country:pakistan

  • Monthly Review | Superbugs in the #Anthropocene: A Profit-Driven Plague
    https://monthlyreview.org/2019/06/01/superbugs-in-the-anthropocene

    While I was writing this article, the press reported:

    A maternity hospital in Romania shut down because thirty-nine newborns were infected by a drug-resistant superbug. Eleven staff members were found to be carriers.

    In Gaza, the wounds of thousands of Palestinians shot by Israeli soldiers are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the blockade prevents necessary medical supplies from reaching them.

    In Pakistan in the past two years, over five thousand people have contracted a strain of typhoid fever that is resistant to all recommended antibiotics.

    In an Indian hospital, a new strain of the common bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae, described as both multidrug resistant and hypervirulent, killed more than half of the patients who contracted it.

    Tests found that 56 percent of Staphylococcus bacteria in two Afghan hospitals are resistant to multiple antibiotics.

    #antibiorésistance

  • Afghan Migration to Germany: History and Current Debates

    In light of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, Afghan migration to Germany accelerated in recent years. This has prompted debates and controversial calls for return.

    Historical Overview
    Afghan migration to Germany goes back to the first half of the 20th century. To a large extent, the arrival of Afghan nationals occurred in waves, which coincided with specific political regimes and periods of conflict in Afghanistan between 1978 and 2001. Prior to 1979 fewer than 2,000 Afghans lived in Germany. Most of them were either businesspeople or students. The trade city of Hamburg and its warehouses attracted numerous Afghan carpet dealers who subsequently settled with their families. Some families who were among the traders that came to Germany at an early stage still run businesses in the warehouse district of the city.[1]

    Following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the number of Afghans seeking refuge and asylum in Germany increased sharply. Between 1980 and 1982 the population grew by around 3,000 persons per year. This was followed by a short period of receding numbers, before another period of immigration set in from 1985, when adherents of communist factions began facing persecution in Afghanistan. Following a few years with lower immigration rates, numbers started rising sharply again from 1989 onwards in the wake of the civil war in Afghanistan and due to mounting restrictions for Afghans living in Iran and Pakistan. Increasing difficulties in and expulsions from these two countries forced many Afghans to search for and move on to new destinations, including Germany.[2] Throughout the 1990s immigration continued with the rise of the Taliban and the establishment of a fundamentalist regime. After reaching a peak in 1995, numbers of incoming migrants from Afghanistan declined for several years. However, they began to rise again from about 2010 onwards as a result of continuing conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan on the one hand and persistently problematic living conditions for Afghans in Iran and Pakistan on the other hand.

    A particularly sharp increase occurred in the context of the ’long summer of migration’[3] in 2015, which continued in 2016 when a record number of 253,485 Afghan nationals were registered in Germany. This number includes established residents of Afghan origin as well as persons who newly arrived in recent years. This sharp increase is also mirrored in the number of asylum claims of Afghan nationals, which reached a historical peak of 127,012 in 2016. Following the peak in 2016 the Afghan migrant population has slightly decreased. Reasons for the numerical decrease include forced and voluntary return to Afghanistan, onward migration to third countries, and expulsion according to the so-called Dublin Regulation. Naturalisations also account for the declining number of Afghan nationals in Germany, albeit to a much lesser extent (see Figures 1 and 2).

    The Afghan Migrant Population in Germany
    Over time, the socio-economic and educational backgrounds of Afghan migrants changed significantly. Many of those who formed part of early immigrant cohorts were highly educated and had often occupied high-ranking positions in Afghanistan. A significant number had worked for the government, while others were academics, doctors or teachers.[4] Despite being well-educated, professionally trained and experienced, many Afghans who came to Germany as part of an early immigrant cohort were unable to find work in an occupational field that would match their professional qualifications. Over the years, levels of education and professional backgrounds of Afghans arriving to Germany became more diverse. On average, the educational and professional qualifications of those who came in recent years are much lower compared to earlier cohorts of Afghan migrants.

    At the end of 2017, the Federal Statistical Office registered 251,640 Afghan nationals in Germany. This migrant population is very heterogeneous as far as persons’ legal status is concerned. Table 1 presents a snapshot of the different legal statuses that Afghan nationals in Germany held in 2017.

    Similar to other European countrie [5], Germany has been receiving increasing numbers of unaccompanied Afghan minors throughout the last decade.[6] In December 2017, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) registered 10,453 persons of Afghan origin under the age of 18, including asylum seekers, holders of a temporary residence permit as well as persons with refugee status. The situation of unaccompanied minors is specific in the sense that they are under the auspices of the Children and Youth support services (Kinder- und Jugendhilfe). This implies that unaccompanied Afghan minors are entitled to specific accommodation and the support of a temporary guardian. According to the BAMF, education and professional integration are priority issues for the reception of unaccompanied minors. However, the situation of these migrants changes once they reach the age of 18 and become legally deportable.[7] For this reason, their period of residence in Germany is marked by ambiguity.

    Fairly modest at first, the number of naturalisations increased markedly from the late 1980s, which is likely to be connected to the continuous aggravation of the situation in Afghanistan.[8]

    With an average age of 23.7 years, Germany’s Afghan population is relatively young. Among Afghan residents who do not hold German citizenship there is a gender imbalance with males outweighing females by roughly 80,390 persons. Until recently, most Afghans arrived in Germany with their family. However, the individual arrival of Afghan men has been a dominant trend in recent years, which has become more pronounced from 2012 onwards with rising numbers of Afghan asylum seekers (see Figure 2).[9]

    The Politicization of Afghan Migration
    Prior to 2015, the Afghan migrant population that had not received much public attention. However, with the significant increase in numbers from 2015 onwards, it was turned into a subject of increased debate and politicization. The German military and reconstruction engagement in Afghanistan constitutes an important backdrop to the debates unfolding around the presence of Afghan migrants – most of whom are asylum seekers – in Germany. To a large extent, these debates revolved around the legitimacy of Afghan asylum claims. The claims of persons who, for example, supported German troops as interpreters were rarely questioned.[10] Conversely, the majority of newly arriving Afghans were framed as economic migrants rather than persons fleeing violence and persecution. In 2015, chancellor Angela Merkel warned Afghan nationals from coming to Germany for economic reasons and simply in search for a better life.[11] She underlined the distinction between “economic migrants” and persons facing concrete threats due to their past collaboration with German troops in Afghanistan. The increasing public awareness of the arrival of Afghan asylum seekers and growing skepticism regarding the legitimacy of their presence mark the context in which debates on deportations of Afghan nationals began to unfold.

    Deportations of Afghan Nationals: Controversial Debates and Implementation
    The Federal Government (Bundesregierung) started to consider deportations to Afghanistan in late 2015. Debates about the deportation of Afghan nationals were also held at the EU level and form an integral part of the Joint Way Forward agreement between Afghanistan and the EU. The agreement was signed in the second half of 2016 and reflects the commitment of the EU and the Afghan Government to step up cooperation on addressing and preventing irregular migration [12] and encourage return of irregular migrants such as persons whose asylum claims are rejected. In addition, the governments of Germany and Afghanistan signed a bilateral agreement on the return of Afghan nationals to their country of origin. At that stage it was estimated that around five percent of all Afghan nationals residing in Germany were facing return.[13] To back plans of forced removal, the Interior Ministry stated that there are “internal protection alternatives”, meaning areas in Afghanistan that are deemed sufficiently safe for people to be deported to and that a deterioration of security could not be confirmed for the country as such.[14] In addition, the BAMF would individually examine and conduct specific risk assessments for each asylum application and potential deportees respectively.

    Country experts and international actors such as the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) agree on the absence of internal protection alternatives in Afghanistan, stating that there are no safe areas in the country.[15] Their assessments are based on the continuously deteriorating security situation. Since 2014, annual numbers of civilian deaths and casualties continuously exceed 10,000 with a peak of 11,434 in 2016. This rise in violent incidents has been recorded in 33 of 34 provinces. In August 2017 the United Nations changed their assessment of the situation in Afghanistan from a “post-conflict country” to “a country undergoing a conflict that shows few signs of abating”[16] for the first time after the fall of the Taliban. However, violence occurs unevenly across Afghanistan. In 2017 the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), registered the highest levels of civilian casualties in Kabul province and Kabul city more specifically. After Kabul, the highest numbers of civilian casualties were recorded in Helmand, Nangarhar, Kandahar, Faryab, Uruzgan, Herat, Paktya, Kunduz, and Laghman provinces.[17]

    Notwithstanding deteriorating security conditions in Afghanistan and parliamentary, non-governmental and civil society protests, Germany’s Federal Government implemented a first group deportation of rejected asylum seekers to Afghanistan in late 2016. Grounds for justification of these measures were not only the assumed “internal protection alternatives”. In addition, home secretary Thomas de Maizière emphasised that many of the deportees were convicted criminals.[18] The problematic image of male Muslim immigrants in the aftermath of the incidents on New Year’s Eve in the city of Cologne provides fertile ground for such justifications of deportations to Afghanistan. “The assaults (sexualized physical and property offences) which young, unmarried Muslim men committed on New Year’s Eve offered a welcome basis for re-framing the ‘refugee question’ as an ethnicized and sexist problem.”[19]

    It is important to note that many persons of Afghan origin spent long periods – if not most or all of their lives – outside Afghanistan in one of the neighboring countries. This implies that many deportees are unfamiliar with life in their country of citizenship and lack local social networks. The same applies to persons who fled Afghanistan but who are unable to return to their place of origin for security reasons. The existence of social networks and potential support structures, however, is particularly important in countries marked by high levels of insecurity, poverty, corruption, high unemployment rates and insufficient (public) services and infrastructure.[20] Hence, even if persons who are deported to Afghanistan may be less exposed to a risk of physical harm in some places, the absence of social contacts and support structures still constitutes an existential threat.

