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Canada's conservatives say House of Commons should be considered an 'essential service'
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Canada's conservatives say House of Commons should be considered an 'essential service'

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 24 May 2020, 08:14 am

Ottawa/IBNS: Amidst continuing discussion by Canada's political parties on bringing back Parliament, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that regardless of the decision by all parties, the parliament would continue to function with a reduced number of members physically present three times a week for some time, media reports said.

Under the leadership of Andrew Scheer, the Conservatives had been pushing for Parliament to return to normal functions on Monday saying virtual committee meetings are not a replacement for Parliament.

The Conservatives said that the House of Commons should be considered an "essential service" with the goal of accommodating about 50 MPs at once and there should be a plan for voting and a way for all committees to hold virtual meetings with the same powers they have during in-person meetings.

The House, which was adjourned since March because of the global pandemic has resumed only to pass legislation on emergency financial benefits is scheduled to return Monday, and an agreement would be reached among the parties on how the proceedings will unfold.

A special committee of 338 MPs formed to deal only with matters related to COVID-19 had been meeting twice a week virtually and in-person on Wednesdays.

According to the House Speaker's office, there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 linked to in-person House sittings or committee meetings to date.

"Any suspected case of COVID-19 within the House of Commons community is monitored very closely, in keeping with a protocol established based on advice from public health officials," said Spokesperson Heather Bradley and added normal service levels are not required for recent sittings of the House or committee meetings.

(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm