Organizers say this year’s Pink Dot SG, Singapore’s major annual LGBT event, was largest ever
  • Around 28,000 participated in Saturday’s seventh-annual event at Hong Lim Park.
  • The organizers hope that the growing numbers indicate growing acceptance in conservative Singapore and hope to expand into a larger venue in the near future.
  • Since its founding in 2009, Pink Dot has expanded to other major East Asian cities, including Taipei, Hong Kong, and Okinawa.

More on this story at Channel NewsAsia.

(Image Credit: Photo: Goh Chiew Tong, via Channel NewsAsia)

Luxembourg citizenship reform moves slowly through policy channels as policymakers continue retooling requirements
  • Proposals put forth in Parliament include automatic citizenship rights for Luxembourger youth turning 18 who have resided in the country for at least five years, lowered residency requirements for non-nationals from seven to five years, and the abolition of language testing for non-nationals in residence for at least 20 years.
  • Despite being announced in 2014, the Justice Ministry’s proposals have yet to be made public or completed.
  • A recent poll indicates that the Luxembourgish public is not in favor of the eased pathways to citizenship.

More on this story at the Luxembourg Wort.

(Image Credit: Anouk Antony/Luxembourg Wort)

U.K. PM David Cameron proposes new restrictions on non-EU skilled-worker immigration
  • With non-EU migration to the U.K. having increased to 290,000 in 2014, Cameron has proposed increasing the base salary threshold, further restricting eligible job functions and industries, and a “skills levy” on companies hiring non-nations to be put towards domestic apprenticeships.
  • Net migration stands at 318,000 and Cameron’s government hopes to get it below 100,000.
  • Some in the business community have complained that the government’s anti-immigration stance hurts the country’s global competitiveness and economic growth.

“We understand the public’s concerns around immigration, but limiting highly skilled workers from coming to the UK is not the answer. They bring their skills and ideas to this country, pay their taxes here and boost growth. We need to keep up-skilling our population, but at the same time as attracting the best and brightest global talent.”

More on this story at BBC.

(Image Credit: BBC)

Aspirational emigration, not violence or economic destitution, is sending large numbers of Senegalese abroad in search of opportunity
  • Senegal has seen a 123% emigration rate increase versus the same time period last year, with 1,187 leaving for destinations such as France (its former colonizer), Morocco, Latin America, and Turkey.
  • Senegalese emigrants, who have at times outnumbered refugees from war-torn countries like Syria and Eritrea along Mediterranean migration routes, are leaving a politically stable, economically growing country that has seen great improvements in citizens’ standard of living.
  • Remittances from abroad have comprised an increasing share of Senegal’s economy, allowing for the infrastructural improvements driving Senegal’s success.

“People don’t go because they have nothing, they go because they want better and more. It’s aspiration. …What is happening now is not that different from the time of slavery. We are losing the arms we need to build this country.”

More on this story at The Wall Street Journal.

(Image Credit: Mackenzie Knowles-Coursin/The Wall Street Journal)

Former Al Jazeera America executive files suit against the media organization and its CEO for maintaining a racist and sexist work environment
  • Shannon High-Bassalik, former VP of Programming and Communications, alleges the company favored Arab and male employees, creating a hostile work environment for non-Arab women and engaging in editorial interference that diminished the objectivity of its reporting.
  • The suit comes in the wake of similar legal action taken by another employee and the resignations of three other female executives, who also cited a discriminatory work environment as the cause of their departure.
  • Al Jazeera has responded, claiming High-Bassalik did not introduce her allegations during her pre-termination external performance review.

More on this story at CNN Money.

Report indicates dramatic spike in anti-Semitic incidents in Canada in 2014
  • The 1,627 reported incidents for the year represent a 28% increase over 2013, with harassment comprising 84% of reports, vandalism 15%, and violence 1% of reported activity.
  • Ontario had the most reports of anti-Semitism (960) followed by Quebec and Atlantic Canada (259).
  • Major spikes coincided with Israel’s campaign in Gaza and the December holiday season, both of which are consistent with previous spikes.

“In 2014, ‘a clear pattern emerged. It has become too easy to deny anti-Semitism, as long as it is reframed under the legitimizing veil of anti-Zionism. … The landscape for spreading anti-Semitic messages has grown exponentially, so it is only reasonable to expect the actual number of incidents to have increased along with it.’”

More on this story at The Times of Israel.

(Image Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90, via The Times of Israel)

Zionist religious leaders call for separate gender-segregated accommodations for observant students in Israeli universities
  • Citing the desire to preserve modesty in their academic environments, conservative advocates are attempting to get secular higher education institutions to create separate, gender-segregated learning spaces for students from the Zionist and ultra-Orthodox communities.
  • Organizers have discussed building a “purchasing group” model, gathering students into groups based on field of study in the hopes that universities would “bid” on them, introducing pressure to include gender-segregated classrooms.
  • Although the attempt may signal a new, much-welcomed openness to university studies by ultra-Orthodox communities, higher education officials say that any attempt to create gender-segregated education at non-religious universities would be terminated.

More on this story at Haaretz.

(Image Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz/Haaretz)

Indonesian authorities claim Australian government paid human traffickers not to return to Indonesia rather than land at Australia
  • A boat crew arrested in Indonesia told the police that Australian authorities had paid them each A$5,000 (US$3,860) to turn back with the 65 migrants on board.
  • Australia has made every effort to ensure that asylum seekers do not reach its shores, including turning boats back to Indonesia and detaining refugees in camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
  • Australia’s Foreign Minister and Immigration Minister have denied the claims, but PM Tony Abbott has declined to comment, citing security reasons.

“Under Australian’s push-back policy we have been consistently saying they are on a slippery slope. … Should this situation be confirmed and it turns out to be true, it would be a new low for the way the government of Australia handles the situation on irregular migration.”

More on this story at Reuters.

(Image Credit: Reuters/David Gray)