U.S. Senate Republican leader threatens 'reexamining' U.S.-China relationship

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday threatened to reexamine the U.S.-Chinese relationship if Beijing pursues a “further crackdown” on Hong Kong, after China was set to impose new national security legislation on the former British colony.

“A further crackdown from Beijing will only intensify the Senate’s interest in reexamining the U.S.-China relationship,” McConnell said in a statement.

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Colorado Supreme Court rules U.S. Senate candidate doesn’t belong on ballot after all

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday overturned a lower court decision to put Senate candidate Michelle Ferrigno Warren’s name on the June 30 Democratic primary ballot, siding with the Secretary of State’s Office.

After Ferrigno Warren fell short of collecting the required signatures to get on the ballot she sued, alleging the coronavirus had unfairly hampered signature-gathering efforts. A Denver District Court judge ruled in her favor, and Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold appealed the decision.

Warren turned in 5,383 valid signatures March 17. U.S. Senate candidates are required to collect at least 10,500 valid signatures — 1,500 from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

Because Ferrigno Warren didn’t collect 1,500 signatures in six of seven congressional districts, the Supreme Court determined that the Secretary of State’s Office made the right call. The Election Code, according to the ruling, requires strict compliance.

The same Denver judge ruled last week that Lorena Garcia, another Democrat who fell well short of the required signatures, also should be allowed on the ballot, but ruled against Diana Bray, a third candidate, as she gathered far fewer signatures than the other two.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Refugee women face greater violence risk during crisis: UNHCR

Displaced women could end up confined with their abusers or forced into survival sex after loss of their livelihoods.

Displaced women and girls are facing a heightened risk of gender-based violence during the coronavirus crisis, the United Nations refugee agency has said.

The UNHCR warned on Monday refugee and migrant women may also be forced into “survival sex” or child marriages.

More:

  • Displaced families in Myanmar’s Kachin fear coronavirus threat

  • Time is running out to protect refugees from a coronavirus crisis

  • Global surge of domestic violence since coronavirus lockdowns

Lockdowns imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 have restricted movement and led to the mass closure of services.

“We need to pay urgent attention to the protection of refugee, displaced and stateless women and girls at the time of this pandemic,” said Gillian Triggs, the UNHCR assistant high commissioner for protection.

“They are among those most at-risk. Doors should not be left open for abusers and no help spared for women surviving abuse and violence.”

She said displaced women could end up confined with their abusers, while others, having lost their precarious livelihoods, “may be forced into survival sex, or child marriages by their families”, said Triggs. 

The restrictions imposed in many countries in response to the coronavirus pandemic mean limited access to support services, said the UNHCR.

It said some safe shelters had been temporarily suspended.

To counter the risk, the UNHCR is distributing emergency cash to survivors and women deemed to be at risk of gender-based violence.

Triggs said governments should ensure that the “rising risks of violence” for displaced women are taken into account in their COVID-19 action plans.

One measure could be ensuring that services for survivors of gender-based violence are designated as essential and remain accessible.


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