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Sept. 14 – The French senate passed a law that will take effect next spring banning veils that cover the face, including full-body burqas worn by Muslim women. Under the law, women found wearing a burqa or niqab, a shoulder-length veil that leaves eyes uncovered, will be forced to pay a fine of 150 euros or enroll in a citizenship class. The punishment for forcing a woman to wear a head covering is a 15,000 euro fine or a year in prison. This law is the first of its kind to go into effect in Europe. According to the Pew Global Attitudes Project, 82 percent of French approved of the ban, while 17 percent disapproved of it. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life estimates that Muslims make up approximately 6 percent of the population of France.
Sept. 5 – A landslide in Guatemala killed 22 people and left dozens of others missing. About 100 rescuers tried to dig a bus out of deep mud from a landslide until another landslide covered the rescuers. The Inter-American Highway, a major roadway across Guatemala, had 30 landslides within a 30-mile stretch. Landslides are a national problem for Guatemala, a nation that faced record breaking rainfall this year. In May, Tropical Strom Agatha brought torrential rain and landslides that killed more than 150 people.
Masha Lafen. More »