    Debates on and executions of deportations to Afghanistan have been accompanied by parliamentary opposition on the one hand and street-level protests on the other hand. Non-governmental organisations such as Pro Asyl and local refugee councils have repeatedly expressed their criticism of forced returns to Afghanistan.[21] The execution of deportations has been the responsibility of the federal states (Ländersache). This leads to significant variations in the numbers of deportees. In light of a degrading security situation in Afghanistan, several governments of federal states (Landesregierungen) moreover paused deportations to Afghanistan in early 2017. Concomitantly, recognition rates of Afghan asylum seekers have continuously declined.[22]

    A severe terrorist attack on the German Embassy in Kabul on 31 May 2017 led the Federal Government to revise its assessment of the security situation in Afghanistan and to temporarily pause deportations to the country. According to chancellor Merkel, the temporary ban of deportations was contingent on the deteriorating security situation and could be lifted once a new, favourable assessment was in place. While pausing deportations of rejected asylum seekers without criminal record, the Federal Government continued to encourage voluntary return and deportations of convicted criminals of Afghan nationality as well as individuals committing identity fraud during their asylum procedure.

    The ban of deportations of rejected asylum seekers without criminal record to Afghanistan was lifted in July 2018, although the security situation in the country continues to be very volatile.[23] The decision was based on a revised assessment of the security situation through the Foreign Office and heavily criticised by the centre left opposition in parliament as well as by NGOs and churches. Notwithstanding such criticism, the attitude of the Federal Government has been rigorous. By 10 January 2019, 20 group deportation flights from Germany to Kabul were executed, carrying a total number of 475 Afghans.[24]

    Assessing the Situation in Afghanistan
    Continuing deportations of Afghan nationals are legitimated by the assumption that certain regions in Afghanistan fulfil the necessary safety requirements for deportees. But how does the Federal Government – and especially the BAMF – come to such arbitrary assessments of the security situation on the one hand and individual prospects on the other hand? While parliamentary debates about deportations to Afghanistan were ongoing, the news magazine Spiegel reported on how the BAMF conducts security assessments for Afghanistan. According to their revelations, BAMF staff hold weekly briefings on the occurrence of military combat, suicide attacks, kidnappings and targeted killings. If the proportion of civilian casualties remains below 1:800, the level of individual risk is considered low and insufficient for someone to be granted protection in Germany.[25] The guidelines of the BAMF moreover rule that young men who are in working age and good health are assumed to find sufficient protection and income opportunities in Afghanistan’s urban centres, so that they are able to secure to meet the subsistence level. Such possibilities are even assumed to exist for persons who cannot mobilise family or other social networks for their support. Someone’s place or region of origin is another aspect considered when assessing whether or not Afghan asylum seekers are entitled to remain in Germany. The BAMF examines the security and supply situation of the region where persons were born or where they last lived before leaving Afghanistan. These checks also include the question which religious and political convictions are dominant at the place in question. According to these assessment criteria, the BAMF considers the following regions as sufficiently secure: Kabul, Balkh, Herat, Bamiyan, Takhar, Samangan and Panjshir.[26]

    Voluntary Return
    In addition to executing the forced removal of rejected Afghan asylum seekers, Germany encourages the voluntary return of Afghan nationals.[27] To this end it supports the Reintegration and Emigration Programme for Asylum Seekers in Germany which covers travel expenses and offers additional financial support to returnees. Furthermore, there is the Government Assisted Repatriation Programme, which provides financial support to persons who wish to re-establish themselves in their country of origin. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) organises and supervises return journeys that are supported by these programmes. Since 2015, several thousand Afghan nationals left Germany with the aid of these programmes. Most of these voluntary returnees were persons who had no legal residence status in Germany, for example persons whose asylum claim had been rejected or persons holding an exceptional leave to remain (Duldung).

    Outlook
    The continuing conflict in Afghanistan not only causes death, physical and psychological hurt but also leads to the destruction of homes and livelihoods and impedes access to health, education and services for large parts of the Afghan population. This persistently problematic situation affects the local population as much as it affects migrants who – voluntarily or involuntarily – return to Afghanistan. For this reason, migration out of Afghanistan is likely to continue, regardless of the restrictions which Germany and other receiving states are putting into place.

    http://www.bpb.de/gesellschaft/migration/laenderprofile/288934/afghan-migration-to-germany
    #Allemagne #Afghanistan #réfugiés_afghans #histoire #asile #migrations #réfugiés #chiffres #statistiques #renvois #expulsions #retour_volontaire #procédure_d'asile
    ping @_kg_

  • ‘They Were Conned’: How Reckless Loans Devastated a Generation of Taxi Drivers - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/nyregion/nyc-taxis-medallions-suicides.html


    Mohammed Hoque with his three children in their studio apartment in Jamaica, Queens.

    May 19, 2019 - The phone call that ruined Mohammed Hoque’s life came in April 2014 as he began another long day driving a New York City taxi, a job he had held since emigrating from Bangladesh nine years earlier.

    The call came from a prominent businessman who was selling a medallion, the coveted city permit that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else. If Mr. Hoque gave him $50,000 that day, he promised to arrange a loan for the purchase.

    After years chafing under bosses he hated, Mr. Hoque thought his dreams of wealth and independence were coming true. He emptied his bank account, borrowed from friends and hurried to the man’s office in Astoria, Queens. Mr. Hoque handed over a check and received a stack of papers. He signed his name and left, eager to tell his wife.

    Mr. Hoque made about $30,000 that year. He had no idea, he said later, that he had just signed a contract that required him to pay $1.7 million.

    Over the past year, a spate of suicides by taxi drivers in New York City has highlighted in brutal terms the overwhelming debt and financial plight of medallion owners. All along, officials have blamed the crisis on competition from ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

    But a New York Times investigation found much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed.

    These business practices generated huge profits for bankers, brokers, lawyers, investors, fleet owners and debt collectors. The leaders of nonprofit credit unions became multimillionaires. Medallion brokers grew rich enough to buy yachts and waterfront properties. One of the most successful bankers hired the rap star Nicki Minaj to perform at a family party.

    But the methods stripped immigrant families of their life savings, crushed drivers under debt they could not repay and engulfed an industry that has long defined New York. More than 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records. Thousands more are barely hanging on.

    The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand.

    Some big banks even entered the taxi industry in the aftermath of the housing crash, seeking a new market, with new borrowers.

    The combination of easy money, eager borrowers and the lure of a rare asset helped prices soar far above what medallions were really worth. Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times found.

    Between 2002 and 2014, the price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million from $200,000, even though city records showed that driver incomes barely changed.

    About 4,000 drivers bought medallions in that period, records show. They were excited to buy, but they were enticed by a dubious premise.

    What Actually Happened to New York’s Taxi DriversMay 28, 2019

    After the medallion market collapsed, Mayor Bill de Blasio opted not to fund a bailout, and earlier this year, the City Council speaker, Corey Johnson, shut down the committee overseeing the taxi industry, saying it had completed most of its work.

    Over 10 months, The Times interviewed 450 people, built a database of every medallion sale since 1995 and reviewed thousands of individual loans and other documents, including internal bank records and confidential profit-sharing agreements.

    The investigation found example after example of drivers trapped in exploitative loans, including hundreds who signed interest-only loans that required them to pay exorbitant fees, forfeit their legal rights and give up almost all their monthly income, indefinitely.

    A Pakistani immigrant who thought he was just buying a car ended up with a $780,000 medallion loan that left him unable to pay rent. A Bangladeshi immigrant said he was told to lie about his income on his loan application; he eventually lost his medallion. A Haitian immigrant who worked to exhaustion to make his monthly payments discovered he had been paying only interest and went bankrupt.

    Abdur Rahim, who is from Bangladesh, is one of several cab drivers who allege they were duped into signing exploitative loans. 
    It is unclear if the practices violated any laws. But after reviewing The Times’s findings, experts said the methods were among the worst that have been used since the housing crash.

    “I don’t think I could concoct a more predatory scheme if I tried,” said Roger Bertling, the senior instructor at Harvard Law School’s clinic on predatory lending and consumer protection. “This was modern-day indentured servitude.”

    Lenders developed their techniques in New York but spread them to Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere, transforming taxi industries across the United States.

    In interviews, lenders denied wrongdoing. They noted that regulators approved their practices, and said some borrowers made poor decisions and assumed too much debt. They said some drivers were happy to use climbing medallion values as collateral to take out cash, and that those who sold their medallions at the height of the market made money.

    The lenders said they believed medallion values would keep increasing, as they almost always had. No one, they said, could have predicted Uber and Lyft would emerge to undercut the business.

    “People love to blame banks for things that happen because they’re big bad banks,” said Robert Familant, the former head of Progressive Credit Union, a small nonprofit that specialized in medallion loans. “We didn’t do anything, in my opinion, other than try to help small businesspeople become successful.”

