12 Nov

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Welfare official confirms there were no issues with April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce’s care but judge ordered child be placed with a heterosexual couple

Utah child welfare officials are considering how to challenge the judge’s order that a lesbian couple cannot continue to foster a baby girl.

Utah child welfare officials are considering how to challenge the judge’s order that a lesbian couple cannot continue to foster a baby girl. Photograph: David Poller/ZUMA Press/Corbis

Utah state child welfare officials on Wednesday were wrangling with a ruling by a juvenile court judge who ordered a baby to be taken from lesbian foster parents and instead placed with a heterosexual couple, saying it was for the child’s well being.

Judge Scott Johansen’s order on Tuesday raised concerns at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said agency spokeswoman Ashley Sumner.

Its attorneys plan to review the decision and determine what options they have to challenge the order.

The ruling came during a routine hearing for April Hoagland and Beckie Peirce. They are part of a group of same-sex married couples who were allowed to become foster parents in Utah after a US supreme court ruling made gay marriage legal across the country, Sumner said.

State officials estimate there are a dozen or more foster parents who are married same-sex couples.

Hoagland and Peirce told KUTV they were distraught after the ruling, which called for the baby girl they have been raising for three months to be taken away within a week.

They said Johansen cited research that children did better when raised by heterosexual couples, but Hoagland said the judge was imposing his religious beliefs.

“We are shattered,” she told the Salt Lake City TV station. “It hurts me really badly because I haven’t done anything wrong.”……………..


  • Undocumented Rosa Robles Loreto reached deal with government
  • Deportation proceedings began after routine traffic stop
Rosa Robles Loreto, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who took sanctuary inside an Arizona church more than a year ago to avoid deportation, leaves for her Tucson home.

Rosa Robles Loreto, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who took sanctuary inside an Arizona church more than a year ago to avoid deportation, leaves for her Tucson home. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

An immigrant woman who has spent 15 months living in a Tucson church has left its sanctuary after reaching an agreement with the government that allows her to stay in the US.

Rosa Robles Loreto, who moved into Southside Presbyterian church in August 2014, left its confines for the first time in more than a year on Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. She was one of several migrants who sought refuge in the church last year.

Robles Loreto’s case began in September 2010 when, on her way to work, she drove on the wrong side of traffic cones in a construction zone. The sheriff’s deputy who pulled her over called immigration agents, triggering deportation proceedings. She was held in detention for 53 days before being released, as the government began formal deportation proceedings.

Robles Loreto, a 42-year-old mother of two, had wide support in Tucson, with tens of thousands of signs with her photo placed on lawns and businesses. In June, she told the Guardian that living in the church has “been a struggle. It’s hard. I’m a little tired.”…………….



More than 60 European and African leaders are meeting in the Maltese capital Valletta against a backdrop of ever-widening policy divisions

Slovenian soldiers erect razorwire fences on the country’s border with Croatia

Slovenian soldiers erect razorwire fences on the country’s border with Croatia. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Aegean Airlines flight left Athens for Brussels at 8.30am last Wednesday, carrying six Syrian and Iraqi families to new lives in Luxembourg. On arrival, the 30 refugees were taken on a two-hour bus trip to the grand duchy to have their paperwork processed.

It was undoubtedly a big moment, not only for the men, women and children who made the short but treacherous crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands. Of the more than 600,000 people who have crossed into the EU by reaching Greece this year, these were the first to be registered, fingerprinted and then resettled elsewhere in Europe under the EU’s ambitious, if flagging, plan to use compulsory quotas to share 160,000 refugees.

It took the Luxembourg authorities two months to settle their newcomers. None of those lingering in Greece wanted to move to the EU’s wealthiest country in per capita terms, second globally only to Qatar. Luxembourg currently chairs the EU’s rotating presidency. Jean-Claude Juncker, its prime minister from 1995 to 2013, is head of the European commission and one the architects of the new quota system. So Luxembourg officials were keen to be seen to be doing their bit.

“Some of those selected to go to Luxembourg refused, because they all wanted to go to Germany,” Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for immigration, said.

People queue at a registration centre after crossing the border between Greece and Macedonia.

People queue at a registration centre after crossing the border between Greece and Macedonia. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

If refugees are refusing to go to Luxembourg, it will be a much taller order persuading them to go to Slovakia or Estonia.

