International News

Hawaii judge blocks Donald Trump’s latest travel ban hours before it was to go into effect

The White House is likely to appeal against the ruling, which it called ‘dangerously flawed’.

A federal judge in the United States on Tuesday blocked the implementation of President Donald Trump’s latest travel ban, just hours before it was set to go into full effect, The Washington Post reported.

US District Judge Derrick K Watson from Hawaii said Trump’s order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor” and “plainly discriminates based on nationality”. The judge noted that the ban on travellers from eight nations does not show that people coming from these countries would be detrimental to the US.

The latest ban, which was supposed to go into effect early on Wednesday, restricted travellers from North Korea, Venezuela, Chad, Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The government said that embassies and consulates across the world had been told to process visas for people from six countries regularly, but it would implement the order for people from Venezuela and North Korea.

The US administration is likely to appeal against Watson’s ruling, the report said. The White House called the judgment “dangerously flawed” and said it “undercuts the president’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States”.

The US Department of Justice will vigorously defend the travel order, which is vital to ensure that foreign nations “comply with the minimum security standards required for the integrity of our immigration system and the security of our nation”, the White House said. “We are, therefore, confident that the judiciary will ultimately uphold the president’s lawful and necessary action and swiftly restore its vital protections for the safety of the American people.”

The earlier travel order, which came into effect on June 30, barred visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US. On September 25, the government had decided that besides adding three countries to the order, Iraqis will have to face increased vetting procedures. Restrictions on citizens from Sudan were also lifted.

The ban was scaled back since it was first implemented and blocked by courts in January. There were massive protests and a lot of confusion at US airports after Trump brought the first ban in place, mostly because immigration officers were not allowing anyone in from certain countries, even those with legitimate reasons, green cards and residence permits.

Trump has insisted that the ban is to protect the US from terrorism and to allow immigration officials to vet those entering the US more closely. But his efforts have been seen as part of a separate agenda. While campaigning for presidency, Trump had called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims” entering the US.

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Virat Kohli and Ola come together to improve Delhi's air quality

The onus of curbing air-pollution is on citizens as well

A recent study by The Lancet Journal revealed that outdoor pollution was responsible for 6% of the total disease burden in India in 2016. As a thick smog hangs low over Delhi, leaving its residents gasping for air, the pressure is on the government to implement SOS measures to curb the issue as well as introduce long-term measures to improve the air quality of the state. Other major cities like Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata should also acknowledge the gravitas of the situation.

The urgency of the air-pollution crisis in the country’s capital is being reflected on social media as well. A recent tweet by Virat Kohli, Captain of the Indian Cricket Team, urged his fans to do their bit in helping the city fight pollution. Along with the tweet, Kohli shared a video in which he emphasized that curbing pollution is everyone’s responsibility. Apart from advocating collective effort, Virat Kohli’s tweet also urged people to use buses, metros and Ola share to help reduce the number of vehicles on the road.

In the spirit of sharing the responsibility, ride sharing app Ola responded with the following tweet.

To demonstrate its commitment to fight the problem of vehicular pollution and congestion, Ola is launching #ShareWednesdays : For every ​new user who switches to #OlaShare in Delhi, their ride will be free. The offer by Ola that encourages people to share resources serves as an example of mobility solutions that can reduce the damage done by vehicular pollution. This is the fourth leg of Ola’s year-long campaign, #FarakPadtaHai, to raise awareness for congestion and pollution issues and encourage the uptake of shared mobility.

In 2016, WHO disclosed 10 Indian cities that made it on the list of worlds’ most polluted. The situation necessitates us to draw from experiences and best practices around the world to keep a check on air-pollution. For instance, a system of congestion fees which drivers have to pay when entering central urban areas was introduced in Singapore, Oslo and London and has been effective in reducing vehicular-pollution. The concept of “high occupancy vehicle” or car-pool lane, implemented extensively across the US, functions on the principle of moving more people in fewer cars, thereby reducing congestion. The use of public transport to reduce air-pollution is another widely accepted solution resulting in fewer vehicles on the road. Many communities across the world are embracing a culture of sustainable transportation by investing in bike lanes and maintenance of public transport. Even large corporations are doing their bit to reduce vehicular pollution. For instance, as a participant of the Voluntary Traffic Demand Management project in Beijing, Lenovo encourages its employees to adopt green commuting like biking, carpooling or even working from home. 18 companies in Sao Paulo executed a pilot program aimed at reducing congestion by helping people explore options such as staggering their hours, telecommuting or carpooling. After the pilot, drive-alone rates dropped from 45-51% to 27-35%.

It’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that the growth of a country doesn’t compromise the natural environment that sustains it, however, a substantial amount of responsibility also lies on each citizen to lead an environment-friendly lifestyle. Simple lifestyle changes such as being cautious about usage of electricity, using public transport, or choosing locally sourced food can help reduce your carbon footprint, the collective impact of which is great for the environment.

Ola is committed to reducing the impact of vehicular pollution on the environment by enabling and encouraging shared rides and greener mobility. They have also created flat fare zones across Delhi-NCR on Ola Share to make more environment friendly shared rides also more pocket-friendly. To ensure a larger impact, the company also took up initiatives with City Traffic Police departments, colleges, corporate parks and metro rail stations.

Join the fight against air-pollution by using the hashtag #FarakPadtaHai and download Ola to share your next ride.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Ola and not by the Scroll editorial team.