By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - India's parliament on Tuesday approved a controversial law that would allow children to work for family businesses, despite widespread concern by the United Nations and other rights advocates that it will push more children into labor. A week after the bill was passed by the upper house of parliament, India's lower house approved the measure that brings a raft of changes to a three-decade-old child labor prohibition law. The bill now goes for the President's assent before becoming law. The U.N. Children's Agency (UNICEF) as well as many others have raised alarm over two particular amendments - permitting children to work for their families and reducing the number of banned professions for adolescents. A 2015 report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) put the number of child workers in India ages 5 to 17 at 5.7 million, out of 168 million globally. More than half of India's child workers are employed in agriculture and more than a quarter in manufacturing - embroidering clothes, weaving carpets or making match sticks. Children also work in restaurants, shops and hotels and as domestic workers. The new legislation extends a ban on child labor under 14 to all sectors. Previously, only 18 hazardous occupations and 65 processes such as mining, gem cutting and cement manufacturing were outlawed. It also stiffens penalties for those employing children, doubling jail terms to two years and increasing fines to 50,000 rupees ($740) from 20,000 rupees ($300). While child rights groups have welcomed such changes, there has been concern over other amendments proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government. For example, children will be allowed to work in family businesses, outside of school hours and during holidays, and in entertainment and sports if it does not affect their education. Also, children 15 to 18 will be permitted to work, except in mines and industries where they would be exposed to inflammable substances and hazardous processes. The government says the exemptions aim to strike a balance between education and India's economic reality, in which parents rely on children to help with farming or artisanal work to fight poverty or pass on a family trade. "The purpose of this very act is that we should be able to practically implement it," Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya told parliament. "That's why we are giving some exemptions." UNICEF had urged India to exclude family work from the proposed law and include an "exhaustive list" of hazardous occupations. "To strengthen the Bill and provide a protective legal framework for children, UNICEF India strongly recommends the removal of 'children helping in family enterprises'," it said in a statement on Monday. "This will protect children from being exploited in invisible forms of work, from trafficking and from boys and girls dropping out of school due to long hours of work," it said. (Reporting by Nita Bhalla. Editing by Katie Nguyen and Ellen Wulfhorst. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)
- Yahoo News
Counterintelligence official Michael Orlando joins a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the political aisle who point to China as a major national security threat, particularly in terms of technology and cybersecurity.
- The Telegraph
A Republican congresswoman is facing calls to resign over reports that she helped to spread falsehoods about the Parkland school shooting. Marjorie Taylor Greene reportedly agreed with a conspiracy theory about the 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed. Facebook screenshots showed a discussion about why a police officer had not rushed into the building, and someone claimed that the mass shooting was a "false flag planned shooting." Greene replied: “Exactly!" The social media giant later removed the posts after they were reported to them. Cameron Kasky, a former Parkland pupil who co-founded the group Never Again MSD, said: "She should resign. She can apologise. I don’t think anybody will accept it.” The congresswoman was elected in Georgia in November, backed Donald Trump's claims of election fraud, and has previously expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory. Fred Guttenberg, who's 14-year-old daughter Jaime died in the Parkland shooting, said: "Your feelings on gun laws are irrelevant to your claim that Parkland never happened. You are a fraud who must resign. Be prepared to meet me directly in person to explain your conspiracy theory, and soon." The comments by the politician were first reported by Media Matters for America. In a statement Ms Greene accused Media Matters for America of being "communists' and "fake news". Meanwhile, US Capitol Police were investigating an incident in which a Republican congressman was found carrying a concealed gun while trying to enter the floor of the House of Representatives. Andy Harris, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off a metal detector going through security on his way to the House floor . Metal detectors were installed outside the chamber to beef up security in the aftermath of the Capitol riots on Jan 6.
- NBC News
A woman has been arrested and charged with murder after the dismembered remains of her missing roommate, Talina Galloway, were found in a freezer in the woods of Polk County, Arkansas last week. Talina, 53, was reported missing by her roommate, Kore Bommeli on April 17, 2020. Talina’s remains were found in the freezer on January 14, 2021. Bommeli, who has been a person of interest throughout the investigation, was located in Wisconsin and faces charges of murder and desecration of a corpse. Th
- Associated Press
Libya’s coast guard intercepted on Friday more than 80 Europe-bound migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of the North African country, the U.N. migration agency said. The migrants were returned to Libyan soil, said the International Organization for Migration. “So far this year, some 300 people, including women and children, were returned to the country and ended up in detention,” said the IOM.
Beau Biden, who served in the Guard, is buried at St. Joseph on the Brandywine Church cemetery in Greenville, Delaware.
