Google sued over gender discrimination

California (USA), September 15: Three former female employees of Alphabet Inc’s Google have filed a lawsuit against the tech giant alleging discrimination in pay and promotions against women.

Kelly Ellis, a former employee of Google, has filed the lawsuit over discrimination against the female staff in salaries, promotions, and advancement opportunities as compared to men. Hired in 2010, Ellis was appointed at a college graduate level even though she had despite having an experience of four years.

The other plaintiffs, apart from Ellis include Holly Pease (hired in 2005), and Kelli Wisuri (hired in 2012) echo Ellis’ allegations of bias against women in promotions. Despite years of experience in their respective fields, the plaintiffs allege of starting their jobs in Google at lower levels as compared to their male colleagues. All of them stated their reason for resignation being “lack of opportunities for advancement for women”.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status covering women working in the largest search engine for the last four years. Filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the lawsuit comes at a time when Google is already facing an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor in sex bias in pay practices.

Google had earlier made headlines when a memo written by a senior Google employee, James Damore criticized diversity programs, giving out the reason for the underrepresentation of women in Google as being biological. Google later fired him.

News Sources- BBC, Reuters

Taiwanese Premier resigns to restore President’s popularity

Taipei (Taiwan), September 4: Taiwanese Premier Lin Chuan resigned on earlier on Monday, September 4, as a result of the plummeting popularity of President Tsai Ing-wen. According to an official statement released by the President’s party, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Lin had offered his resignation on September 4, saying that he had “accomplished his periodic tasks”.

Tsai had been facing downfall in her popularity among the masses, dropping from 70% in 2016 (when she assumed power) to 30%, according to some recent polls. Many of her supporters in the DPP blamed Premier Lin for this fall, with his own support falling to a record low of 19%.

In Taiwan, the President’s office holds more power, being the commander-in-chief as well as the head of the state. Premier of Taiwan is appointed by the President, while the cabinet is nominated by the Premier. After Lin’s ouster, a major reshuffle is expected in the cabinet, with the Mayor of Tainan city, the oldest city on the island of Taiwan, William Lai expected to be Lin’s successor.

Taiwan, or more formally, the Republic of China (ROC) maintains its sovereignty despite strong opposition and backlash of China (People’s Republic of China). As of now, there are no official communication channels between PRC and ROC, the latter firm on Taiwan’s independence from the former.

Local body elections are scheduled in 2018 in Taiwan.

 

Sources: Reuters, Indian Express

SC stays Triple Talaq, orders government to frame new law

The Supreme Court of India ruled against the controversial practice of instant ‘Triple Talaq’ among Muslims on August 22. A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar announced their judgement amidst heavy anticipation across the entire nation. The bench stayed the exercise of triple talaq for next six months during which, acting on its order, the Parliament will frame up a new law replacing this practice.

The ruling was delivered by an all-male bench consisting of judges of different faiths; three of the five judges ruled in favor of the abolishment of triple talaq, overruling even the Chief Justice. Justices Kurian Joseph, Rohington Nariman and UU Lalit, said “what is sinful under religion cannot be valid under law.” They asserted that “since triple talaq is instant, it is irrevocable and the marital tie gets broken, and hence, violates the right to equality.”

According to Quran, a waiting period is required before each pronouncement of divorce. However, it is now a common practice to make all three pronouncements in one sitting. This has led to numerous controversies over the years, with Muslim women being divorced and deserted by their husbands in an instant for varied reasons.

Shayara Bano, who was one of the many divorced women who had filed a petition against the 1400-year-old practice was delighted and felt liberated. “Finally, I feel free today,” she said to sources.

Sources: Reuters, India Today

Trump signs bill imposing sanctions on Russia

Washington, D.C., August 2: Following the passage of legislation imposing sanctions on Russia in the 115th U.S. Congress, President Donald Trump approved the law, albeit grudgingly, signing on the bill on August 2, 2017. He criticized the bill of consisting of “unconstitutional elements.”

Congress passed the legislation on July 25, 2017, with an overwhelming majority (419-3), imposing sanctions on North Korea and Iran along with Russia. Along with Russia’s energy sector, the sanctions include entities such as banks, weapons manufacturers, as well as those accused of interfering in the US Presidential Elections 2016. It also bars Trump from waiving the economic sanctions on Moscow without approval from Congress.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, while reacting to the passage of this bill, had ordered the US to cut the number of staff at its diplomatic mission by 755.

