Story by Ty Smith, The Saint Reporter
Photo courtesy of Metro News
CANADA—The 2015 Federal Elections resulted in a clear majority for the liberal party, CBC reports. Justin Trudeau will take the office of Prime Minister. This means that Canada will have a new Prime Minister for the first time in nearly ten years. Trudeau promised to implement a series of tax changes within his first 100 days, including hikes for the highest earners and cuts for middle-income Canadians. He also promised to revamp child benefits, legalize marijuana, and to begin electoral reform. The BBC reports that Trudeau has pledged to limit Canada’s involvement in Syria and the Middle East, and informed President Obama of his decision to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from air strikes against IS hours after taking his new post.
Stephen Harper was the previous prime minister, losing power after three consecutive terms in office. Harper called it “an incredible honor” to serve as prime minister of the country. He said of his loss:
“We put everything on the table, we gave everything we had to give, and we have no regrets whatsoever.”
SOUTH AFRICA—Riot police have used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesting students outside parliament in Cape Town, ABC News reports. The students were demonstrating against rising university fees. The students forced their way into the parliament complex and gathered at the entrance of the national assembly building, and police tried to force them back. Protesters kicked police shields and threw bottles during the clashes, and sang popular protest songs and anti-apartheid slogans. They also demanded to speak to Education Minister Blade Nzimande. The goal of this protest was to disrupt the reading of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene’s interim budget.
Universities in Capetown, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and other cities have been forced to halt lectures during several days of protest against fee increases, which many students say will force poor black students further out of the education system. Protests have erupted regularly this year as students vent their anger over limited racial equality in education since the end of apartheid in 1994.
SINGAPORE, KONG HEE—The founder and head pastor of popular megachurch City Harvest Church was found guilty of misappropriating more than $35.5 million in donations to support his wife’s singing career, ABC News reports. He was convicted with five other church leaders. The State Court found that they stole 24 million Singapore dollars ($17 million) designated for building and investment-related purposes through sham bond investments, and that they used a further 26 million dollars ($18.5 million) to hide their first embezzlement.
“They were not genuine transactions because the accused persons controlled these transactions,” See Kee Onn, the presiding judge, said of the proceedings. “Evidence points to a finding that they knew that they were acting dishonestly, and I am unable to conclude otherwise.”
No date for sentencing has been set. They face a maximum of ten years in jail and a fine for falsifying accounts, and a maximum of a life sentence for criminal breach of trust.
SAUDI ARABIA—The New York Times reports that an activist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and barred from international travel for 10 years after that. The activist, Abel-Karim al-Khadar, is a professor of Islamic Studies from the conservative Qassim Province. He has been under arrest since April 2013 and has been charged with disobeying the ruler, founding a human rights organization and supporting protests. He was considered among the most vocal critics of religious extremism and militancy, and posted videos online giving lectures in support of women’s rights and religious coexistence. He is the third rights activist to be sentenced to prison in the past week.