- Trump Suspends Refugee Program, Vowing to Weed out Islamic Radicals
US President Donald Trump signed a sweeping new executive order Friday to suspend refugee arrivals and impose tough controls on travelers from seven Muslim countries.
Making good on one of his most controversial campaign promises, and to the horror of human rights groups, Trump said he was making America safe from “radical Islamic terrorists.”
“This is big stuff,” he declared at the Pentagon, after signing an order entitled: “Protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry into the United States.”
Trump’s decree suspends the entire US refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days while tough new vetting rules are established. These new protocols will “ensure that those approved for refugee admission do not pose a threat to the security and welfare of the United States.”
In addition, it specifically bars Syrian refugees from the United States indefinitely, or until the president himself decides that they no longer pose a threat.
Meanwhile, no visas will be issued for 90 days to migrants or visitors from seven mainly-Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
– Extreme vetting –
During the suspensions of the refugee and visa programs, new rules will be devised for what Trump has called “extreme vetting” of applicants’ backgrounds.
Some exceptions will be made for members of “religious minorities,” which — in the countries targeted by the decree — would imply favorable treatment for Christians.
Civil liberties groups and many counterterrorism experts condemned the measures, declaring it inhumane to lump the victims of conflict in with the extremists who threaten them.
“‘Extreme vetting’ is just a euphemism for discriminating against Muslims,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.
By choosing countries with Muslim majorities for tougher treatment, Romero argued, Trump’s order breaches the US Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination.
Ahmed Rehab, director of the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group would mount legal challenges to fight the order “tooth and nail.”
“It is targeting people based on their faith and national origin, and not on their character or their criminality,” he told AFP.
Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani activist and Nobel peace laureate who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, said she was “heartbroken” and urged Trump not to abandon the world’s “most defenseless children and families.”
Speaking at a tourism convention in Tehran Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani did not comment directly on the visa ban but said Iran had “opened its doors” to foreign tourists since the signing of a nuclear agreement with world powers in 2015.
He also said now was “not the time to build walls between nations,” a remark that followed Trump’s order to construct a wall along the US-Mexico border.
– The most vulnerable –
The tough travel controls will be popular with Trump’s nationalist base, and stop short of a threat made during last year’s campaign to halt all Muslim travel to the United States.
Trump’s supporters defend the measures as necessary to prevent supporters of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group from infiltrating the US homeland disguised as refugees.
And the State Department, which with the Department of Homeland Security will have to implement the measures, said it was ready to put them into immediate effect.
“We will announce any changes affecting travelers to the United States as soon as that information is available,” spokesman Mark Toner said.
“We take seriously our responsibility to safeguard the American public while remaining committed to assisting the world’s most vulnerable people.”
Trump’s order also cut the number of refugees the United States plans to resettle in fiscal year 2017 — which is calculated from last October — from 110,000 to 50,000.
During the Pentagon ceremony, he also signed an order to “rebuild” the US military and watched Vice President Mike Pence swear in former Marine general James Mattis as his new secretary of defense.
Trump showered Mattis with praise. Earlier he had admitted he would allow the general’s opposition to the use of torture to override his own enthusiasm for harsh measures.
– ‘Wonderful thing’ –
In what was a busy day from Trump, one week after his inauguration, he also met with Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May, the first foreign leader to visit his White House.
He hailed the “most special relationship” between the twin Atlantic powers and praised Britain’s decision to leave the European Union as a “wonderful thing.”
“When it irons out, you’re going to have your own identity, and you are going to have the people that you want in your country,” Trump said, in a nod to his own immigration stance.
“You’re going to be able to make free trade deals without having somebody watching you and what you are doing.”
May conveyed an invitation from Queen Elizabeth II for Trump to come to Britain for a state visit this year, and thanked him for his “100 percent” support of NATO.
Over the weekend, Trump is due to make calls to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, France’s President Francois Hollande and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
He is keen to develop friendly ties with Moscow, but played down reports that he might quickly end US economic sanctions imposed on Russia for its intervention in Ukraine.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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