    Mr. Familant made about $30 million in salary and deferred payouts during the bubble, including $4.8 million in bonuses and incentives in 2014, the year it burst, according to disclosure forms.

    Meera Joshi, who joined the Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2011 and became chairwoman in 2014, said it was not the city’s job to regulate lending. But she acknowledged that officials saw red flags and could have done something.

    “There were lots of players, and lots of people just watched it happen. So the T.L.C. watched it happen. The lenders watched it happen. The borrowers watched it happen as their investment went up, and it wasn’t until it started falling apart that people started taking action and pointing fingers,” said Ms. Joshi, who left the commission in March. “It was a party. Why stop it?”

    Every day, about 250,000 people hail a New York City yellow taxi. Most probably do not know they are participating in an unconventional economic system about as old as the Empire State Building.

    The city created taxi medallions in 1937. Unlicensed cabs crowded city streets, so officials designed about 12,000 specialized tin plates and made it illegal to operate a taxi without one bolted to the hood of the car. The city sold each medallion for $10.

    People who bought medallions could sell them, just like any other asset. The only restriction: Officials designated roughly half as “independent medallions” and eventually required that those always be owned by whoever was driving that cab.

    Over time, as yellow taxis became symbols of New York, a cutthroat industry grew around them. A few entrepreneurs obtained most of the nonindependent medallions and built fleets that controlled the market. They were family operations largely based in the industrial neighborhoods of Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan and Long Island City in Queens.

    Allegations of corruption, racism and exploitation dogged the industry. Some fleet bosses were accused of cheating drivers. Some drivers refused to go outside Manhattan or pick up black and Latino passengers. Fleet drivers typically worked 60 hours a week, made less than minimum wage and received no benefits, according to city studies.

    Still, driving could serve as a path to the middle class. Drivers could save to buy an independent medallion, which would increase their earnings and give them an asset they could someday sell for a retirement nest egg.

    Those who borrowed money to buy a medallion typically had to submit a large down payment and repay within five to 10 years.

    The conservative lending strategy produced modest returns. The city did not release new medallions for almost 60 years, and values slowly climbed, hitting $100,000 in 1985 and $200,000 in 1997.

    “It was a safe and stable asset, and it provided a good life for those of us who were lucky enough to buy them,” said Guy Roberts, who began driving in 1979 and eventually bought medallions and formed a fleet. “Not an easy life, but a good life.”

    “And then,” he said, “everything changed.”

    – Before coming to America, Mohammed Hoque lived comfortably in Chittagong, a city on Bangladesh’s southern coast. He was a serious student and a gifted runner, despite a small and stocky frame. His father and grandfather were teachers; he said he surpassed them, becoming an education official with a master’s degree in management. He supervised dozens of schools and traveled on a government-issued motorcycle. In 2004, when he was 33, he married Fouzia Mahabub. -

    That same year, several of his friends signed up for the green card lottery, and their thirst for opportunity was contagious. He applied, and won.

    His wife had an uncle in Jamaica, Queens, so they went there. They found a studio apartment. Mr. Hoque wanted to work in education, but he did not speak enough English. A friend recommended the taxi industry.

    It was an increasingly common move for South Asian immigrants. In 2005, about 40 percent of New York cabbies were born in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan, according to the United States Census Bureau. Over all, just 9 percent were born in the United States.

    Mr. Hoque and his wife emigrated from Bangladesh, and have rented the same apartment in Queens since 2005.

    Mr. Hoque joined Taxifleet Management, a large fleet run by the Weingartens, a Russian immigrant family whose patriarchs called themselves the “Three Wise Men.”

    He worked 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week. On a good day, he said, he brought home $100. He often felt lonely on the road, and he developed back pain from sitting all day and diabetes, medical records show.

    He could have worked fewer shifts. He also could have moved out of the studio. But he drove as much as feasible and spent as little as possible. He had heard the city would soon be auctioning off new medallions. He was saving to buy one.

    Andrew Murstein, left, with his father, Alvin.CreditChester Higgins Jr./The New York Times
    In the early 2000s, a new generation took power in New York’s cab industry. They were the sons of longtime industry leaders, and they had new ideas for making money.

    Few people represented the shift better than Andrew Murstein.

    Mr. Murstein was the grandson of a Polish immigrant who bought one of the first medallions, built one of the city’s biggest fleets and began informally lending to other buyers in the 1970s. Mr. Murstein attended business school and started his career at Bear Stearns and Salomon Brothers, the investment banks.

    When he joined the taxi business, he has said, he pushed his family to sell off many medallions and to establish a bank to focus on lending. Medallion Financial went public in 1996. Its motto was, “In niches, there are riches.”

    Dozens of industry veterans said Mr. Murstein and his father, Alvin, were among those who helped to move the industry to less conservative lending practices. The industry veterans said the Mursteins, as well as others, started saying medallion values would always rise and used that idea to focus on lending to lower-income drivers, which was riskier but more profitable.

    The strategy began to be used by the industry’s other major lenders — Progressive Credit Union, Melrose Credit Union and Lomto Credit Union, all family-run nonprofits that made essentially all their money from medallion loans, according to financial disclosures.

    “We didn’t want to be the one left behind,” said Monte Silberger, Lomto’s controller and then chief financial officer from 1999 to 2017.

    The lenders began accepting smaller down payments. By 2013, many medallion buyers were not handing over any down payment at all, according to an analysis of buyer applications submitted to the city.

    “It got to a point where we didn’t even check their income or credit score,” Mr. Silberger said. “It didn’t matter.”

    Lenders also encouraged existing borrowers to refinance and take out more money when medallion prices rose, according to interviews with dozens of borrowers and loan officers. There is no comprehensive data, but bank disclosures suggest that thousands of owners refinanced.

    Industry veterans said it became common for owners to refinance to buy a house or to put children through college. “You’d walk into the bank and walk out 30 minutes later with an extra $200,000,” said Lou Bakalar, a broker who arranged loans.

    Yvon Augustin has been living with help from his children ever since he declared bankruptcy and lost his taxi medallion.

    Some pointed to the refinancing to argue that irresponsible borrowers fueled the crisis. “Medallion owners were misusing it,” said Aleksey Medvedovskiy, a fleet owner who also worked as a broker. “They used it as an A.T.M.”

    As lenders loosened standards, they increased returns. Rather than raising interest rates, they made borrowers pay a mix of costs — origination fees, legal fees, financing fees, refinancing fees, filing fees, fees for paying too late and fees for paying too early, according to a Times review of more than 500 loans included in legal cases. Many lenders also made borrowers split their loan and pay a much higher rate on the second loan, documents show.

    Lenders also extended loan lengths. Instead of requiring repayment in five or 10 years, they developed deals that lasted as long as 50 years, locking in decades of interest payments. And some wrote interest-only loans that could continue forever.

    “We couldn’t figure out why the company was doing so many interest-only loans,” said Michelle Pirritano, a Medallion Financial loan analyst from 2007 to 2011. “It was a good revenue stream, but it didn’t really make sense as a loan. I mean, it wasn’t really a loan, because it wasn’t being repaid.”

    Almost every loan reviewed by The Times included a clause that spiked the interest rate to as high as 24 percent if it was not repaid in three years. Lenders included the clause — called a “balloon” — so that borrowers almost always had to extend the loan, possibly at a higher rate than in the original terms, and with additional fees.

    Yvon Augustin was caught in one of those loans. He bought a medallion in 2006, a decade after emigrating from Haiti. He said he paid $2,275 every month — more than half his income, he said — and thought he was paying off the loan. But last year, his bank used the balloon to demand that he repay everything. That is when he learned he had been paying only the interest, he said.

    Mr. Augustin, 69, declared bankruptcy and lost his medallion. He lives off assistance from his children.

    During the global financial crisis, Eugene Haber, a lawyer for the taxi industry, started getting calls from bankers he had never met.

    Mr. Haber had written a template for medallion loans in the 1970s. By 2008, his thick mustache had turned white, and he thought he knew everybody in the industry. Suddenly, new bankers began calling his suite in a Long Island office park. Capital One, Signature Bank, New York Commercial Bank and others wanted to issue medallion loans, he said.

    Some of the banks were looking for new borrowers after the housing market collapsed, Mr. Haber said. “They needed somewhere else to invest,” he said. He said he represented some banks at loan signings but eventually became embittered because he believed banks were knowingly lending to people who could not repay.

    Instead of lending directly, the big banks worked through powerful industry players. They enlisted large fleet owners and brokers — especially Neil Greenbaum, Richard Chipman, Savas Konstantinides, Roman Sapino and Basil Messados — to use the banks’ money to lend to medallion buyers. In return, the owners and brokers received a cut of the monthly payments and sometimes an additional fee.

    The fleet owners and brokers, who technically issued the loans, did not face the same scrutiny as banks.

    “They did loans that were frankly insane,” said Larry Fisher, who from 2003 to 2016 oversaw medallion lending at Melrose Credit Union, one of the biggest lenders originally in the industry. “It contributed to the price increases and put a lot of pressure on the rest of us to keep up.”

    Evgeny Freidman, a fleet owner, has said he purposely overbid for taxi medallions in order to drive up their value.CreditSasha Maslov
    Still, Mr. Fisher said, Melrose followed lending rules. “A lot of people tend to blame others for their own misfortune,” he said. “If they want to blame the lender for the medallion going down the tubes the way it has, I think they’re misplaced.”

