Israel’s parliament on Thursday adopted a law defining the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people, provoking fears it will lead to blatant discrimination against its Palestinian citizens.
The legislation, adopted by 62 votes to 55, makes Hebrew the country’s national language and defines the establishment of Jewish communities as being in the national interest.
The bill also strips Arabic of its designation as an official language, downgrading it to a “special status” that enables its continued use within Israeli institutions.
It stipulates that “Israel is the historic homeland of the Jewish people and they have an exclusive right to national self-determination in it”. It also states that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
“This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote.
Palestinian members of the Knesset have condemned the bill.
“It has passed a law of Jewish supremacy and told us that we will always be second-class citizens,” Ayman Odeh, the head of the Arab Joint List – an alliance of four predominantly Arab parties – said in a statement following the law’s passage.
Ahmed Tibi, one of the lawmakers, said: “I announce with shock and sorrow the death of democracy.”
Former China’s Justice Minister gets death sentence commuted to life imprisonment for bribery
Former China’s Justice Minister, Fu Zhenghua, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after a higher court suspended an earlier death sentence passed on him for taking bribes and “bending the law”.
Zhenghua’s death sentence was commuted to a life imprisinment term by the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Changchun on Thursday after a two-year reprieve.
According China state media, Zhenghua’s high-profile sentencing is part of a “sweeping anti-graft campaign which is coming three weeks before a key political meeting where President Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term.”
During the sentencing, the Intermediate People’s Court judge said the former Minister had abused his power while in a range of senior positions from 2005 to 2021.
“He is deprived of political rights for life and all personal property should be confiscated,” the judge said.
State prosecutors were able to establish that the 67-year-old Zhenghua had accepted bribes worth over 117 million yuan ($16.5 million) during a 16 year period he served in different capacities.
The State media reports that between 2014 and 2015, when he was head of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, Zhenghua hid evidence of suspected crimes committed by his brother, Fu Weihua, and failed to handle the case in accordance with the law.
“During his tenure as Beijing’s top cop, Fu is thought to have led the corruption investigation into Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief who was jailed in 2015 in one of the anti-graft campaign’s most high-profile cases.:
Zhenghua was a member of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and the Minister of Justice before entering semi-retirement in May 2020.
He had also served as the Deputy Director of the Social and Legal Affairs Committee on the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) when anti-graft authorities launched an investigation into his dealings last October.
Russia/Ukraine War: Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons, mobilises 300,000 reservist soldiers
Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has threatened to use nuclear weapons and mobilize 300,000 reservists soldiers amidst the ongoing war with Ukraine.
Putin in a pre-recorded video announced that he was calling up reserve soldiers to help in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
He however deferred implementing a nationwide conscription drive for the time being. Reservists with training and experience would be called to join up first, he continued.
Speaking on NATO nuclear threats against Russia and claiming to be at war with the West, which is trying to “weaken, divide and destroy” Russia, Putin boasted of Moscow’s superior nuclear weapons.“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all resources at our disposal,” Putin said.
“This is not a bluff,” he added
Meanwhile, also in the video, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed that 300,000 additional soldiers will be mobilized.
He added that Russia had 25 million men with military experience, saying that the current partial mobilization only covers about 1 percent of that number.
“We are not just fighting with Ukraine, but with the collective West,” Shoigu said. He added that 5,937 Russians had been killed in the war so far. This number is vastly below the country’s estimated losses, and the Ukrainians say they have “eliminated” more than 50,000 Russian personnel. Shoigu claimed that the Russians had killed 61,207 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 49,368.
In February, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II with around 7.3 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. It has also caused global food shortages.
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