WORLDSIGN | Brexit Border Issues, Marijuana Now Legal In Canada, and Syrian Deaf Actor Netflix Debut

Dawn: There is no agreement yet between the European Union and Britain on the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and what happens after Brexit on March 29. The EU wants Northern Ireland to remain the same to avoid issues between EU and Ireland. Britain, however, says that would limit their ability to enter into new agreements around the world. People fear this impasse may prevent any agreement that must be approved in EU and Britain parliaments – a process that could take months. Brexit is 6 months away and without this agreement, there could be chaos with increases in tariffs and airplanes and freight may not be able to fly between the two regions. Now, let’s go to next story. Alessio: On Wednesday, Canada became the second country after Uruguay to legalize the sale of marijuana. With the exception of the province of Ontario, all other provinces established speciality stores to sell marijuana and related products such as tinctures, capsules, and seeds to the public. Ontario will open stores in April 2019, so for those people living within the province, they can only purchase cannabis products through online commerce for delivery to their residences. -Canada’s Cannabis Act allows people over 18 years old to purchase marijuana up to 30 grams at once. Canadians can now grow up to four plants in their homes for personal use. The federal government regulates producers but provincial governments regulate distributors. Driving after consuming marijuana is prohibited and marijuana-impaired drivers would be treated as drunk drivers if caught by the police. Government announced that they will pardon those convicted of pot-related charges in past. Dawn: North and South Korea took an additional step towards peace by agreeing on a project to connect their railways and roads. The Koreas also agreed to discuss sending combined teams to the 2020 Summer Olympics, and to co-host the 2032 Summer Games. Both countries also plan on video-conference meetings with aging relatives separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, and expand face-to-face reunions. These steps toward peace, and the enthusiasm of South Korea to engage with the North, is generating skepticism for many including the United States, as North Korea has yet to denuclearize their weapons which would be considered the most important commitment they could make for the West. Now, let’s go to next story. Alessio: Susan, a deaf woman has created OneOddGamerGirl.net to review video games and its accessibility for deaf gamers. After conducting her reviews, she asks a friend to test if there are any issues that create obstacles for deaf gamers, or if the issues are just bad game quality. Then, she writes a review of the game and issues a rating based on use of subtitles, narratives and gameplay that whether it depends on audio. Disability activists including Susan are actively seeking big gamer producers i.e. Ubisoft, Epic Games, and EA Sports to improve accessibility for deaf, blind and visually impaired communities. Dawn: Mustafa Alabssi, 19 years old made his professional debut as a Deaf actor in a new television series, “Black Summer”, on the Netflix streaming service. Alabssi, who immigrated to Regina, the capital city in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan with his family two years ago after fleeing from Syria to Jordan. He plays a Deaf character along with Hollywood actress Jaime King who escapes from zombies. Prior to filming, Alabssi had challenges such as learning American Sign Language and English skills, but it did not deter him from acting in a high school play, “Apple Time.” -Alabssi’s teachers encouraged him to audition for the role, and he was immediately casted. The director of ‘Black Summer’ was impressed by Alabssi’s ability to act with genuineness. Alabssi, however, considers himself “really lucky” to excel in his role. Despite limited opportunities for Deaf actors, one of his teachers is “1000 percent sure” that Alabssi “is destined to be an actor.” Now, let’s go to next story. Alessio: Last Thursday, the Malaysian government announced it will abolish the death penalty, and stop all pending executions. Human rights groups hail Malaysia’s decision as a major advance and a “rare move against capital punishment in Asia.” There are over 1,200 inmates waiting for their death sentences to be commuted, and they will now serve up to 30 years in prison instead. Parliament commenced on Monday to amend its laws on punishments for convicted crimes. Malaysia joins 142 other countries who have rejected capital punishment. On the same day, Malaysia also dropped charges against 11 Uighar Muslims who escaped a Thai prison and entered Malaysia to seek asylum. The Muslim group claimed to be from Turkistan and were flown to Turkey where there is a large Uighar Muslim community. China requested they be acquitted and sent back instead, but Malaysia rejected their plea as there was little evidence to support China’s claim of Uighar Muslims being extremists with ties to terror groups. Dawn: Cadmium, a toxic metal, was found in 31 pieces of fashion jewelry for adults including necklaces, earrings, and bracelets according to a report last Thursday by Associated Press. Prolonged exposure to the metal, which is sold at major retailers, would increase incidences of cancer and it is harmful to reproductive organs. Laboratory findings indicate the jewelry they tested contained more than 90 percent of cadmium. -Some of these jewelry were manufactured in China, where manufacturers substituted cadmium for lead. Local laws in the USA state of California mandated all children’s contain no more than 0.03 percent cadmium, but this law does not apply to adult jewelry. The AP report notes “the problem should not be underestimated because of limited market sampling”, and cautions consumers to take care when purchasing fashion jewelry. -Thank you for watching WorldSign Week, visit H3WORLD.TV for more shows, all in International Sign. See you next week.

Stephen Childs

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