public employees from wearing religious symbols at work. According to the New York Times, “The Quebec premier, François Legault, has said the bill, which also applies to Catholic crosses, Jewish skull caps and Sikh turbans, was necessary to preserve Quebec’s secular values and identity. It is expected to pass in the Quebec legislature where his right-leaning party has a majority.” Religious rights advocates are calling this bill a breach of religious freedom.

Canada gives asylum to refugee that sheltered Edward Snowden

Vanessa Mae Bondalian Rodel, a Filipino refugee who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, has been granted asylum in Canada. According to the New York Times, “Five other asylum seekers who sheltered Mr. Snowden are awaiting decisions on their applications in Canada. Among them is Ajith Pushpakumara, from Sri Lanka, who said he had fled to Hong Kong after being tortured for deserting the military and faces the possibility of execution if he returns to his native country.”

Gibraltar bans releasing helium balloons

In an effort to protect marine wildlife, Gibraltar, a British territory at the tip of Spain, has banned the release of helium filled balloons. According to the New York Times, “On the British mainland, the Marine Conservation Society, one of the organizations that have lobbied the authorities to ban balloon and lantern flights, said the amount of balloon garbage in Britain had increased by 32 percent over the past decade. “Balloon debris can be a major choking hazard for animals across land and sea,” said Laura Foster, the head of clean seas at the society. “But the hazard is easy to prevent, she said, and the society supports local authorities that plan to introduce bans on the intentional release of balloons and lanterns.”

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