    Mr. Konstantinides, a fleet owner and the broker and lender who arranged Mr. Hoque’s loans, said every loan issued by his company abided by federal and state banking guidelines. “I am very sympathetic to the plight of immigrant families who are seeking a better life in this country and in this city,” said Mr. Konstantinides, who added that he was also an immigrant.

    Walter Rabin, who led Capital One’s medallion lending division between 2007 and 2012 and has led Signature Bank’s medallion lending division since, said he was one of the industry’s most conservative lenders. He said he could not speak for the brokers and fleet owners with whom he worked.

    Mr. Rabin and other Signature executives denied fault for the market collapse and blamed the city for allowing ride-hail companies to enter with little regulation. “It’s the City of New York that took the biggest advantage of the drivers,” said Joseph J. DePaolo, the president and chief executive of Signature. “It’s not the banks.”

    New York Commercial Bank said in a statement that it began issuing medallion loans before the housing crisis and that they were a very small part of its business. The bank did not engage in risky lending practices, a spokesman said.

    Mr. Messados said in an interview that he disagreed with interest-only loans and other one-sided terms. But he said he was caught between banks developing the loans and drivers clamoring for them. “They were insisting on this,” he said. “What are you supposed to do? Say, ‘I’m not doing the sale?’”

    Several lenders challenged the idea that borrowers were unsophisticated. They said that some got better deals by negotiating with multiple lenders at once.

    Mr. Greenbaum, Mr. Chipman and Mr. Sapino declined to comment, as did Capital One.

    Some fleet owners worked to manipulate prices. In the most prominent example, Evgeny Freidman, a brash Russian immigrant who owned so many medallions that some called him “The Taxi King,” said he purposefully overpaid for medallions sold at city auctions. He reasoned that the higher prices would become the industry standard, making the medallions he already owned worth more. Mr. Freidman, who was partners with Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer, disclosed the plan in a 2012 speech at Yeshiva University. He recently pleaded guilty to felony tax fraud. He declined to comment.

    As medallion prices kept increasing, the industry became strained. Drivers had to work longer hours to make monthly payments. Eventually, loan records show, many drivers had to use almost all their income on payments.

    “The prices got to be ridiculous,” said Vincent Sapone, the retired manager of the League of Mutual Taxi Owners, an owner association. “When it got close to $1 million, nobody was going to pay that amount of money, unless they came from another country. Nobody from Brooklyn was going to pay that.”

    Some drivers have alleged in court that lenders tricked them into signing loans.

    Muhammad Ashraf, who is not fluent in English, said he thought he was getting a loan to purchase a car but ended up in debt to buy a taxi medallion instead.

    Muhammad Ashraf, a Pakistani immigrant, alleged that a broker, Heath Candero, duped him into a $780,000 interest-only loan. He said in an interview in Urdu that he could not speak English fluently and thought he was just signing a loan to buy a car. He said he found out about the loan when his bank sued him for not fully repaying. The bank eventually decided not to pursue a case against Mr. Ashraf. He also filed a lawsuit against Mr. Candero. That case was dismissed. A lawyer for Mr. Candero declined to comment.

    Abdur Rahim, a Bangladeshi immigrant, alleged that his lender, Bay Ridge Credit Union, inserted hidden fees. In an interview, he added he was told to lie on his loan application. The application, reviewed by The Times, said he made $128,389, but he said his tax return showed he made about $25,000. In court, Bay Ridge has denied there were hidden fees and said Mr. Rahim was “confusing the predatory-lending statute with a mere bad investment.” The credit union declined to comment.

    Several employees of lenders said they were pushed to write loans, encouraged by bonuses and perks such as tickets to sporting events and free trips to the Bahamas.

    They also said drivers almost never had lawyers at loan closings. Borrowers instead trusted their broker to represent them, even though, unbeknown to them, the broker was often getting paid by the bank.

    Stan Zurbin, who between 2009 and 2012 did consulting work for a lender that issued medallion loans, said that as prices rose, lenders in the industry increasingly lent to immigrants.

    “They didn’t have 750 credit scores, let’s just say,” he said. “A lot of them had just come into the country. A lot of them just had no idea what they were signing.”

    The $1 million medallion
    Video
    Mrs. Hoque did not want her husband to buy a medallion. She wanted to use their savings to buy a house. They had their first child in 2008, and they planned to have more. They needed to leave the studio apartment, and she thought a home would be a safer investment.

    But Mr. Hoque could not shake the idea, especially after several friends bought medallions at the city’s February 2014 auction.

    One friend introduced him to a man called “Big Savas.” It was Mr. Konstantinides, a fleet owner who also had a brokerage and a lending company, Mega Funding.

    The call came a few weeks later. A medallion owner had died, and the family was selling for $1 million.

    Mr. Hoque said he later learned the $50,000 he paid up front was just for taxes. Mega eventually requested twice that amount for fees and a down payment, records show. Mr. Hoque said he maxed out credit cards and borrowed from a dozen friends and relatives.

    Fees and interest would bring the total repayment to more than $1.7 million, documents show. It was split into two loans, both issued by Mega with New York Commercial Bank. The loans made him pay $5,000 a month — most of the $6,400 he could earn as a medallion owner.

    Mohammed Hoque’s Medallion Loans Consumed Most of His Taxi Revenue
    After paying his two medallion loans and business costs, Mr. Hoque had about $1,400 left over each month to pay the rent on his studio apartment in Queens and cover his living expenses.

    Estimated monthly revenue $11,845

    Gas $1,500

    Income after expenses $1,400

    Vehicle maintenance $1,300

    Medallion loan 1 $4,114

    Insurance $1,200

    Car loan $650

    Credit card fees $400

    Medallion loan 2 $881

    Other work-related expenses $400

    By the time the deal closed in July 2014, Mr. Hoque had heard of a new company called Uber. He wondered if it would hurt the business, but nobody seemed to be worried.

    As Mr. Hoque drove to the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s downtown office for final approval of the purchase, he fantasized about becoming rich, buying a big house and bringing his siblings to America. After a commission official reviewed his application and loan records, he said he was ushered into the elegant “Taxi of Tomorrow” room. An official pointed a camera. Mr. Hoque smiled.

    “These are little cash cows running around the city spitting out money,” Mr. Murstein said, beaming in a navy suit and pink tie.

    He did not mention he was quietly leaving the business, a move that would benefit him when the market collapsed.

    By the time of the appearance, Medallion Financial had been cutting the number of medallion loans on its books for years, according to disclosures it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Mr. Murstein later said the company started exiting the business and focusing on other ventures before 2010.

    Mr. Murstein declined numerous interview requests. He also declined to answer some written questions, including why he promoted medallions while exiting the business. In emails and through a spokesman, he acknowledged that Medallion Financial reduced down payments but said it rarely issued interest-only loans or charged borrowers for repaying loans too early.

    “Many times, we did not match what our competitors were willing to do and in retrospect, thankfully, we lost the business,” he wrote to The Times.

    Interviews with three former staffers, and a Times review of loan documents that were filed as part of lawsuits brought by Medallion Financial against borrowers, indicate the company issued many interest-only loans and routinely included a provision allowing it to charge borrowers for repaying loans too early.

    Other lenders also left the taxi industry or took precautions long before the market collapsed.

    The credit unions specializing in the industry kept making new loans. But between 2010 and 2014, they sold the loans to other financial institutions more often than in the previous five years, disclosure forms show. Progressive Credit Union, run by Mr. Familant, sold loans off almost twice as often, the forms show. By 2012, that credit union was selling the majority of the loans it issued.

    In a statement, Mr. Familant said the selling of loans was a standard banking practice that did not indicate a lack of confidence in the market.

    Several banks used something called a confession of judgment. It was an obscure document in which the borrower admitted defaulting on the loan — even before taking out any money at all — and authorized the bank to do whatever it wanted to collect.

    Larry Fisher was the medallion lending supervisor at Melrose Credit Union, one of the biggest lenders originally in the industry, from 2003 to 2016.
    Congress has banned that practice in consumer loans, but not in business loans, which is how lenders classified medallion deals. Many states have barred it in business loans, too, but New York is not among them.

    Even as some lenders quietly braced for the market to fall, prices kept rising, and profits kept growing.

    By 2014, many of the people who helped create the bubble had made millions of dollars and invested it elsewhere.

    Medallion Financial started focusing on lending to R.V. buyers and bought a professional lacrosse team and a Nascar team, painting the car to look like a taxi. Mr. Murstein and his father made more than $42 million between 2002 and 2014, disclosures show. In 2015, Ms. Minaj, the rap star, performed at his son’s bar mitzvah.

    The Melrose C.E.O., Alan Kaufman, had the highest base salary of any large state-chartered credit union leader in America in 2013 and 2015, records show. His medallion lending supervisor, Mr. Fisher, also made millions.

    It is harder to tell how much fleet owners and brokers made, but in recent years news articles have featured some of them with new boats and houses.

    Mr. Messados’s bank records, filed in a legal case, show that by 2013, he had more than $50 million in non-taxi assets, including three homes and a yacht.

