Associated Press

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The Supreme Court will decide whether the main federal civil rights law that prohibits employment discrimination applies to LGBT people.

The justices say Monday they will hear cases involving people who claim they were fired because of their sexual orientation. Another case involves a funeral home employee who was fired after disclosing that she was transitioning from male to female and dressed as a woman.

The cases will be argued in the fall, with decisions likely by June 2020 in the middle of the presidential election campaign.

The issue is whether Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits sex discrimination, protects LGBT people from job discrimination. Title VII does not specifically mention sexual orientation or transgender status, but federal appeals courts in Chicago and New York have ruled recently that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to protection from discrimination. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati has extended similar protections for transgender people.

The big question is whether the Supreme Court, with a strengthened conservative majority, will do the same.

The Obama administration had supported treating LGBT discrimination claims as sex discrimination, but the Trump administration has changed course. The Trump Justice Department has argued that Title VII was not intended to provide protections to gay or transgender workers. The administration also separately withdrew Obama-era guidance to educators to treat claims of transgender students as sex discrimination.

President Donald Trump has appointed two justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

The justices will take up three cases in the fall.

In one, the federal appeals court in New York ruled in favor of a gay skydiving instructor who claimed he was fired because of his sexual orientation. The second case is from Georgia, where the federal appeals court ruled against a gay employee of Clayton County, in the Atlanta suburbs.

The third case comes from Michigan, where a funeral home fired a transgender woman. The appeals court in Cincinnati ruled that the firing constituted sex discrimination under federal law.

The funeral home argues in part that Congress was not thinking about transgender people when it included sex discrimination in Title VII.

Source: Fox News Politics

The Latest on the flow of migrants in Europe (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Austria’s leader is demanding that his junior coalition partner distances itself from a poem that compared migrants with rats.

Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told the Austria Press Agency that the Freedom Party’s branch in Upper Austria province should “immediately and unambiguously” distance itself from the poem that appeared in a party publication in Braunau.

Kurz said “the choice of words is abhorrent, inhuman and deeply racist, and has no place in Upper Austria or the whole country.”

The poem, which was titled “The Town Rat” and warned against mixing cultures, also drew strong criticism from the center-left opposition.

Kurz struck a coalition deal with the Freedom Party and became chancellor in late 2017.

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3:20 p.m.

Greek authorities say dozens of asylum-seekers have turned up at the home address of European border agency employees helping police the border with Turkey.

Police say 61 men, women and children who had just crossed illegally from Turkey headed straight for the rented flats of German and Dutch employees of the Frontex agency in the town of Orestiada before dawn Monday, and started ringing doorbells.

The migrants said they were from Syria and Iraq and wanted to register for asylum. Greek police were called to handle the process.

Police said it was unclear how the migrants found the Frontex employees’ home address, and why they didn’t go directly to a police station. Syrian and Iraqi refugees have little trouble securing asylum in Greece.

Source: Fox News World

Police say they arrested two people who climbed and placed Ku Klux Klan hoods on statues at a Confederate monument in North Carolina.

News outlets report that Enzo Niebuhr and Jody Anderson were detained Sunday during a protest near the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy monument. The monument is located in the capital of Raleigh near the Statehouse.

Police said Niebuhr and Anderson are charged with defacing a public monument and disorderly conduct. The reports did not say whether the two have attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

The news outlets quote the “Smash Racism Raleigh” group as saying that its members were holding a peaceful protest to provide context about the history of the statues. The group says Niebuhr and Anderson shouldn’t have been arrested.

Source: Fox News National

The Latest on the investigation into the killings of two northern Indiana girls (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

A spokesman says Indiana State Police will release “very significant information” about the 2017 deaths of two teenage girls who were killed during a hiking trip.

Agency spokesman Sgt. Kim Riley said Monday that no arrest warrants have been issued and no arrests have been made in the killings of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams. But he says investigators will release new information Monday about the unsolved case.

Riley says State Police Superintendent Doug Carter and a State Police captain will be making statements but won’t take questions.

The teenagers’ bodies were found in February 2017 in a rugged, wooded area a day after they went hiking near Delphi, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.

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9:44 a.m.

Indiana State Police are to make an announcement about the investigation into the 2017 killings of two teenage girls.

State police say Superintendent Doug Carter will discuss how the investigation has gone in a “new direction” during a midday Monday news conference in Delphi.

The bodies of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams were found in February 2017 in a rugged, wooded area, one day after they went hiking near Delphi, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis. The slayings remain unsolved.

Investigators have reviewed thousands of leads looking for a man who forced the teens off the trail, ordering them to go “down the hill.” Police also have released a composite sketch from eyewitnesses who believe they saw the man in Delphi.

Source: Fox News National

Iran’s president says a new joint security force will be formed with Pakistan to combat militants based along the two countries’ shared border.

Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that “a joint quick-reaction force for fighting against terrorism at the borders” was agreed to during his meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan a day earlier. Rouhani did not elaborate.

Both Pakistan and Iran say militant groups operate from bases on the other country’s soil, occasionally carrying out deadly cross-border attacks.

The agreement comes after Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that a group of militants crossed the border from Iran earlier that week and carried out a deadly attack against Pakistani armed forces in southwestern Baluchistan province, killing 14.

