Wednesday February 20, 2019
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David Cameron: Will investigate possible racial bias in courts

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London: David Cameron, British Prime Minister asked his lawmakers to investigate possible racial bias against black defendants and other ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system of the country.

At present, black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) individuals make up more than a quarter of prisoners, compared to 14 percent of the wider population of England and Wales, according to statistics released by Downing Street, Xinhua reported.

Latest figures also show that BAME people make up a disproportionate 24 percent of Crown Court defendants, and those found guilty are more likely to receive custodial sentences than white offenders.

“If you’re black, you’re more likely to be in a prison cell than studying at a top university. And if you’re black, it seems you’re more likely to be sentenced to custody for a crime than if you’re white. We should investigate why this is and how we can end this possible discrimination,” Cameron said in a statement.

The Prime Minister has appointed David Lammy, a member of parliament, to lead a review of the criminal justice system in England and Wales to investigate evidence of possible bias against black defendants and other ethnic minorities.

Lammy was asked to report back in the spring of 2017 and provide recommendations to reduce the proportion of BAME individuals in the criminal justice system and make sure that all suspects and offenders are treated equally.

The review will consider BAME people’s treatment and outcomes to identify and help tackle potential bias or prejudice, according to Downing Street.

It will address issues arising from the point of arrest onwards, including through the court system, in prisons and during rehabilitation in the wider community.(IANS)

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US President Donald Trump Doubts Lawmakers Will Reach Border Wall Deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump's offer was a "non-starter"

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Americans Losing faith in government. VOA

US President Donald Trump said that he doubts lawmakers will reach a deal over the new border wall funding that he will accept and said he would build it anyway with emergency powers if necessary, the Wall Street Journal said in a report.

Donald Trump said he thinks the chances of a new deal being reached before the government shuts down again because of lack of funding in less than three weeks are “less than 50-50”, CNN quoted the Journal report as saying on Sunday.

Another government shutdown is “certainly an option”, Trump said.

Trump’s reported comments come after the longest government shutdown in US history ended on Friday.

The shutdown that began on December 22 lasted for more than a month and led to hundreds of thousands of government employees missing two paychecks as Trump demanded new funding for the US-Mexico border wall, which Democrats refused.

The agreement Donald Trump signed on Friday that temporarily reopened the government does not provide any new money for the wall.

Trump, Shutdown
Donald Trump. VOA

When asked by the Journal if he would accept less than $5.7 billion to build the wall, Trump said: “I doubt it… I have to do it right.”

Donald Trump told the Journal that he doubts he would agree to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US illegally when they were children, known as Dreamers, in exchange for new border wall funding.

“That’s a separate subject to be taken up at a separate time,” he said.

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Last week, the President offered temporary protection for some undocumented immigrants in exchange for $5.7 billion for his wall, but Democrats swiftly rejected the proposal, CNN reported.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s offer was a “non-starter”.

When asked by the Journal about the kind of barrier he would accept on the southern border, Trump said: “I have to see what it is. As long as it can stop criminals, gangs, human trafficking and drugs, I’m open to anything. But the only thing that will work is a very strong form of physical barrier.” (IANS)