    The bubble bursts

    At least eight drivers have committed suicide, including three medallion owners with overwhelming loans.
    The medallion bubble burst in late 2014. Uber and Lyft may have hastened the crisis, but virtually all of the hundreds of industry veterans interviewed for this article, including many lenders, said inflated prices and risky lending practices would have caused a collapse even if ride-hailing had never been invented.

    At the market’s height, medallion buyers were typically earning about $5,000 a month and paying about $4,500 to their loans, according to an analysis by The Times of city data and loan documents. Many owners could make their payments only by refinancing when medallion values increased, which was unsustainable, some loan officers said.

    City data shows that since Uber entered New York in 2011, yellow cab revenue has decreased by about 10 percent per cab, a significant bite for low-earning drivers but a small drop compared with medallion values, which initially rose and then fell by 90 percent.

    As values fell, borrowers asked for breaks. But many lenders went the opposite direction. They decided to leave the business and called in their loans.

    They used the confessions to get hundreds of judgments that would allow them to take money from bank accounts, court records show. Some tried to get borrowers to give up homes or a relative’s assets. Others seized medallions and quickly resold them for profit, while still charging the original borrowers fees and extra interest. Several drivers have alleged in court that their lenders ordered them to buy life insurance.

    Many lenders hired a debt collector, Anthony Medina, to seize medallions from borrowers who missed payments.

    The scars left on cabs after medallions were removed.

    Mr. Medina left notes telling borrowers they had to give the lender “relief” to get their medallions back. The notes, which were reviewed by The Times, said the seizure was “authorized by vehicle apprehension unit.” Some drivers said Mr. Medina suggested he was a police officer and made them meet him at a park at night and pay $550 extra in cash.

    One man, Jean Demosthenes, a 64-year-old Haitian immigrant who could not speak English, said in an interview in Haitian Creole that Mr. Medina cornered him in Midtown, displayed a gun and took his car.

    In an interview, Mr. Medina denied threatening anyone with a gun. He said he requested cash because drivers who had defaulted could not be trusted to write good checks. He said he met drivers at parks and referred to himself as the vehicle apprehension unit because he wanted to hide his identity out of fear he could be targeted by borrowers.

    “You’re taking words from people that are deadbeats and delinquent people. Of course, they don’t want to see me,” he said. “I’m not the bad guy. I’m just the messenger from the bank.”

    Some lenders, especially Signature Bank, have let borrowers out of their loans for one-time payments of about $250,000. But to get that money, drivers have had to find new loans. Mr. Greenbaum, a fleet owner, has provided many of those loans, sometimes at interest rates of up to 15 percent, loan documents and interviews showed.

    New York Commercial Bank said in its statement it also had modified some loans.

    Other drivers lost everything. Most of the more than 950 owners who declared bankruptcy had to forfeit their medallions. Records indicate many were bought by hedge funds hoping for prices to rise. For now, cabs sit unused.

    Jean Demosthenes said his medallion was repossessed by a man with a gun. The man denied that he was armed.

    Bhairavi Desai, founder of the Taxi Workers Alliance, which represents drivers and independent owners, has asked the city to bail out owners or refund auction purchasers. Others have urged the city to pressure banks to forgive loans or soften terms.

    After reviewing The Times’s findings, Deepak Gupta, a former top official at the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, said the New York Attorney General’s Office should investigate lenders.

    Mr. Gupta also said the state should close the loophole that let lenders classify medallion deals as business loans, even though borrowers had to guarantee them with everything they owned. Consumer loans have far more disclosure rules and protections.

    “These practices were indisputably predatory and would be illegal if they were considered consumer loans, rather than business loans,” he said.

    Last year, amid eight known suicides of drivers, including three medallion owners with overwhelming loans, the city passed a temporary cap on ride-hailing cars, created a task force to study the industry and directed the city taxi commission to do its own analysis of the debt crisis.

    Earlier this year, the Council eliminated the committee overseeing the industry after its chairman, Councilman Rubén Díaz Sr. of the Bronx, said the Council was “controlled by the homosexual community.” The speaker, Mr. Johnson, said, “The vast majority of the legislative work that we have been looking at has already been completed.”

    In a statement, a council spokesman said the committee’s duties had been transferred to the Committee on Transportation. “The Council is working to do as much as it can legislatively to help all drivers,” the spokesman said.

    As of last week, no one had been appointed to the task force.

    On the last day of 2018, Mr. and Mrs. Hoque brought their third child home from the hospital.

    Mr. Hoque cleared space for the boy’s crib, pushing aside his plastic bags of T-shirts and the fan that cooled the studio. He looked around. He could not believe he was still living in the same room.

    His loan had quickly faltered. He could not make the payments and afford rent, and his medallion was seized. Records show he paid more than $12,000 to Mega, and he said he paid another $550 to Mr. Medina to get it back. He borrowed from friends, promising it would not happen again. Then it happened four more times, he said.

    Mr. Konstantinides, the broker, said in his statement that he met with Mr. Hoque many times and twice modified one of his loans in order to lower his monthly payments. He also said he gave Mr. Hoque extra time to make some payments.

    In all, between the initial fees, monthly payments and penalties after the seizures, Mr. Hoque had paid about $400,000 into the medallion by the beginning of this year.

    But he still owed $915,000 more, plus interest, and he did not know what to do. Bankruptcy would cost money, ruin his credit and remove his only income source. And it would mean a shameful end to years of hard work. He believed his only choice was to keep working and to keep paying.

    His cab was supposed to be his ticket to money and freedom, but instead it seemed like a prison cell. Every day, he got in before the sun rose and stayed until the sky began to darken. Mr. Hoque, now 48, tried not to think about home, about what he had given up and what he had dreamed about.

    “It’s an unhuman life,” he said. “I drive and drive and drive. But I don’t know what my destination is.”

    [Read Part 2 of The Times’s investigation: As Thousands of Taxi Drivers Were Trapped in Loans, Top Officials Counted the Money]

    Reporting was contributed by Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Suzanne Hillinger, Derek M. Norman, Elisha Brown, Lindsey Rogers Cook, Pierre-Antoine Louis and Sameen Amin. Doris Burke and Susan Beachy contributed research. Produced by Jeffrey Furticella and Meghan Louttit.

    Follow Brian M. Rosenthal on Twitter at @brianmrosenthal

    #USA #New_York #Taxi #Betrug #Ausbeutung

  • Hundreds of Europeans ‘criminalised’ for helping migrants – as far right aims to win big in European elections

    Elderly women, priests and firefighters among those arrested, charged or ‘harassed’ by police for supporting migrants, with numbers soaring in the past 18 months.

    These cases – compiled from news reports and other records from researchers, NGOs and activist groups, as well as new interviews across Europe – suggest a sharp increase in the number of people targeted since the start of 2018. At least 100 people were arrested, charged or investigated last year (a doubling of that figure for the preceding year).


    https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/5050/hundreds-of-europeans-criminalised-for-helping-migrants-new-data-show
    #délit_de_solidarité #solidarité #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Europe
    #Allemagne #criminalisation #statistiques #chiffres #Suisse #Danemark #Espagne #France #journalisme #journalistes #presse #Grèce #Calais

    #Norbert_Valley #Christian_Hartung #Miguel_Roldan #Lise_Ramslog #Claire_Marsol #Anouk_Van_Gestel #Lisbeth_Zornig_Andersen #Daphne_Vloumidi #Mikael_Lindholm #Fernand_Bosson #Benoit_Duclois #Mussie_Zerai #Manuel_Blanco #Tom_Ciotkowski #Rob_Lawrie

    ping @isskein @karine4

  • Les antibiotiques polluent désormais les rivières du monde entier
    https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/energie-environnement/les-antibiotiques-polluent-les-rivieres-du-monde-entier-818590.html


    Crédits : Pixabay

    Quatorze antibiotiques ont été retrouvés dans les rivières de 72 pays, d’après une étude britannique inédite révélée lundi 27 mai. Les concentrations d’antibiotiques trouvés dépassent jusqu’à 300 fois les niveaux « acceptables ». Un risque majeur puisque ce phénomène accentue le phénomène de résistance aux antibiotiques qui deviennent moins efficaces pour traiter certains symptômes.

    Aucune n’est épargnée. Une étude présentée lundi 27 mai révèle que, de l’Europe à l’Asie en passant par l’Afrique, les concentrations d’antibiotiques relevées dans certaines rivières du monde dépassent largement les niveaux acceptables. La nouveauté de cette étude résulte du fait qu’il s’agit désormais d’un « problème mondial » car si, autrefois, les niveaux tolérés étaient le plus souvent dépassés en Asie et en Afrique - les sites les plus problématiques se trouvent au Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan et Nigeria - l’Europe et l’Amérique ne sont plus en reste, note le communiqué de l’équipe de chercheurs de l’université britannique de York responsable de l’étude.

    Les scientifiques ont ainsi analysé des prélèvements effectués sur 711 sites dans 72 pays sur six continents et ont détecté au moins un des 14 antibiotiques recherchés dans 65% des échantillons. Les chercheurs, qui présentaient leurs recherches lundi à un congrès à Helsinki, ont comparé ces prélèvements aux niveaux acceptables établis par le groupement d’industries pharmaceutiques AMR Industry Alliance, qui varient selon la substance.

