Global News - Reuters/Oct. 23, 2018

World & Canadian News

  • Titanic ll set to sail in 2022

  • French ban on full-face Islamic veil

Titanic ll set to sail in 2022 along the same ill-fated route, promising ‘an authentic Titanic experience’

By Adam Fisk/Global News/Oct. 23, 2018

A replica of the ill-fated ship Titanic is set to sail in 2022, following the same route as the original ship, while boasting of an “authentic Titanic experience.”

Spearheaded by Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer, shipping company Blue Star Line announced its plans to have the Titanic II completed and sailing within the next four years.

“Blue Star Line will create an authentic Titanic experience, providing passengers with a ship that has the same interiors and cabin layout as the original vessel, while integrating modern safety procedures, navigation methods and 21st century technology to produce the highest level of luxurious comfort,” Palmer said in a statement. “Titanic II is a unique project that will generate unprecedented international exposure and public interest.”

Palmer originally announced his plans to build a replica of the doomed original in 2012, with the hope of having it set sail by 2016. However, the plans were put on hold over a financial dispute.

The planned $500-million replica will be built to the same size dimensions of the Titanic, and will carry over 2,400 passengers and about 500 crewmembers.

This time around, Titanic II will have enough lifeboats for everyone onboard in the event of a tragedy. According to Blue Line, the ship will have 18 fully enclosed, motor driven lifeboats, each with a capacity of up to 250 people.

“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York, but she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivalled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits,” Palmer said. “In 1912 the Titanic was the ship of dreams. For over a century Titanic’s legend has been powered by mystery, intrigue and respect for all she stood for.”

On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank in the early morning hours after striking an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland, just four days into its maiden voyage, claiming the lives of over 1,500 people. 

French ban on full-face Islamic veil violates human rights: U.N. panel

By Tom Miles/Reuters/Oct. 23, 2018

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. Human Rights Committee said on Tuesday that France’s ban on the niqab, the full-face Islamic veil, was a violation of human rights and called on it to review the legislation.

France had failed to make the case for its ban, the committee said, and gave Paris 180 days to report back to say what actions it had taken.

“In particular, the Committee was not persuaded by France’s claim that a ban on face covering was necessary and proportionate from a security standpoint or for attaining the goal of ‘living together’ in society,” it said.

The panel of 18 independent experts oversees compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Implementation of its decisions is not mandatory, but under an optional protocol of the treaty, France has an international legal obligation to comply “in good faith”.

A French foreign ministry spokesman said the law was legitimate, necessary and respected religious freedom. The ban applies to hiding one’s face, not to any type of religious clothing that leaves the face uncovered, he told reporters.

RISK OF MARGINALIZATION

The French spokesman also pointed out that both France’s constitutional court and the European Court of Human Rights, whose rulings are binding, had upheld the full-face veil ban, saying it did not violate religious freedom.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee disagreed with this in its statement on Tuesday, saying the ban disproportionately harmed the right of women to manifest their religious beliefs and could lead to them being confined at home and marginalized.

The committee’s findings follow complaints by two French women convicted in 2012 under a 2010 law stipulating that “No one may, in a public space, wear any article of clothing intended to conceal the face”.

In its findings the panel called on France to pay the two women compensation.

Under the ban, anyone wearing the full-face veil in public is liable to a fine of 150 euros ($170) or lessons in French citizenship. According to Metronews media, 223 fines were handed out in 2015 for wearing a full veil in public.

Other countries in Europe have introduced legislation on Islamic dress. Denmark’s parliament enacted a ban on wearing of face veils in public in May. Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have also imposed some restrictions on full-face veils in public places.

France has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million or more out of a population of 67 million. The place of religion and religious symbols worn in public can be a matter of controversy in the staunchly secular country.

The U.N. Human Rights Committee came to similar conclusions on the 2008 case of a woman sacked by a creche for wearing a veil. In September, a top French judge was quoted by newspaper Le Monde as saying that while not binding, the panel’s decisions might still influence French case law.