Interestingly, neither Trump nor Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was in favor of this bill. Trump was reported to have signed the bill for “the sake of national unity” by USA Today. “It represents the will of the American people to see Russia take steps to improve relations with the United States.” While Rex Tillerson said that, “neither the President nor I am very happy about that. We were clear that we didn’t think that was going to be helpful to our efforts, but that’s the decision they made.”

The bill, despite Trump’s reluctance, would have become a law because of the thumping majority it received in the Congress.

 

News Sources- RT, USA Today 

Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate Liu Xiaobo dies of terminal illness

Prominent Chinese political prisoner, and one of the strongest dissidents of the communist single-party rule in China, Liu Xiaobo, died on July 13 in the hospital while being treated for terminal liver cancer.

A literary critic, human rights activist, and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (2010), Liu Xiaobo was diagnosed with liver cancer on June 26, 2017, while serving his 11-year-term for his involvement in Charter 08, a pro-democracy manifesto that calls for the end of one-party rule in China. He died of multiple organ failure, according to an online announcement by the judicial bureau of City of Shenyang, reports Indian Express. 

Liu (61), while being the visiting scholar at Columbia University, was drawn to major pro-democracy protests happening in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square Protests of 1989. It was after these protests that Liu was imprisoned for his pro-democratic cause for the first time.

In 2010, when Liu earned his Nobel for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”, Chinese government condemned the act of the Norwegian-based committee, calling it a political farce. After being imprisoned for four times, his final prison sentence of 11-years was for co-authoring “Charter 08”- a document published in 2008 calling for end of single-party rule, garnering 10,000 signatures worldwide.

He is the third person to have been awarded Nobel Peace Prize while in prison, after Germany’s Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi (1991).

 

SOURCES:

INDIAN EXPRESS, THE GUARDIAN

IMAGE SOURCE: AFP

Long anticipated Trump-Putin meet to take place during G-20 Summit

U.S. President Donald Trump will be meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit taking place in the first week of July in Germany.

In a press briefing on June 29, White House National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster said that, “Next Wednesday (July 5), President Trump will first travel to Warsaw, Poland, and later to Hamburg, Germany for the G-20. While in Hamburg, the President will meet with many world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK PM Theresa May, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others.”

The White House, however, did not assert whether Trump would discuss the alleged Russian meddling in US Presidential Elections last year with Putin in their first ever meet since Trump assumed office. After being asked about Trump’s objective, McMaster replied that there is no specific agenda of these meetings. “It’s really going to be whatever the President wants to talk about,” he said.

Broaching the topic of climate change, Director of National Economic Council, Gary Cohn said that USA will not comply with a deal in which they have to cut down emissions while other countries continue to grow until 2030. “President Trump is going to ask for a fair and level playing field when it comes to Paris Climate Agreement,” he said.

The 12th G-20 Summit will be taking place on 7 and 8 July, 2017 in Hamburg, hosted by Chancellor Merkel.

 

Source: White House National Security Council press, New York Times

Tennis star Ramkumar ousted from Antalya Open

Antalya (Turkey), June 29: After rendering a brilliant win against Dominic Thiem, world No. 7, Indian tennis star Ramkumar Ramnathan suffered a loss against Cyprus’ Marcos Baghadatis in the quarter-final at ATP 250 Antalya Open.

In the quarterfinal that lasted for nearly three hours, Ramnathan, who hails from Chennai, gave Baghdatis a hard time until a final few points. He, however, could not prevail until the very end and lost to the experience of 2006 Australian Open finalist, Baghdatis. Ramnathan went down 7-6 (0), 3-6, 6-7 (8), losing in the tiebreaker round.

Earlier, on June 27, Ramnathan (world rank 222) had recorded a stupendous victory against Austria’s Dominic Thiem in the pre-quarterfinals – a straight set 6-3, 6-7, recording the biggest ever win in his incipient career. It was his first victory over a top-10 player, that brought him 38 places ahead in the world rankings.

Ramnathan (22), who entered the tournament through qualifiers, as against Thiem (top seed), had also defeated Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva 6-3, 6-4 in the first round.

Sources-

Hindustan Times-http://www.hindustantimes.com/tennis/ramkumar-ramanathan-goes-down-fighting-to-marcos-baghdatis-at-antalya-open/story-DhGpM1HnDSJrWUbXXUqh3I.html

Indian Express-http://indianexpress.com/article/sports/tennis/ramkumar-ramanathan-goes-down-fighting-in-antalya-open-quarterfinal-4727719/

 

Image Source-

AFP