    Résultat, le métronidazole, utilisé contre les infections de la peau et de la bouche, est l’antibiotique qui dépasse le plus ce niveau acceptable, avec des concentrations allant jusqu’à 300 fois ce seuil sur un site au Bangladesh. Le niveau est également dépassé dans la Tamise. La ciprofloxacine est de son côté la substance qui dépasse le plus souvent le seuil de sûreté acceptable (sur 51 sites), tandis que le triméthoprime, utilisé dans le traitement des infections urinaires, est le plus fréquemment retrouvé.

    • Est-ce que c’est des antibiotiques qu’on prescrit aux humain·es ou aux non-humain·es ?
      J’ai trouvé une liste des médicaments réservé aux humains et la métronidazole et la ciprofloxacine n’en font pas partie.

      ANNEXEII -MEDICAMENTS HUMAINS CLASSES AIC NON AUTORISES EN MEDECINE VETERINAIREFAMILLE D’APPARTENANCE DE LA SUBSTANCENOM DE LA SUBSTANCECéphalosporinesdetroisièmeoudequatrièmegénérationCeftriaxoneCéfiximeCefpodoximeCéfotiamCéfotaximeCeftazidimeCéfépimeCefpiromeCeftobiproleAutrescéphalosporinesCeftarolineQuinolones de deuxième génération (fluoroquinolones)LévofloxacineLoméfloxacinePéfloxacineMoxifloxacineEnoxacinePénèmesMéropènèmeErtapénèmeDoripénemImipénème+inhibiteurd’enzymeAcidesphosphoniquesFosfomycineGlycopeptidesVancomycineTeicoplanineTélavancineDalbavancineOritavancineGlycylcyclinesTigécyclineLipopeptidesDaptomycineMonobactamsAztréonamOxazolidonesCyclosérineLinézolideTédizolideRiminofenazinesClofaziminePénicillinesPipéracillinePipéracilline+inhibiteurd’enzymeTémocillineTircacillineTircacilline+inhibiteurd’enzymeSulfonesDapsoneAntituberculeux/antilépreuxRifampicineRifabutineCapréomycineIsoniazideEthionamidePyrazinamideEthambutolClofazimineDapsone+ferreuxoxalate

      http://www.ordre.pharmacien.fr/content/download/346633/1695541/version/2/file/Fiches-pratiques_pharmacie-v%C3%A9t%C3%A9rinaire.pdf

    • Le site de l’équipe qui a coordonné les travaux, Université d’York

      Antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels, global study finds - News and events, The University of York
      https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2019/research/antibiotics-found-in-some-of-worlds-rivers
      https://www.york.ac.uk/media/news-and-events/pressreleases/2019/Global rivers feat.jpg

      Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed ‘safe’ levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered.
      […]
      Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in rivers in 72 countries across six continents and found antibiotics at 65% of the sites monitored.

      Metronidazole, which is used to treat bacterial infections including skin and mouth infections, exceeded safe levels by the biggest margin, with concentrations at one site in Bangladesh 300 times greater than the ‘safe’ level.

      In the River Thames and one of its tributaries in London, the researchers detected a maximum total antibiotic concentration of 233 nanograms per litre (ng/l), whereas in Bangladesh the concentration was 170 times higher.

      Trimethoprim
      The most prevalent antibiotic was trimethoprim, which was detected at 307 of the 711 sites tested and is primarily used to treat urinary tract infections.

      The research team compared the monitoring data with ‘safe’ levels recently established by the AMR Industry Alliance which, depending on the antibiotic, range from 20-32,000 ng/l.

      Ciproflaxacin, which is used to treat a number of bacterial infections, was the compound that most frequently exceeded safe levels, surpassing the safety threshold in 51 places.

      Global problem
      The team said that the ‘safe’ limits were most frequently exceeded in Asia and Africa, but sites in Europe, North America and South America also had levels of concern showing that antibiotic contamination was a “global problem.”

      Sites where antibiotics exceeded ‘safe’ levels by the greatest degree were in Bangladesh, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan and Nigeria, while a site in Austria was ranked the highest of the European sites monitored.

      The study revealed that high-risk sites were typically adjacent to wastewater treatment systems, waste or sewage dumps and in some areas of political turmoil, including the Israeli and Palestinian border.

      Monitoring
      The project, which was led by the University of York, was a huge logistical challenge – with 92 sampling kits flown out to partners across the world who were asked to take samples from locations along their local river system.

      Samples were then frozen and couriered back to the University of York for testing. Some of the world’s most iconic rivers were sampled, including the Chao Phraya, Danube, Mekong, Seine, Thames, Tiber and Tigris.

    • Le résumé de la présentation à Helsinki, le 28 mai

      Tracks & Sessions – SETAC Helsinki
      https://helsinki.setac.org/programme/scientific-programme/trackssessions

      3.12 - New Insights into Chemical Exposures over Multiple Spatial and Temporal Scales
      Co-chairs: Alistair Boxall, Charlotte Wagner, Rainer Lohmann, Jason Snape 

      Tuesday May 28, 2019 | 13:55–15:30 | Session Room 204/205 

      Current methods used to assess chemical exposures are insufficient to accurately establish the impacts of chemicals on human and ecosystem health. For example, exposure assessment often involves the use of averaged concentrations, assumes constant exposure of an organism and focuses on select geographical regions, individual chemicals and single environmental compartments. A combination of tools in environmental scientists’ toolbox can be used to address these limitations.

      This session will therefore include presentations on experimental and modelling approaches to better understand environmental exposures of humans and other organisms to chemicals over space and time, and the drivers of such exposures. We welcome submissions from the following areas:
      1) Applications of novel approaches such as source apportionment, wireless sensor networks, drones and citizen science to generate and understand exposure data over multiple spatial and temporal scales,
      2) Advancements in assessing exposures to multiple chemicals and from different land-use types, as well as the impact of an organism’s differing interactions with its environment, and
      3) Quantification of chemical exposures at regional, continental and global geographical scales.

      This session aims at advancing efforts to combine models and measurement to better assess environmental distribution and exposure to chemical contaminants, reducing ubiquitous exposures and risks to public and environmental health.

  • Inside the Close Naval Encounters in the South China Sea - Bloomberg

    On notera que la seule chose que confient les officiers interrogés sur ce navire amiral est que le comportement des navires qui les ont pistés à de multiples reprises à toujours été extrêmement sûr. Ils ne disent pas a toujours été extrêmement professionnel, car cela contredirait trop ouvertement les déclarations officielles.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-13/south-china-sea-naval-encounters


    The U.S. Navy’s USS Blue Ridge in Singapore on May 9.
    Photographer : Bryan van der Beek/Bloomberg

    The voice on the radio in the middle of the South China Sea follows a familiar script for Captain Eric Anduze, who helms the USS Blue Ridge. It’s China on the phone.

    They’ll contact us and they’ll go — ‘U.S. government vessel, this is Chinese Navy vessel’ number whatever — ‘we will maintain five miles from you and escort you as you make your transit,”’ Anduze said, describing the English-speaking voice from a rival Chinese warship.

    The U.S. response is short: “Chinese vessel, this is government vessel 1 9, copy, out.” From there on, silence, as the vessels of the world’s rival powers steam onward together.

    The ship-to-ship interactions are a regular potential flash point for the world’s two biggest militaries in contested waters. In September, a Chinese destroyer sailed within a football field’s distance of the USS Decatur in what the U.S. said was an “unsafe and unprofessional” maneuver. That hasn’t deterred future sailings — the U.S. sent two guided-missile destroyers within 12 nautical miles of disputed islands earlier this month.

    Based in Japan, the Blue Ridge is a frequent traveler through the South China Sea, which Beijing considers its waters against an international community increasingly concerned by its encroachment. The area is home to key shipping lanes and fisheries that have sparked dispute between China and its neighbors.
    […]
    The U.S. Navy allowed media outlets, including Bloomberg, an inside look at the sort of ship it’s using to sail through the disputed waters. The oldest operational warship in the American Navy, the Blue Ridge is the flagship of the 7th Fleet, and docked in Singapore as part of a tour of southeast Asian port cities.

    The Blue Ridge is billed as one of the most technologically advanced ships in the world. It operates as a central information node for a fleet whose range stretches from the Indian-Pakistan border to the International Date Line in the Pacific Ocean. Through its several computers flow a database the Navy says gives it a “complete tactical picture of air, surface and subsurface contacts.” That’s what it does: it sails and it knows things.

    The ship is a small floating town of more than 1,000 sailors at any given time. There are beds and cafeterias, fitness centers and a post office. A miniature hospital has sick beds and an operating room, along with a dentist who can fill a cavity or pull a tooth — unless the waves get too rough. Up on deck, sailors can jog around a makeshift track around the ship, at about seven laps to a mile.

    Since February, Captain Anduze said the Blue Ridge has been escorted by Chinese vessels about six times in an almost unremarkable and now routine manner.

    In Washington, the view is that China uses “coercive tactics” including its naval and paramilitary vessels to enforce claims in the South China Sea, the Pentagon said last week in its annual report on China’s military power. Those are targeted “in ways calculated to be below the threshold of provoking conflict,” though have escalated into near-misses with U.S. warships.

    Naval officials on the Blue Ridge declined to comment in detail on those more aggressive encounters, except to say nothing similar had happened with them as they passed through the South China Sea’s shipping lanes.

    We have had ships that come about three to four miles away and then just navigate with us throughout the area,” Anduze said. Those interactions have been “very safe.