Rouhani also said he’ll increase the volume of trade with Pakistan.

Source: Fox News World

Turkey’s interior minister says nine people have been detained in the assault of an opposition party leader, who was hit during a soldier’s funeral.

Several protesters threw punches at Republican People’s Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu at the funeral outside Ankara on Sunday. Kilicdaroglu was not injured.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Monday nine people were detained for questioning.

The soldier was killed Saturday in clashes with Kurdish rebels. Soylu appeared to justify Kilicdaroglu’s assault by referring to the support a pro-Kurdish gave the opposition during Turkey’s March 31 municipal elections.

Soylu said: “Everyone must take sides against the (rebels).”

The Republican People’s Party won the mayoral elections in Ankara and Istanbul, supplanting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party.

Erdogan led a divisive campaign, equating opposition parties with terrorists.

Source: Fox News World

Indiana State Police are to make an announcement about the investigation into the 2017 killings of two teenage girls found dead on a hiking trail.

State police say Superintendent Doug Carter will discuss how the investigation has gone in a “new direction” during a midday Monday news conference in Delphi.

The bodies of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams were found in February 2017 on a hiking trail near Delphi, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis. The slayings remain unsolved.

Investigators on a multi-agency task force have gone through thousands of leads looking for a man who forced the teens off the trail, ordering them to go “down the hill.” Police also have released a composite sketch from eyewitnesses who believe they saw the man in Delphi.

Source: Fox News National

St. Sebastian’s Church in Sri Lanka’s Negombo city was packed when Nilantha Lakmal arrived with his wife and three daughters for Easter Mass.

The pews already full, the family joined dozens of others in the front garden, listening to the priest through the church’s open doors.

From the corner of his eye, Lakmal saw a man with a large blue backpack walking quickly down the left-hand aisle of the 1940s Gothic-style church, patterned after the Reims Cathedral in France.

Within seconds, a bomb went off.

“I was scared. I was shouting. I was shouting for my daughters. I was shouting the name of my youngest daughter. I was running around, looking for my family. It felt like a long time but I found them,” Lakmal said.

He hurried them to an auto rickshaw that was waiting on the street near the church, and then headed back to look for his parents and his nephew, who had arrived at the church separately.

All eight relatives were unharmed, including his daughters aged 8, 6 and 1.

Nearly all at once, seven suicide bombers attacked three churches and three luxury hotels, according to a Sri Lankan government forensic analysis. The bombers were all Sri Lankan nationals and part of a local militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath. Hours later, three more bombings took place.

All told, at least 290 people were killed and about 500 others were wounded. The Easter Sunday violence was the deadliest the South Asian island country has seen since a bloody civil war ended a decade ago.

At St. Sebastian’s, where Lakmal was married and where he baptized his daughters, he said he led shocked and wounded people flowing out of the building toward the street. He didn’t have the wherewithal to go inside.

On Monday, he said he got a headache as he recalled seeing bodies taken from the sanctuary and tossed into the back of a truck.

He spoke to The Associated Press outside the home of a 12-year-old girl who was killed in the blast and whose mother was being treated for critical injuries at Negombo’s main hospital.

Lakmal, 41, remembers well the bloody end of Sri Lanka’s civil war, which the United Nations estimated left about 100,000 people dead. The war ended in 2009 with the government’s defeat of the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group from the ethnic Tamil minority fighting for independence from Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka.

But he had never expected his neighborhood church in Negombo, a largely Catholic city north of Colombo, would be a target.

Lakmal frequently went to St. Sebastian’s for Bible study or to pray before the statue of the Catholic martyr holding a shield and a sword.

The church had been planning to celebrate a big feast day for Jesus’ mother Mary at the end of May.

But even if it had reopened by then, Lakmal said he doubted he’d return.

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Schmall reported from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Source: Fox News World

North Macedonia is heading for a presidential election runoff with both candidates more or less tied and the outcome potentially determined by an ethnic Albanian candidate eliminated in Sunday’s first vote.

The governing center-left party’s candidate, Stevo Pendarovski, and conservative Gordana Siljanovsa will face off on May 5. According to the latest results released Monday, Pendarovski got 42.85% of the vote and Siljanovska 42.24%.

Ethnic Albanian Blerim Reka came third with 10.57%. He has not said whether he will back either candidate in the May 5 election. About one in four Macedonians is ethnic Albanian.

Turnout is also crucial because if it falls below 40% of registered voters the presidential election is considered invalid and must be held again from the beginning in two rounds. Sunday’s turnout was 41.8%.

Source: Fox News World

Kosovo families have been waiting outside a shelter, trying to talk with relatives who have been repatriated from Syria.

On Saturday, 110 Kosovar citizens — four alleged foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children — were brought back home with the assistance of the United States.

Hidajete Delia was waiting for hours Monday morning to meet up with her sister Dafina, 23, and her sister’s two little children at the camp in Vranidoll, 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Pristina, the capital. She says her sister calls the six years she spent in Syria “hell.”

Since 2012, more than 400 people have left Kosovo, a predominantly Muslim nation, to join extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, but authorities say no one has left in the past three years.

Authorities say 87 Kosovo citizens are still in Syria.

Source: Fox News World


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