German chancellor Angela Merkel has announced her support of a burqa ban in schools, courts and state buildings, saying the ban should be enforced “wherever it is legally possible”.
Mrs Merkel, a centre-right chancellor and head of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, has been in power since 2005. “A full veil is inappropriate … it does not belong in our country,” she said to thunderous applause at a CDU party.
The chancellor’s popularity has dropped since she allowed approximately one million refugees into Germany in 2015, while the CDU and other established conservative parties are losing votes to Germany’s rightwing Alternative for Germany (AFD).
The AfD has gained considerable support since Europe’s migrant crisis and currently has about 12 per cent support. Mrs Merkel has been gradually strengthening her policies regarding asylum seekers to gain more support before next year’s general election.
Saudi Arabia to execute 15 for spying
A Riyadh judge has sentenced 15 people to death and jailed 15 more for up to 25 years on charges of spying for Iran. Most of the men are from the Eastern Province, home to the Shia Muslim minority and were accused of setting up a spy ring, treason and revealing sensitive government material.
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have worsened in the past year since the countries chose to back opposite sides in the Syrian and Yemen wars. Amnesty International have condemned the death sentences and called the trials grossly unfair. “Sentencing 15 people to death after a farcical trial which flouted basic fair trial standards is a slap in the face for justice,” an Amnesty spokesperson said.
Malta has unanimously voted to ban gay conversion therapy
Malta has become the first European country to ban the controversial practice of attempting to change the sexuality of non-heterosexual people. The new law stipulates fines or jail for anyone who seeks to ‘change, repress or eliminate a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression’. The new law also stipulates that non-hetero orientation does not constitute ‘a disorder, disease or shortcoming of any sort’.
US returns land to Japan
Land that has been held by the US since WWII will be returned to Japan later this month, says the US Secretary of Defence. The US and Japan have been negotiating the return of the 3986 hectares of land on the island of Okinawa since the 1990s.
There are more than 52,000 US troops in Japan and Okinawa island is home to a large US military base. Relations between US military personnel and residents of Okinawa have declined considerably over the past year. A June protest that demanded the US military move all of its bases out if Okinawa was attended by over 60,000 people. – Compiled from web sources by Sinead Fogarty and Samantha Besgrove
Screengrab taken from DW English Youtube video.