- Architectural Digest
800 feet up in the sky, the Dreamy 6,000 square foot space offers panoramic views from the East River to the HudsonOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Yahoo News Video
The master tenant of a cluttered, dilapidated San Francisco Bay Area warehouse where 36 people perished in a late night fire in 2016 is scheduled to plead guilty Friday to the deaths, avoiding a second trial after the first ended in a hung jury.
U.S. Capitol Police on Friday were investigating an incident in which a Republican lawmaker was found carrying a concealed gun while trying to enter the floor of the House of Representatives, a Capitol official said. Republican Representative Andy Harris, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off a magnetometer going through security on his way to the House floor late on Thursday and was found to be carrying a firearm, according to a congressional press pool report. The Maryland Republican then tried to hand the gun off to Republican Representative John Katko, who refused, saying he did not have a license, the report said.
America may not have won World War II and landed on the moon later if not for the contributions of a brilliant Chinese scientist named Qian Xuesen. Fearing communist presence after the war, the U.S., however, deported Qian to China, clueless that he would eventually spearhead programs that would target American troops and eventually propel China into space. Born to well-educated parents in 1911, it was evident from an early age that Qian had superior intellect.
- Associated Press
Federal prosecutors said a Tennessee man who carried flexible plastic handcuffs around the U.S. Capitol during the recent raid by Trump supporters is a danger to his community and a serious flight risk, and are asking that he be detained until trial. In a court filing ahead of a Friday detention hearing in Nashville, prosecutors described a Jan. 10 search of Eric Munchel's home that turned up assault rifles, a sniper rifle with a tripod, shotguns, pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and a drum-style magazine. Prosecutors also said they have reason to believe Munchel may have had weapons with him in Washington that he stashed Jan. 6 outside the Capitol before entering.
- National Review
Biden Admonishes Reporter for Questioning Whether Vaccine Goal Is Ambitious Enough: ‘Give Me a Break’
President Biden pushed back on a reporter at a press briefing on Thursday, who questioned whether the new administration’s coronavirus vaccine goal is ambitious enough. Biden has set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans during his first 100 days in office. During the press conference, Biden called the Trump administration’s distribution of coronavirus vaccines a “dismal failure so far,” warning that “things are going to continue to get worse before they get better.” However, the seven-day rolling average for coronavirus vaccine doses administered to Americans currently sits at 912,000, according to the Bloomberg vaccine tracker. (On Wednesday alone, 1.6 million doses were administered.) This indicates that the Biden administration is not far from its goal of vaccinating one million Americans per day. On Thursday, Associated Press reporter Zeke Miller asked Biden if the vaccination goal was “high enough,” since “that’s basically where the U.S. is right now.” “When I announced it you all said it wasn’t possible. Come on, give me a break, man,” Biden responded. “It’s a good start, a hundred million.” Internal projections from the Trump administration showed that the U.S. could administer at least 170 million doses by the end of April, two Trump administration officials told Bloomberg. During the press conference, Biden also announced that he would invoke the Defense Production Act to “accelerate the making of everything that’s needed to protect, test, and vaccinate and the care of our people.” Biden warned that the death toll from coronavirus infections would hit 500,000 in February. Over 408,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 as of Thursday.
Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa will resign next week to campaign in regional elections in Catalonia, an official from his party said on Thursday, while national authorities reported a record 44,357 new daily coronavirus cases. Illa, who has overseen Spain's response to the coronavirus pandemic, had said he would step down when campaigning got underway for the election, which is set to take place on Feb. 14. Spain has been routinely reporting record daily coronavirus infections since the end of December, but a top health official said the recent surge appeared to be stabilising.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and asking for a temporary restraining order.Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * Leon Fresco, an immigration attorney, told Axios that the lawsuit is likely to fail at fully reinstating deportations because a judge cannot force Immigration and Customs Enforcement to remove any particular person. * The executive branch has broad authority over immigration enforcement, as was seen in both President Obama and President Trump's administrations. What they're saying: In the announcement of the moratorium on Wednesday, the Department of Homeland Security said the pause on deportations would "allow DHS to ensure that its resources are dedicated to responding to the most pressing challenges that the United States faces." * In Paxton's request for a temporary restraining order, he claims, "Without emergency relief, Texas faces irreparable harm from having to provide costly educational, social, welfare, healthcare, and other services to illegal aliens who remain in Texas because Defendants have ceased removing them."The White House has not yet responded to Axios' request for comment.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- Associated Press
Iran's capital and major cities plunged into darkness in recent weeks as rolling outages left millions without electricity for hours. With toxic smog blanketing Tehran skies and the country buckling under the pandemic and other mounting crises, social media has been rife with speculation. Within days, as frustration spread among residents, the government launched a wide-ranging crackdown on Bitcoin processing centers, which require immense amounts of electricity to power their specialized computers and to keep them cool — a burden on Iran's power grid.