The faltering start in Greece to sharing refugees in Europe highlights the EU’s multiple dilemmas, as leaders meet in Malta on Wednesday and Thursday for their fifth summit since June on the emergency.

The confusion, disputes and mudslinging of the past few months have opened up a fundamental question. Do they want a Europe of open or closed borders? The dilemma is embodied in the diametrically opposed policies of the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán……………..


Pledge comes after Spain’s ruling People’s party says constitution has safeguards to prevent individual states declaring laws that affect all Spaniards

The constitutional court in Madrid

The constitutional court in Madrid will hear the appeal to challenge the independence motion passed by Catalonia. Photograph: EPA

The Catalan government vowed on Wednesday to move forward with its secession process, defying orders from Spain’s top court and raising the stakes in the showdown playing out between the regional government and Madrid.

Earlier in the day, Spain’s constitutional court suspended the Catalan law that set out a path to independence, warning lawmakers in the region that they could face criminal charges if they defy the ruling.

The Catalan government responded swiftly, saying that the Catalan legislation was still in effect. “The political will of the government of Catalonia is to go ahead with the content of the resolution approved Monday by the Catalan parliament,” Neus Munté, vice president of the Catalan government, told reporters.

Munté pointed to the debate and vote that had preceded the passing of the Catalan legislation. “We are fulfilling and will continue to fulfil the mandate of a sovereign parliament,” she said.

In a special meeting on Wednesday, the court unanimously agreed to hear the central government’s challenge, filed hours earlier. The decision means the Catalan legislation will be suspended for up to five months while judges hear arguments and reach a decision.

Spain’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, described the Catalan legislation as an affront to democracy. He said of the government’s challenge: “It’s not just a reaction to a motion passed in parliament, this is about defending a whole country.”…………..


Photo highlights of the day: Armistice Day and a holy cow


Alrewas, England A poppy sits in the hand of a statue of a fallen soldier at the National Memorial Arboretum

Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images


County Durham, EnglandA rainbow appears above the sculpture Eleven ‘O’ One in Seaham

Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA



The United States has always been a terrible country to live in. I have no intention of going back

kyle do not use

‘America is not the best country in the world – nor was it ever in the past.’ Photograph: Kyle Canty

Black people or people of African descent living in the United States should consider seeking asylum in other countries. That’s what I did. On 24 September, I applied for asylum in Canada. We were brought to America as slaves, and the country hasn’t changed its ways at all since then.

Throughout my life, police departments have harassed me and made me fear for my life – this is something many other people of color will have experienced too.

If you’re black in the US you will always have to go through persecution and discrimination at some point in your life. Black Americans are killed in large numbers by the police, regularly denied the same education and access to housing as white Americans and face hurdles when trying to vote. All these forms of discrimination are racist – yet they continue nonetheless.

Applying for asylum has been in the back of my mind for a long time, especially since I started reflecting on my experiences in the United States of America and educating myself on black history.

I have been studying law for much time on my own, so it didn’t take very long for me to inform myself about the process of applying for asylum. The internet has become very powerful, and everything that I needed was just a click away.

The resources that I used included the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Handbook and the Refugee and Immigration Protection Act of Canada.

In my dossier, in which I built a case for my application, I included 18 exhibits describing the conditions of my country from a human rights perspective. All of the exhibits deal with racial disparities and police brutality and come from credible sources, such as the United Nations.

One exhibit, for example, is an article from PBS Newshour about a scathing United Nations report analyzing the current state of racial justice in the United States and which cited the fatal shooting of the unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. “Racial and ethnic discrimination remains a serious and persistent problem in all areas of life” said a UN representative about their findings.

On the day I left the United States for what I hoped would be the last time, I took a combination of trains and buses from Salem, Oregon, until I reached the Canadian border. I passed through customs and border patrol with a valid United States passport, and they allowed me to come into the country.

In Vancouver, at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, I handed in my asylum application, which is now under consideration. I had my first a hearing at the immigration court on 23 September 2015. The judge didn’t give me any specific time or day that he would make his decision. But, given the legal package I put together, I think he is going to have a hard time just flat out rejecting my asylum claim………………

supreme court



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