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Canada announces ban on transgender discrimination

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MONTREAL — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced legislation Monday to protect transgender people from hate speech and discrimination, as debate rages in the United States over laws restricting their rights.

“Even today, despite all the obstacles we have overcome, the battles we have won, and the victories we have celebrated, we are still witnesses, and in some cases, victims of injustices,” Trudeau said in a speech at a Montreal event hosted by gay rights group Fondation Emergence.

“We must continue to demand true equality,” he said. “We must carry on the legacy of those who fought for justice by being bold and ambitious in our actions.”

The bill is to be officially unveiled by Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould on Tuesday, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.

It will add “gender identity” alongside race, religion, age, sex and sexual orientation as prohibited grounds for discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and add transgender persons to a list of groups protected from hate-mongering under the Criminal Code, according to Wilson-Raybould’s mandate letter from the prime minister.

The Canadian parliament’s previous attempts to pass similar legislation failed. But this time, due to a Liberal majority in the House, the measures are expected to pass easily.

Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was Canada’s justice minister when Ottawa introduced a Criminal Code amendment to decriminalize homosexuality. He famously commented at the time (two years before it became law): “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

In July, Justin Trudeau will be the first sitting prime minister to participate in a gay pride parade, in Montreal.

Following his speech, Fondation Emergence honoured him with an award for his promotion of gay rights, including allowing sexually active gay men to donate blood, and pardoning gay men who were convicted of gross indecency before homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969.

South of the border, meanwhile, a debate on equal rights in the United States has been raging over a flurry of initiatives targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities since a historic Supreme Court decision last year legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

Last week, the US federal government and North Carolina’s governor launched dueling lawsuits over a state law restricting transgender Americans’ use of public restrooms.

AFP

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Tourist arrivals jumped 73.5 percent in July

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KATHMANDU — Tourist arrivals to Nepal jumped 73.5 percent in the month of July, according to statistics released by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).

The NTB said that this increment is because of a sharp increase in the number of travellers from countries like India, China, the US and the UK. The growth in the numbers has also been attributed to Indian pilgrims visiting Mount Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet, via Nepal.

The statistics show that Nepal received a whopping 73,285 international tourists in July—a time of the year that is considered to be an off-season for tourists due to the monsoons. With July’s figures, the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal in the first seven months (January–July) of 2018 reached 593,299, which is an increase of 18 percent as compared to the same period last year.

Total 18,385 Indian tourists visited Nepal via air transport, which is up 80.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

After India, Nepal received the highest number of visitors from China. The Chinese tourist numbers have more than doubled to 13,123 in the month of July. This is a 125.4 percent growth in comparison to the arrivals in the same month last year.

Overall arrivals from SAARC countries registered a growth of 66 percent, in comparison to the same month last year. However, arrivals from Bangladesh declined by nine percent. Arrivals from rest of the Asian countries have also recorded a robust growth of 86.2 percent.

Visitors from Japan and South Korea to Nepal also increased by 36 percent and 21.9 percent respectively.

Likewise, an overall increase of 54.1 percent in July has been recorded from European source markets. However, arrivals from Austria declined by 72.6 percent.

The number of visitors from the US and Canada have also grown by 79.6 percent and 73.3 percent respectively.

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