1. “Muslim Community Patrols” have NYC residents alarmed
Residents in New York say they're alarmed after seeing "Muslim Community Patrols" driving through their neighborhoods in what look like police squad cars. One America's Pearson Sharp has the details.
2. Muslim head scarf a symbol of oppression, insists Quebec's minister for status of women
Quebec's newly appointed minister responsible for the status of women is standing by her position that the Muslim hijab is a symbol of oppression.
Speaking to reporters after being named to the portfolio Tuesday, Isabelle Charest said the head scarf “is not something that women should be wearing.”
Charest didn't back down from those comments Wednesday, though she acknowledged that some women choose to wear the hijab themselves, and she “respects their decision.”
“When they are dictated by a religion on what they have to wear, for me it's a lack of liberty, and it doesn't meet my values,” Charest said.
3. Where are England's asylum seekers living? - BBC Newsnight
Exclusive figures reveal high numbers of asylum seekers are being housed in some of England's most deprived areas.
4. French protesters clash with police in rally over minimum wage & “anti-hooligan” law
As demonstrators marched in a union-organized rally over the minimum wage, French police again deployed tear gas on protesters in Paris as violent scuffles broke out.
Related: Tensions at “General Strike” in Paris
Trade unions are massively supporting the yellow vests in France. The second largest workers' association CGT has called for a general strike today. According to CGT, the strike should prevent the protest movement from losing momentum.
5. Right-wing Mayor reverses leftist policy, gives Italians priority for apartments over migrants
The right-wing mayor of Sesto San Giovanni has reversed the leftist policy of prioritising non-European Union citizens for vacant apartments and is giving them to Italians instead.
Mayor Roberto Di Stefano, along with the centre-right coalition governing the municipality, has reversed the former leftist policy which saw 29 out of 36 available apartments allocated to non-EU citizens in 2017, Il Giornale reports.
In 2018, Italians were the main beneficiaries of apartments with only two out of 39 going to foreigners. The new policy was not popular with all residents of the municipality, however. [...]
The policy of Di Stefano aligns with Salvini’s “Italian First” policies which have included incentives for Italians to have more children such as the potential to receive a parcel of land after having three children in an effort to also revitalise rural areas of the country.
6. Locals in Siracusa, Sicily sound off on migrants, politicians: “The only politician whom I can consider a real patriot is Salvini”
In this excerpt from a LocalTeam report in the Sicilian town of Siracusa, locals share their views towards migrants and Matteo Salvini’s hardline position on refusing to allow migrants to disembark in Italy.
7. Belgian Secretary of State deports cop killer on last day in office
Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken used his last day in office to sign the deportation order of cop killer Hassan Iasir to Morocco despite him being born in Belgium.
Francken, a member of the right-wing New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), signed the move on his final day in office following the collapse of the Belgian coalition late last year over the controversial UN migrant pact which his party refused to sign, RTL reports.
Mr Iasir is currently serving out a 30-year sentence for the murder of Belgian police officer Kitty Van Nieuwenhuysen in 2007. The 23-year-old female officer, who had only recently graduated from the police academy, was killed after being shot with a Kalashnikov rifle while in pursuit of Iasir and two others who had stolen a car.
8. Taliban say women's rights to be protected under Islam, but must not threaten Afghan values
Taliban peace negotiators have said they are committed to guaranteeing women their rights under Islam - but failed to dispel fears that any deal will lead to a roll-back of the fragile freedoms gained by women in the past 17 years.
Insurgent envoys said their movement wanted to protect the rights of women “in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened.”
The lead negotiator, Sher Mohammed Abas Stanekzai, went on to criticise women's rights activists for undermining Afghan traditions, prompting concern from campaigners. [...]
He said Islam gave women rights in areas including “business and ownership, inheritance, education, work, choosing one’s husband, security, health, and the right to a good life.”
But he denounced “so-called women's rights activists” who were encouraging women to break Afghan customs.” [...]
“Under the name of women rights, there has been work for immorality, indecency and circulation of non-Islamic culture. Dissemination of western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials, paving the way for immoral crimes, and encouraging women for violating Afghan customs are other instances that have been imposed on Afghan society under the name of women rights.”
9. Saudi Arabia makes app to stop women from traveling without consent
Absher is designed to stop women from leaving the country without their male guardian's consent.
Rabat – The Saudi National Information Center has developed a mobile application called “Absher” (Arabic for “Enjoy”) that allows male guardians, usually husbands and fathers, to monitor women’s movements.
The app, available on iOS and Android, is designed to help guardians with tasks like renewing a driver’s license or paying fines, but also to monitor women and stop them from leaving the country without their consent.
The app sends a notification when a woman presents her passport at border control. Border police will deny the woman travel if her guardian says so.
10. UK: Activists rally as “Stansted 15” sentenced for blocking deportation flight
Around 300 supporters protested outside Chelmsford Crown Court in Essex on Wednesday, in defence of 15 activists who were awaiting their sentencing on terror charges after they blocked a runway at Stansted Airport last year in protest against chartered migrant deportation flights. It is thought the 15 defendants will be spared jail.