August 15, 2018

Buying a house in New Zealand is expensive, and lawmakers hope that they've found a way to get prices down.

On Wednesday, Parliament passed a law that prohibits nonresident foreigners from buying houses and residential land. The law exempts foreigners with New Zealand residency and nationals from nearby Australia and Singapore. "If you've got the right to live in New Zealand permanently, you've got the right to buy here," said Minister for Economic Development and Trade David Parker. "But otherwise it's not a right, it's a privilege. We believe it's the birthright of New Zealanders to buy homes in New Zealand in a market that is shaped by New Zealand buyers, not by international price pressures."

So far this year, about 3 percent of home transfers have involved buyers from overseas, not including property purchased through trusts. In 2017, the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said housing prices in Auckland had jumped nearly 70 percent in only five years, NPR reports, and last year, the percentage of New Zealanders living in their own homes hit its lowest point in 66 years. Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2017

On Thursday, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses are an "extremist" organization and banned the group from the country.

The state-run news agency Tass reports that all of the Christian denomination's assets in Russia, including its headquarters in St. Petersburg, will become state property. "We are greatly disappointed by this development and deeply concerned about how this will affect our religious activity," Yaroslav Sivulskiy, a spokesman for Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia, told Reuters. "We will appeal this decision, and we hope that our legal rights and protections as a peaceful religious group will be fully restored as soon as possible."

Previously, literature passed out by the group has been banned and some members have been arrested or had their property seized, NPR reports. There are about 8 million Jehovah's Witnesses in the world, with 170,000 followers in Russia. Catherine Garcia

December 26, 2014

Citing historical falsehoods and a pro-Zionist view, Egypt's culture minister reportedly said on Friday that Exodus: Gods and Kings will not be shown in the country, The New York Times reports.

"(Exodus) gives a Zionist view of history and contains historical inaccuracies, and that's why we have decided to ban it," Gaber Asfour was quoted as saying by Agence France-Presse.

Morocco has also reportedly banned the film, which stars Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses. Variety reports that the film has already grossed $46 million in the U.S., along with another $62 million in 39 international markets, since its release in mid-December. Sarah Eberspacher

December 12, 2014

The Mexican legislature has passed a bill that would ban the use of animals in circuses. But President Enrique Pena Nieto hasn't announced whether he'll sign the bill into a law.

Mexico's lower chamber voted 267-66 to ban circus animals on Thursday, following an earlier Senate vote. The bill hopes to fight animal cruelty in circus shows, and would let zoos have their pick of the animals already being used as performers.

The bill comes six months after Mexico City, as well as six states, first banned circus animals. Meghan DeMaria

December 10, 2014

Hyderabad, India, banned the Uber cab service on Wednesday. The announcement comes two days after New Delhi's municipal government banned Uber.

T. Raghunath, Hyderabad's joint transport commissioner, told The Times of India that Uber's services in the city were illegal, as they were in Delhi. Raghunath noted that Uber apparently didn't have permission from the Regional Transport Authority to operate in the city.

Uber isn't doing so well in the U.S., either: On Tuesday, prosecutors in San Francisco and Los Angeles sued Uber for making "false and misleading statements" about background checks for drivers. Spain and Thailand also ordered Uber to cease operating this week. Meghan DeMaria

August 22, 2014

Miley Cyrus' twerking isn't welcome in in the Dominican Republic.

Cyrus was supposed to hold a concert there on Sept. 13, but the Dominican Republic's government commission, which handles public performances, is banning the event.

The commission stated that Cyrus "undertakes acts that go against morals and customs, which are punishable by Dominican law." Meghan DeMaria

June 27, 2014

China has essentially blocked Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Hard Choices, from distribution across the country.

Clinton's publisher told BuzzFeed that the book, which focuses on her time as the U.S. secretary of state, will not be sold in mainland China. The country sees the memoir as critical of the People's Republic — Clinton wrote that China is "full of contradictions" and is the "epicenter of the antidemocratic movement in Asia."

Simon & Schuster, publisher of the book, said they couldn't secure translation rights with Chinese publishers, and one of China's leading import agencies, Shanghai Book Traders, is also refusing to distribute the English-language version. Hard Choices was also removed from China's Amazon site.

China's actions are an "effective ban," said Jonathan Karp, president of Simon & Schuster. "It's outrageous and unfortunate, and it's a pretty clear indication of the low level of intellectual freedom in China right now." Meghan DeMaria

June 25, 2014

T-shirts, hoodies, and other ISIS-branded items, including toy figurines, are being marketed across various social media outlets, but Facebook is stepping up to prevent all items branded by the militant group from being sold on its site.

CNN reports that the shirts cost around $10 and are emblazoned with the logo for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), along with slogans such as "We are all ISIS" and "Fight for freedom until the last drop of blood." One of the toy soldiers holds a gun and an ISIS flag that reads "There is no god but God, Muhammad is the messenger of God." Many of the websites selling ISIS merchandise are based in Indonesia, where there is growing support for the extremist group.

A Facebook spokesperson told CNN the company is continually removing the group's pages as they appear on the network. "When hateful content is posted and reported, Facebook removes it and disables accounts of those responsible," the company said. Watch the full CNN report below. --Meghan DeMaria

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