The United States has rescinded its recent immigration policy requiring foreign students to leave the country if all their classes were to be taught online.
United States District Judge in Massachusetts, Allison Burroughs, announced this on Tuesday at a court hearing on a suit filed by two higher institutions against the policy.
Burroughs said the government had reached a settlement with the plaintiffs, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), to revert back to status quo.
The policy reversal comes exactly a week after it was announced and a day before the government’s deadline for universities to submit a change of plans by Wednesday.
On July 7, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would begin enforcement of in-person requirements on F-1 and M-1 visas.
It stated that foreign students would not be allowed to remain in the country if their institutions moved classes fully online.
The department said affected students would face “immigration consequences”, including deportation, if they failed to comply.
The rule, according to the agency, applied to holders of F-1 and M-1 visas, which are issued to academic and vocational students, respectively.
The announcement triggered a wave of opposition across the country, with Harvard and MIT being among the first critics to challenge it in court.
Many other lawsuits followed, including from a group of 18 states led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
New York, California and Washington filed separate suits in addition to Johns Hopkins University and the University of California public school network.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
New York prosecutor investigating Trump for fraud in fight over tax records
A New York prosecutor on Monday suggested he was investigating President Trump and his company for possible insurance and bank fraud – a much broader probe than previously known in an attempt to obtain Trump’s financial records.
District attorney Cyrus Vance made the disclosure in a court filing, arguing that Trump’s accounting firm should be forced to comply with a subpoena for his tax returns.
The subpoena is part of a grand jury investigation which until now was believed to focus on possible hush-money payments to two women who say they had affairs with the former real estate mogul.
The filing was in response to a bid by Trump’s lawyers last week to block the subpoena, calling it “wildly overbroad” and “issued in bad faith.”
Vance said Trump’s attorneys were relying on a false assumption that the investigation was limited to hush-money payments, without specifying the focus of the probe.
The district attorney said in the filing that “undisputed” news reports about “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organisation” made it clear there was a legal basis for the subpoena.
In early July, the United States Supreme Court rejected Trump’s claims of presidential immunity in criminal investigations, potentially paving the way for Vance to obtain the records.
The Supreme Court did not order the tax documents to be handed over, and the ruling indicated the president could try to fight the subpoenas in lower courts.
Trump has fought the subpoena for nearly a year and his lawyers have vowed to continue the battle in lower courts.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)
Nigeria’s candidate for WTO chief prioritizes fixing dispute settlement system if selected
Okonjo-Iweala, who is competing with seven other nominees for the position of director-general of the WTO, told Xinhua in a recent interview that her top priorities if selected, would be preparing for the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) in Kazakhstan in 2021.
She also hoped to work on restoring the dispute settlement system and updating the WTO’s rule book.
The WTO’s dispute settlement body is currently paralysed.
The Appellate Body, considered as the Supreme Court for global trade disputes, is supposed to have seven judges and needs a minimum of three judges to function.
The United States administration has been blocking new appointments for more than two years, with United States officials claiming that the court had gone beyond its remit.
“I would be focusing, if I get the job, on the dispute settlement system because this is the fundamental pillar of the WTO,’’ Okonjo-Iweala said.
“If you have a rules-based organisation, you must have a place where rules are arbitrated and that’s what happens with the dispute settlement system.
“So, restoring that will be a top priority as well.’’
She also had a 25-year career at the World Bank, including as a managing director.
The candidate, who also sits on the board of Twitter and the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, said she was confident to win the selection process and that she would be a listener-in-chief as well as a tough negotiator.
“I have strong political skills and negotiation skills.
“I think that’s very much needed; I am a consensus-builder and I’m a good listener too.’’
The candidate showed her confidence to “find a way to unlock the seeming division’’ on the trade side, between China and the United States, underlining that finding areas of mutual interest and to build trust within the WTO trading system would be important.
“Actually, if you listen to the two members, they have some things in common,’’ Okonjo-Iweala added.
“The dispute settlement system of the WTO is valued by both, they want it to reform, they don’t want it to disappear.’’
“I think the best thing China can do is to recover quickly.
“Because it’s one of the engines of growth in the world and it’s almost a quarter of world trade,’ she told Xinhua.
“So, if it recovers quickly, it means that it can help the rest of the world recover.
“So, that’s the role I would see for China.’’
Roberto Azevedo, the incumbent WTO chief, announced in May that he will officially leave his post on Aug. 31, a year before his term expires.
The second phase of the selection process, in which the candidates “make themselves known to members’’, will end on Sept. 7 and then the General Council chairperson will consult with all WTO members before making the final decision.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
United States judge whose son was killed by gunman speaks out
A United States Federal Judge whose son was killed and husband wounded by a gunman disguised as a FedEx driver detailed her last moments with her only child in an emotional video posted online.
“Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant and my family will never be the same,” United States District Judge Esther Salas said in the video posted to YouTube on Monday.
The attack on Salas’ family in New Jersey happened July 19. The accused gunman, attorney Roy Den Hollander, was later found dead in an apparent suicide in upstate New York.
He is described as an anti-feminist lawyer, and officials said Salas had recently presided over one of his cases.
That morning the Salas family was getting ready to clean up after a party. They had just celebrated her son’s 20th birthday.
“Daniel always wanted to spend his birthdays with his dad and me so he asked that we host a party for a few of his Catholic University of America friends,” she says in the video.
Despite the pandemic, they agreed.
“We thought we could adhere to safety guidelines,” she says.
After going to church with her husband, Salas said she went alone to the basement to wake up her son.
“We were chatting, as we always do, and Daniel said, ‘Mom, let’s keep talking. I love talking to you, Mom,’” Salas says, struggling to hold back tears. “And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang.”
Her son ran upstairs. Moments later, she heard gunshots and screams.
“I later learned that this monster, who had a FedEx package in his hand, opened fire,” she says in the video, her voice shaking.
“But Daniel, being Daniel, protected his father and he took the shooter’s first bullet directly to the chest.”
Her son later died. Her husband, Mark Anderl, a 63-year-old criminal defense lawyer and former prosecutor, was shot three times, she explains. One bullet struck his chest, another his stomach, and the third his right forearm.
“While my husband is still in the hospital recovering from his multiple surgeries, we are living every parent’s worst nightmare,” she pauses for a moment, before adding: “Making preparations to bury our only child, Daniel.”
Salas noted that the gunman was easily able to find her personal information online. She then pleads for lawmakers to help protect the private details of federal judges, so no one else suffers the same fate as she and her family.
“My son’s death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench,” she says.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Missing sailors found in Micronesia thanks to SOS written in sand
dpa) Three missing sailors have been found on a tiny island in the western Pacific after they wrote an outsized SOS in the sand that was spotted from the air, according to a statement by Australia’s Defence Ministry.
The men were found on Sunday after they had been missing for three days and media reports say they are in good health.
Their call for help, written on the beach of Pikelot Island, 190 km west of where they had set out, was seen by Australian and United States aircraft, the statement said.
A ship, the HMAS Canberra, headed to the sailors’ aid and a helicopter landed on the beach, bringing water and food for the men and carrying out identity and health checks.
The men were reportedly sailing between the atolls Poluwat and Pulap, a journey of 42 km, when they veered off course and ran out of fuel.
Pikelot Island, which is only 450 metres long, is part of the Caroline Islands, a scattered archipelago in the western Pacific.
A Micronesian patrol vessel, FSS Independence, is heading to the island to pick up the men.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)