  • Global Report on Internal Displacement #2019

    KEY FINDINGS

    Internal displacement is a global challenge, but it is also heavily concentrated in a few countries and triggered by few events. 28 million new internal displacements associated with conflict and disasters across 148 countries and territories were recorded in 2018, with nine countries each accounting for more than a million.

    41.3 million people were estimated to be living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence in 55 countries as of the end of the year, the highest figure ever recorded. Three-quarters, or 30.9 million people, were located in only ten countries.

    Protracted crises, communal violence and unresolved governance challenges were the main factors behind 10.8 million new displacements associated with conflict and violence. Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Syria accounted for more than half of the global figure.

    Newly emerging crises forced millions to flee, from Cameroon’s anglophone conflict to waves of violence in Nigeria’s Middle Belt region and unprecedented conflict in Ethiopia. Displacement also continued despite peace efforts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Colombia.

    Many IDPs remain unaccounted for. Figures for DRC, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sudan and Yemen are considered underestimates, and data is scarce for Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Russia, Turkey and Venezuela. This prevents an accurate assessment of the true scale of internal displacement in these countries. ||Estimating returns continues to be a major challenge.

    Large numbers of people reportedly returned to their areas of origin in Ethiopia, Iraq and Nigeria, to conditions which were not conducive to long-lasting reintegration. ||Urban conflict triggered large waves of displacement and has created obstacles to durable solutions. Airstrikes and shelling forced many thousands to flee in Hodeida in Yemen, Tripoli in Libya and Dara’a in Syria. In Mosul in Iraq and Marawi in the Philippines, widespread destruction and unexploded ordnance continued to prevent people from returning home.

    Heightened vulnerability and exposure to sudden-onset hazards, particularly storms, resulted in 17.2 million disaster displacements in 144 countries and territories. The number of people displaced by slow-onset disasters worldwide remains unknown as only drought-related displacement is captured in some countries, and only partially.

    The devastating power of extreme events highlighted again the impacts of climate change across the globe. Wildfires were a particularly visible expression of this in 2018, from the US and Australia to Greece and elsewhere in southern Europe, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, causing severe damage and preventing swift returns.

    Global risk of being displaced by floods is staggeringly high and concentrated in towns and cities: more than 17 million people are at risk of being displaced by floods each year. Of these, more than 80 per cent live in urban and peri-urban areas.

    An overlap of conflict and disasters repeatedly displaced people in a number of countries. Drought and conflict triggered similar numbers of displacements in Afghanistan, and extended rainy seasons displaced millions of people in areas of Nigeria and Somalia already affected by conflict. Most of the people displaced by disasters in Iraq and Syria were IDPs living in camps that were flooded.

    Promising policy developments in several regions show increased attention to displacement risk. Niger became the first country to domesticate the Kampala Convention by adopting a law on internal displacement, and Kosovo recognised the importance of supporting returning refugees and IDPs, updating its policy to that end. Vanuatu produced a policy on disaster and climate-related displacement, and Fiji showed foresight in adopting new guidelines on resettlement in the context of climate change impacts.

    https://reliefweb.int/report/world/global-report-internal-displacement-2019-grid-2019-0
    #IDPs #déplacés_internes #migrations #asile #statistiques #chiffres

    ping @reka @karine4

  • Record High #Remittances Sent Globally in #2018

    Remittances to low- and middle-income countries reached a record high in 2018, according to the World Bank’s latest Migration and Development Brief.

    The Bank estimates that officially recorded annual remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries reached $529 billion in 2018, an increase of 9.6 percent over the previous record high of $483 billion in 2017. Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, reached $689 billion in 2018, up from $633 billion in 2017.

    Regionally, growth in remittance inflows ranged from almost 7 percent in East Asia and the Pacific to 12 percent in South Asia. The overall increase was driven by a stronger economy and employment situation in the United States and a rebound in outward flows from some Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the Russian Federation. Excluding China, remittances to low- and middle-income countries ($462 billion) were significantly larger than foreign direct investment flows in 2018 ($344 billion).

    Among countries, the top remittance recipients were India with $79 billion, followed by China ($67 billion), Mexico ($36 billion), the Philippines ($34 billion), and Egypt ($29 billion).

    In 2019, remittance flows to low- and middle-income countries are expected to reach $550 billion, to become their largest source of external financing.

    The global average cost of sending $200 remained high, at around 7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the World Bank’s Remittance Prices Worldwide database. Reducing remittance costs to 3 percent by 2030 is a global target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10.7. Remittance costs across many African corridors and small islands in the Pacific remain above 10 percent.

    Banks were the most expensive remittance channels, charging an average fee of 11 percent in the first quarter of 2019. Post offices were the next most expensive, at over 7 percent. Remittance fees tend to include a premium where national post offices have an exclusive partnership with a money transfer operator. This premium was on average 1.5 percent worldwide and as high as 4 percent in some countries in the last quarter of 2018.

    On ways to lower remittance costs, Dilip Ratha, lead author of the Brief and head of KNOMAD, said, “Remittances are on track to become the largest source of external financing in developing countries. The high costs of money transfers reduce the benefits of migration. Renegotiating exclusive partnerships and letting new players operate through national post offices, banks, and telecommunications companies will increase competition and lower remittance prices.”

    The Brief notes that banks’ ongoing de-risking practices, which have involved the closure of the bank accounts of some remittance service providers, are driving up remittance costs.

    The Brief also reports progress toward the SDG target of reducing the recruitment costs paid by migrant workers, which tend to be high, especially for lower-skilled migrants.

    “Millions of low-skilled migrant workers are vulnerable to recruitment malpractices, including exorbitant recruitment costs. We need to boost efforts to create jobs in developing countries and to monitor and reduce recruitment costs paid by these workers,” said Michal Rutkowski, Senior Director of the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank. The World Bank and the International Labour Organization are collaborating to develop indicators for worker-paid recruitment costs, to support the SDG of promoting safe, orderly, and regular migration.

    Regional Remittance Trends

    Remittances to the East Asia and Pacific region grew almost 7 percent to $143 billion in 2018, faster than the 5 percent growth in 2017. Remittances to the Philippines rose to $34 billion, but growth in remittances was slower due to a drop in private transfers from the GCC countries. Flows to Indonesia increased by 25 percent in 2018, after a muted performance in 2017.

    After posting 22 percent growth in 2017, remittances to Europe and Central Asia grew an estimated 11 percent to $59 billion in 2018. Continued growth in economic activity increased outbound remittances from Poland, Russia, Spain, and the United States, major sources of remittances to the region. Smaller remittance-dependent countries in the region, such as the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, benefited from the sustained rebound of economic activity in Russia. Ukraine, the region’s largest remittance recipient, received a new record of more than $14 billion in 2018, up about 19 percent over 2017. This surge in Ukraine also reflects a revised methodology for estimating incoming remittances, as well as growth in neighboring countries’ demand for migrant workers.

    Remittances flows into Latin America and the Caribbean grew 10 percent to $88 billion in 2018, supported by the strong U.S. economy. Mexico continued to receive the most remittances in the region, posting about $36 billion in 2018, up 11 percent over the previous year. Colombia and Ecuador, which have migrants in Spain, posted 16 percent and 8 percent growth, respectively. Three other countries in the region posted double-digit growth: Guatemala (13 percent) as well as Dominican Republic and Honduras (both 10 percent), reflecting robust outbound remittances from the United States.

    Remittances to the Middle East and North Africa grew 9 percent to $62 billion in 2018. The growth was driven by Egypt’s rapid remittance growth of around 17 percent. Beyond 2018, the growth of remittances to the region is expected to continue, albeit at a slower pace of around 3 percent in 2019 due to moderating growth in the Euro Area.

    Remittances to South Asia grew 12 percent to $131 billion in 2018, outpacing the 6 percent growth in 2017. The upsurge was driven by stronger economic conditions in the United States and a pick-up in oil prices, which had a positive impact on outward remittances from some GCC countries. Remittances grew by more than 14 percent in India, where a flooding disaster in Kerala likely boosted the financial help that migrants sent to families. In Pakistan, remittance growth was moderate (7 percent), due to significant declines in inflows from Saudi Arabia, its largest remittance source. In Bangladesh, remittances showed a brisk uptick in 2018 (15 percent).

    Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew almost 10 percent to $46 billion in 2018, supported by strong economic conditions in high-income economies. Looking at remittances as a share of GDP, Comoros has the largest share, followed by the Gambia , Lesotho, Cabo Verde, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Togo, Ghana, and Nigeria.

    The Migration and Development Brief and the latest migration and remittances data are available at www.knomad.org. Interact with migration experts at http://blogs.worldbank.org/peoplemove

    http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2019/04/08/record-high-remittances-sent-globally-in-2018?cid=ECR_TT_worldbank_EN_EXT
    #remittances #statistiques #chiffres #migrations #diaspora

    #Rapport ici :


    https://www.knomad.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/MigrationandDevelopmentBrief_31_0.pdf

    ping @reka

    • Immigrati, boom di rimesse: più di 6 miliardi all’estero. Lo strano caso dei cinesi «spariti»

      Bangladesh, Romania, Filippine: ecco il podio delle rimesse degli immigrati che vivono e lavorano in Italia. Il trend è in forte aumento: nel 2018 sono stati inviati all’estero 6,2 miliardi di euro, con una crescita annua del 20, 7 per cento.
      A registrarlo è uno studio della Fondazione Leone Moressa su dati Banca d’Italia, dopo il crollo del 2013 e alcuni anni di sostanziale stabilizzazione, oggi il volume di rimesse rappresenta lo 0,35% del Pil.

