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Kenya Dispatch: Controversial Bill Regulating IT Professionals Awaits President’s Signature – JURIST

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Last week, the Kenyan parliament passed the controversial Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Professionals Bill 2020. This is a bill that has returned to parliament time and time again despite being rejected in 2016, 2018 and 2020. Seeks to regulate people. that make use of technology to collect, process, use or submit information on behalf of others in exchange for a fee. The problem of the conflict arises from the way in which the parliament wishes to fulfill this objective. The bill states that in order for one to be an ICT professional in Kenya, one must have obtained a university degree or diploma or have completed a training program accepted by the council of the institute of ICT professionals. Additionally, professionals are expected to pay a fee before registering as certified professionals. The fact that one must have a degree or some form of recognized education is a source of fear for many ICT professionals. This is due to the fact that many ICT professionals in Kenya are self-taught. This is not surprising considering that it is now possible for people to educate themselves using various social media platforms such as YouTube, where people can share videos on how to perform various technical tasks. Therefore, it is unfair for the government to block such individuals. Many Kenyans have taken to Twitter and other social media platforms to voice their opposition to the bill. Many argued that platforms like Microsoft would not have existed if their creators had been blocked by their governments simply because they were uneducated. Ordinary citizens were not the only ones who expressed their distaste for the bill. Politicians such as Raila Odinga (Azimio la Umoja party leader) and Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru have also publicly rejected the bill and called on President Uhuru Kenyatta not to sign it. Both argue that if the bill becomes law, many Kenyans will lose their jobs. Furthermore, many bright individuals who could have made a difference in the ICT sector will be excluded due to such strict requirements. Despite the opposition, MPs who support the bill continue to argue that the bill will help reduce the amount of fraud in the industry thus benefiting the country in the long run. Also, there are ICT experts like Dr. Shem Ochuodho who support the bill. He argues that the bill will benefit the country and the only people who are against the bill are those who have benefited from the lack of structure in the ICT sector so far. As it stands, the bill has already been sent to President Kenyatta for his approval. Under Kenyan law, the president has 14 days to accept or reject the bill while he submits reservations about it to parliament. However, with the elections fast approaching, the parliament was officially closed until further notice on Thursday last week. This was done immediately after the bill was passed, so it will be very difficult for the president to reject the bill. It is unclear how the president will communicate his reservations, if any, and if he does not do so within the stipulated 14 days, the bill will automatically become law under article 116 of the Kenyan Constitution. .

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Uzbekistan: Protests in autonomous republic over proposed constitutional reform – JURIST

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Protests erupted in Nukus, the capital of Uzbekistan’s autonomous republic of Karakalpakstan, on Friday over a proposed constitutional reform. According to a statement from the government of the region: Despite the policy of openness and free expression of will followed by the Republic of Uzbekistan, on July 1, 2022 in Nukus, a criminal group of people organized illegal actions expressed in an attempt to take over the state. administrative bodies of the Republic of Karakalpakstan. The demonstrators were protesting the planned removal of the section of the current constitution that allows Karakalpakstan the right to secede from Uzbekistan by referendum. This has caused outrage among the ethnic Karakalpak, who make up the majority of the population of Karakalpakstan. Karakalpaks from neighboring Kazakhstan held a round table discussion on the proposed change. One speaker, Rustem Matekov, stated that the day of the referendum on the new version of the constitution will be “the day of the funeral of the people of the Republic of Karakalpakstan”. However, the president of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has challenged this view, saying: We, two peoples, have become one, we are blood relatives. Previously, the regions did not know the streets of Karakalpakstan or Nukus, but now we work as one people, the youth of Karakalpakstan achieve great results. […] I respect the Karakalpak people with all my heart and I can proudly say that I am a son not only of the Uzbeks, but also of the Karakalpak people. Removal is not the only proposal on the table. Other proposals include strengthening civil rights and extending the presidential term from five to seven years, which would allow Mirziyoyev to run again despite having served two consecutive terms.

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US Supreme Court overturns lower court injunctions on state abortion laws – JURIST

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On Thursday, the US Supreme Court struck down three orders issued by lower courts in Arizona, Indiana and Arkansas that had invalidated abortion at the state level based on Roe v. Wade. This follows the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe last Friday. The now-overturned Arizona ruling had stopped a state law criminalizing abortions performed on fetuses with non-lethal genetic abnormalities, of which Down syndrome is one. The injunction targeted relevant portions of four clauses of Senate Bill 1457, which makes it a felony for a physician to perform an abortion “knowing that the abortion is sought solely because of a genetic abnormality of the child.” The law also requires the doctor to sign an affidavit stating that the abortion is not performed for this reason and to inform the patient of the illegality of abortions due to genetic abnormalities. Finally, it requires doctors to inform the State when a genetic abnormality has been detected. This law was challenged in Brnovich v. Isaacson in 2021, and the injunction was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Arkansas’s 2019 ruling in Little Rock Planning Services v. Rutledge passed three laws that prohibited abortion in various circumstances. Arkansas Code, Title 20, Chapter 26, Law 493 prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies and pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. Law 619 prohibits all abortions solely on the basis of having a reason to believe that the fetus has Down syndrome, with the same exceptions. Law 700 requires that the person performing an abortion be a doctor licensed in obstetrics and gynecology. The federal court order of these laws was upheld by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In Indiana, a 2017 ruling in the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky had mandated a law that prohibited abortions before 20 weeks in several cases. . The law, Indiana Code Chapter 16-34-4, prohibits abortions before 20 weeks if the abortion was for demographic, sexual, or fetal disability reasons. Specifically, abortion is prohibited if sought because of the possibility of a genetically inherited disease, defect, or disorder, whether or not it has been screened for or any risk is present. This includes, but is not limited to, Down syndrome and any mental, physical and intellectual disabilities. Abortions related to the sex of the fetus, or its race, color, national origin, or ancestry, are also prohibited. The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit upheld the injunction. The three laws imposed by the precautionary measures will take effect immediately. These cases will be sent back to the lower court for further proceedings.

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US Supreme Court denies Alaska Airlines request for exemption from state labor laws – JURIST

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The United States Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from Alaska Airlines Inc. seeking a waiver of a California law requiring in-flight meals and rest, upending an earlier decision that sided with the United States. flight attendants in a battle for federal and state jobs. laws. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in its July 2021 decision Virgin America, Inc. v. Julia Bernstein, that the airline, which later merged with Alaska Airlines, had to comply with California state law in addition to federal regulations for flights within the state. Bernstein, a flight attendant, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of California workers, alleging violations of state labor laws. This included a law requiring workers to have a 30-minute off-duty meal and a break after working five hours. The federal Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 did not preempt state law requiring rest and meal breaks. The airline group argued that the state law had a “significant impact on airline prices, routes and services” as more attendants and staff would have to be hired to meet the state’s rest requirements. The rejection of the request of the airlines can have lasting consequences. for the aviation industry, as well as state and federal labor regulations. The court’s decision also follows the guidance of the Biden Administration, as the Justice Department filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the flight attendants and instructed the court not to review the case or send it back to the appeals court.

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