- The Week
Biden has stopped construction on Trump's border wall, but the fate of outstanding contracts is unclear
Among the first 17 executive orders President Biden signed Wednesday evening was one hitting "pause" on construction of former President Donald Trump's border wall. "It shall be the policy of my administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall," Biden's order said. "I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall."Biden gave the Pentagon and Homeland Security departments up to a week to stop all border construction, and for the most part, the frantic wall-building Trump had unleashed in his last months in office had stopped by Thursday, The Associated Press reports. The Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday it told its contractors to stop installing any additional barriers and do only what's "necessary to safely prepare each site for a suspension of work."Biden gave his administration 60 days to find and review all current contracts and determine which can be canceled, which must be renegotiated, and whether any of the remaining money can be used on other projects. Trump, as of Jan. 15, had spent $6.1 billion of the $10.8 billion in wall construction it had contracted out, a Senate Democratic aide told AP. Overall, the Trump administration had secured $16.45 billion for the wall, including $5.8 billion appropriated by Congress and the rest seized from the Treasury and Defense departments. Biden is targeting that latter pot of money.Trump says he built 450 miles of his wall, though almost all of that was replacement for other barriers. His administration signed contracts for constructing 664 miles, the Senate aide told AP. "Trump said the border wall would be 'virtually impenetrable' and paid for by Mexico, which never happened," AP notes. "While the wall is much more formidable than the barriers it replaced, it isn't uncommon for smugglers to guide people over or through it. Portions can be sawed with power tools sold at home improvement stores."More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job
A federal judge in Ohio ordered on Friday that Oath Keepers member Donovan Crowl be detained pending trial, after prosecutors charged him with conspiring with other members to storm the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. "The charges against the defendant are very serious," said Sharon Ovington, a Magistrate Judge in the Southern District of Ohio. Several other people suspected of attacking police at the Capitol also appeared in federal courts around the country.
- NBC News
Arunay Pruthi was pulled into the ocean at Cowell Ranch Beach in the city of Half Moon Bay on Monday.
- Associated Press
Indonesian authorities on Thursday ended the search for remaining victims and debris from a Sriwijaya Air jet that nosedived into the Java Sea, killing all 62 people on board. Transportation minister Budi Karya Sumadi said retrieval operations have ended after nearly two weeks, but that a limited search for the missing memory unit from the cockpit voice recorder will continue. The memory unit apparently broke away from other parts of the voice recorder during the crash.
- The Week
Biden's team reportedly realized after inauguration that Trump really had no vaccine distribution plan
It's been more than a month since the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved for distribution, and nearly a year since it became clear the coronavirus pandemic would require a vaccine to fully end. But former President Donald Trump's administration still failed to arrange a usable plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccines to Americans, as President Biden's incoming administration reportedly just discovered.Biden's team expected to find major flaws in Trump's distribution plans when they arrived at the White House on Wednesday, sources with direct knowledge of the administration's COVID-19 work tell CNN. But "one of the biggest shocks that the Biden team had to digest during the transition period was what they saw as a complete lack of a vaccine distribution strategy," CNN reports. As one source put it, "There is nothing for us to rework. We are going to have to build everything from scratch."Biden campaigned on the promise of swiftly reversing the Trump administration's hands-off approach to handling the virus. The new president did take a small step in that direction Wednesday, signing an executive order mandating people wear masks on federal property and moving to make the federal government the command center for vaccine and testing distribution and administration. But Wednesday's reported discovery reveals it's going to be a lot harder than just changing attitudes around social distancing. And as one source told CNN, the lack of a plan "is just further affirmation of complete incompetence" by the Trump administration.Jeff Zients, the Biden administration's COVID-19 czar, said as much on Wednesday, telling reporters that "what we're inheriting from the Trump administration is so much worse than we could have imagined." Still, as one official leading the COVID-19 response conceded to The Daily Beast, "At least we won't have a president that's actively fighting those rules on national television."More stories from theweek.com McConnell is already moving to strangle the Biden presidency 7 brutally funny cartoons about Trump's White House exit Biden's next executive order will let people stay on unemployment if they quit an unsafe job
- The Telegraph
Thousands of national guardsmen were turfed out of the Capitol building on Thursday and sent to sleep in car parks, before being allowed back in late at night after complaints from lawmakers. Despite the quick reversal, two Republican governors commanded their troops home in protest. US Capitol police had ordered the reservists to vacate the building and set up camp outdoors or in nearby hotels, with thousands ending up stationed outside or in car parks. “Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service. Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed,” one of the guardsmen told Politico. The National Guard were brought into the US capital to provide security after Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol on January 6.