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SC rules Rwanda asylum policy unlawful

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The government’s Rwanda asylum policy, which it says is needed to tackle small boats, is in disarray, after the UK’s highest court ruled it is unlawful.

The Supreme Court upheld a Court of Appeal ruling, which said the policy leaves people sent to Rwanda open to human rights breaches.

It means the policy cannot be implemented in its current form.

Rishi Sunak signalled he is not willing to give up on the plan, and has set out measures he says will revive it.

The controversial plan to fly asylum seekers to Rwanda and ban them from returning to the UK has been subject to legal challenges since it was first announced by Boris Johnson in April 2022.

The government has already spent £140m on the scheme but flights were prevented from taking off in June last year after the Court of Appeal ruled the approach was unlawful due to a lack of human rights safeguards.

Now that the UK’s most senior court has agreed, the policy’s chances of being realised without major revisions are effectively ended.

But Mr Sunak told MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions that he was ready to finalise a formal treaty with Rwanda and would be “prepared to revisit our domestic legal frameworks” in a bid to revive the plan.

A treaty – which Downing Street has said it will publish in the “coming days” – would upgrade the agreement between the UK and Rwanda from its current status as a “memorandum of understanding”, which the government believes would put the arrangement on a stronger legal footing.

(BBC News)

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Indian elections begin

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Indians begin voting today to choose their next parliament in the first of seven voting days that end on June 01.
Almost a billion people are eligible to cast their ballot.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is aiming for a rare third consecutive term in power.

Several key opposition parties, including the Congress, have formed an alliance in many states to take on Mr Modi’s party.

The big issues include a jobs crisis, rising prices, a crackdown on dissent and the opposition, and the politics of religion.

Results will be announced on June 04.

(BBC News)

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Flights at Dubai airport diverted amid flash floods

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Heavy rain has battered some Gulf states, causing flash flooding across the region and leading to flights to the world’s busiest international airport being diverted.

Dubai Airport said operations were “temporarily diverted” – though they have since restarted.

Authorities in Oman said at least 18 people had been killed by floods.

Several states recorded nearly a year’s worth of rain in a day.

Unverified video from Dubai International Airport appeared to show jets leaving waves in their wake as they made their way down flooded runways.

In a statement, the airport said inbound flights due to arrive on Tuesday evening had been diverted “due to the continued exceptional weather event currently being experienced in the UAE”.

Departures would continue to operate, it added. Flights later restarted after an interruption of about two hours.

On Tuesday morning, the UAE’s National Centre of Meteorology issued a weather warning for large swathes of the country, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah.

The Gulf region is usually known for hot and dry weather, though heavy rains causing flooding have also occurred with greater regularity in recent years.

(BBC News)

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Sydney church stabbing treated as ‘terrorist act’

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Australian police have declared Monday’s stabbing at a church in Sydney a “terrorist act”.

A 15-year-old boy was arrested after a bishop and several churchgoers were stabbed during the sermon.

The incident happened in the evening at the Christ The Good Shepherd Church in the suburb of Wakeley.

At least four people were stabbed but police say none of their injuries were life-threatening. The incident triggered unrest.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the church, clashing with police – two of whom were injured.

Twenty police vehicles were damaged – with 10 left unusable.

Chief commissioner Karen Webb said those involved in the riots would be hunted by police, describing the actions as “unacceptable”.

New South Wales Premier Chris Minns said: “I convened a meeting of faith leaders representing major religious organisations across Western Sydney.

“And their message to their communities was universal and identical, and that is that they deplore violence in all forms that they have faith in the New South Wales police to undertake their investigation.

“They call for peace amongst all communities in Sydney, and most importantly, that people remain calm during this obviously distressing period.”

Paramedics had to retreat for cover in the church and were “holed up” there for more than three hours.’

(BBC News)

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