STATE SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOR OF GUN TAX
SEATTLE» The state Supreme Court ruled to uphold Seattle’s tax on gun and ammunition sales, according to an opinion issued Thursday morning.
The justices ruled 8-1 to affirm a previous decision by the King County Superior Court, which sided with the city against opponents, including the National Rifle Association.
The city has been imposing the tax of $25 per firearm and 2 or 5 cents per round of ammunition for more than a year and a half, after City Council passage in 2015.
Smugglers throw some 280 migrants into the sea off Yemen.
Smugglers have thrown approximately 280 migrants into the sea off the coast of Yemen in the past two days, causing more than 50 to drown and leaving over 30 missing, the U.N. migration agency said Thursday.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the migrants who were forced from boats in two separate “deeply troubling” incidents were hoping to reach countries in the Gulf via wartorn Yemen.
The International Organization for Migration said Wednesday that up to 50 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia were “deliberately drowned” by a smuggler off Yemen. The U.N. agency said 160 Ethiopian migrants were violently forced into the Arabian Sea on Thursday.
Election dispute intensifies with conflicting claims.
KENYA» A dispute over NAIROBI,
Kenya’s presidential election intensified Thursday when supporters of opposition leader Raila Odinga said an unofficial tally showed that he won — a claim that conflicted with a provisional official result that put incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta in the lead. Although most of the East African nation was calm after Tuesday’s vote, scattered clashes broke out between police and opposition supporters.
The uncertainty has left Kenya in political limbo, as its people await final results that they hope will dissipate tensions over vote-rigging allegations and preserve the long-term stability that has made the country a commercial hub.
Politicians blocking people on social media ignites debate.
CITY» An emerging debate about whether elected officials violate people’s free speech rights by blocking them on social media is spreading across the U.S. as groups sue or warn politicians to stop the practice.
The American Civil Liberties Union this week sued Maine Gov. Paul LePage and sent warning letters to Utah’s congressional delegation. It followed recent lawsuits against the governors of Maryland and Kentucky and President Donald Trump.
Trump’s frequent and often unorthodox use of Twitter and allegations he blocks people with dissenting views has raised questions about what elected officials can and cannot do on their official social media pages.
Politicians at all levels increasingly embrace social media to discuss government business, sometimes at the expense of traditional town halls or in-person meetings.
Canadian diplomat in Cuba also suffered hearing loss.
The Canadian government said Thursday that at least one of its diplomats in Cuba also has been treated for hearing loss after disclosures that a group of American diplomats in Havana suffered severe hearing loss that U.S. officials believe was caused by an advanced sonic device. Global Affairs Canada spokeswoman Brianne Maxwell said Canadian officials “are aware of unusual symptoms affecting Canadian and U.S. diplomatic personnel and their families in Havana. The government is actively working — including with U.S. and Cuban authorities — to ascertain the cause.”