      Il primato del Bangladesh
      Per la prima volta, nel 2018 il Bangladesh è il primo Paese di destinazione delle rimesse, con oltre 730 milioni di euro complessivi (11,8% delle rimesse totali).
      Il Bangladesh nell’ultimo anno ha registrato un +35,7%, mentre negli ultimi sei anni ha più che triplicato il volume.

      Il secondo Paese di destinazione è la Romania, con un andamento stabile: +0,3% nell’ultimo anno e -14,3% negli ultimi sei.
      Da notare come tra i primi sei Paesi ben quattro siano asiatici: oltre al Bangladesh, anche Filippine, Pakistan e India. Proprio i Paesi dell’Asia meridionale sono quelli che negli ultimi anni hanno registrato il maggiore incremento di rimesse inviate. Il Pakistan ha registrato un aumento del +73,9% nell’ultimo anno. Anche India e Sri Lanka sono in forte espansione.

      Praticamente scomparsa la Cina, che fino a pochi anni fa rappresentava il primo Paese di destinazione e oggi non è nemmeno tra i primi 15 Paesi per destinazione delle rimesse.
      Mediamente, ciascun immigrato in Italia ha inviato in patria poco più di 1.200 euro nel corso del 2018 (circa 100 euro al mese). Valore che scende sotto la media per le due nazionalità più numerose: Romania (50,29 euro mensili) e Marocco (66,14 euro). Tra le comunità più numerose il valore più alto è quello del Bangladesh: ciascun cittadino ha inviato oltre 460 euro al mese. Anche i senegalesi hanno inviato mediamente oltre 300 euro mensili.

      https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2019-04-17/immigrati-boom-rimesse-piu-6-miliardi-all-estero-strano-caso-cinesi-spa
      #Italie #Chine #Bangladesh #Roumanie #Philippines

  • India says it has just shot down a satellite in space - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/613228/india-says-it-has-just-shot-down-a-satellite-in-space

    C’en est fini de la démilitarisation de l’espace.

    Je suis en train de finir la trilogie de SF par Liu Cisun, et comme toujours, la SF nous montre comment cela peut nous conduire au pire.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the successful test in a live television broadcast to the nation, saying it now made India a space power, Reuters reports.

    Bullseye: “Some time ago, our scientists, shot down a live satellite 300 kilometers away in space, in low Earth orbit,” Modi said in an hour-long statement that was broadcast on all national TV stations. Ajay Lele, at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi, told Reuters that it was likely the satellite was destroyed using a missile that carried no warhead.

    Exclusive club: India is only the fourth country to have successfully shot down a satellite. The US, Russia, and China have all done so in the past. The US and Russia both did so in the 1980s, and China conducted its first successful test in 2007.

    Debris threat: China’s 2007 test was condemned as irresponsible when it happened as it created a massive cloud of debris of almost 3000 pieces that were big enough to be tracked by NASA. Many thousands more were too small to see. Even small pieces of debris can be hazardous for other satellites or the International Space Station. We do not yet know what has happened to the remnants of India’s satellite.

    Security fears: The satellite test comes as India is gearing up for an election and is approaching the period during which the government is not allowed to make any policy statements designed to swing votes. Issues of national security are exempt, however, and this week’s display of strength comes against the backdrop of rising tensions with neighboring Pakistan.

    #Guerre #Espace #Militarisme #Communs

  • Bosnia Records 12 Migrant Deaths in 2018

    Bosnian ministries recorded a dozen deaths last year among migrants and refugees in the country, but precise data on those who lost their lives crossing the country remain absent.

    Official data from Bosnian government ministries shows that 12 migrants or refugees lost their lives in the country last year.

    The data were gathered from the interior ministries of Bosnia’s two entities, the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, RS, and the mainly Bosniak and Croatian Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    It is not clear if that is the final number, as the interior ministries in each entity only keep data on deaths where they suspect violence was the cause.

    Border police have data on bodies of people transported back to “countries of high migration risk”, referring to those states from where most migrants and refugees are coming.

    “In 2018, we had four cases; namely two transported to Pakistan and one to Jordan and one to Morocco,” Bosnian Border Police told BIRN.

    Una Sana Canton recorded four migrant or refugee deaths. One of ten units in the Federation entity, in northwest Bosnia, it is where most migrants and refugees are based, as it lies closest to EU-member Croatia.

    “In two cases, natural deaths were confirmed, one case concerned drowning and one person was killed,” the prosecutor’s office of Una Sana Canton told BIRN.

    No Name Kitchen, an NGO that assists migrants and refugees, said it was concerned over the fate of one young Moroccan who they fear is lost in Bosnia or Serbia.

    “He went to cross the border to Croatia from Republika Srpska in Bosnia and got pushed back into Serbia. As he wanted to cross back into Bosnia, he went to cross the [border] Drina river, and that was the last news we have of him,” No Name Kitchen told BIRN.

    His fate remains unknown, as local police could not confirm any details about him.

    The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, told BIRN it does not possess data on migrants and refugees who died in Bosnia but recalled its recently published report on their plight, Desperate Journeys.

    The report notes an estimated 2,275 people perished crossing the Mediterranean in 2018 – an average of six deaths every day, as more and more people attempted the perilous sea crossing to Europe.

    Just over 20,000 migrants and refugees were registered as having entered Bosnia during 2018, according to the country’s Service for Foreign Affairs.

    But the exact number of those still in Bosnia is hard to confirm, as many have clearly moved on.

    Latest information from Bosnia’s Council of Ministers, or government, says only 3,900 remain. That means most of those who declared an intention to claim asylum in Bosnia have in fact left the country.

    Those who stayed and are registered in Bosnia have been placed in seven locations: in Sarajevo, Mostar, Bihac, Cazin and Velika Kladusa. Most are in Bihac.

    Most of them are taking the new so-called “Balkan route” to Western Europe, which passes through Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia.

    The former route was closed off after Hungary built a fence to stop migrants and refugees from entering the country from Serbia, and then moving on to Austria.

    https://balkaninsight.com/2019/03/07/bosnia-records-12-migrant-deaths-in-2018
    #mourir_aux_frontières #Bosnie #asile #migrations #Balkans #route_des_Balkans #statistiques #chiffres #morts #décès

    • Reçu via la newsletter Inicijativa Dobrodosli, le 02.08.2019 :

      In Bosnia and Herzegovina, two people lost their lives this week, one in #Bihać (https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/u-bihacu-umro-migrant-spavao-je-na-pruzi-kad-je-na-njega-naletio-vlak/2105526.aspx) and one in #Polje (https://www.radiovkladusa.ba/u-naselju-polje-pronadjeno-bezivotno-tijelo-migranta). Uncertain and inhumane living conditions and the absence of legal and safe roads have once again proved fatal for those in need of safety.

      #Bihac #2019

      –---------

      U Bihaću umro migrant, spavao je na pruzi kad je na njega naletio vlak

      SINOĆ je na pruzi u Bihaću od udara vlaka iz smjera Sarajeva poginuo jedan migrant, javlja Klix.ba.

      Nesreća se dogodila oko 00:25 na pruzi u blizini Jablaničke ulice kod benzinske pumpe Čavkunović, potvrdio je glasnogovornik MUP-a Unsko-sanskog kantona Ale Šiljdedić.

      Migrant je navodno spavao, nije čuo sirene upozorenja

      Prema riječima svjedoka, vlak se pokušao zaustaviti, ali neuspješno. Migrant je navodno spavao i nije se uspio skloniti s pruge premda su ga sirene upozoravale da se nalazi na mjestu kojem se približava vlak.

      Policajci su odmah izašli na teren, a obaviješteno je i tužiteljstvo.

      Nije poznato iz koje zemlje dolazi nesretni čovjek koji je preminuo na pruzi.

      https://www.index.hr/vijesti/clanak/u-bihacu-umro-migrant-spavao-je-na-pruzi-kad-je-na-njega-naletio-vlak/2105526.aspx

      –--------

      U naselju Polje pronađeno beživotno tijelo migranta

      Jučer je u Velikoj Kladuši, prema još uvijek neutvrđenim okolnostima, smrtno stradala muška osoba za koju se pretpostavlja da je migrant, potvrdio je za naš Radio portparol MUP-a USK Ale Šiljdedić.

      Naime, policijski službenici, u 16:55h, zaprimili su dojavu da se na spratu jedne kuće, u naselju Polje nalazi tijelo nepoznatog muškarca. Slučaj je prijavila uposlenica trgovine koja se nalazi u prizemlju pomenute kuće.

      Policijski službenici su po dolasku na teren utvrdili da se radi o beživotnom tijelu, za sada, još uvijek neidentificirane muške osobe. Kako je naveo Šiljdedić, najvjerovatnije je riječ o migrantu, koji je pronađen sa teškim povredama u predjelu glave. Pretpostavlja se da je do smrti došlo usljed nesretnog slučaja, ali se ne isključuje ni mogućnost krivičnog djela. Više informacija bit će poznato nakon što se završi obdukcija tijela.

      https://www.radiovkladusa.ba/u-naselju-polje-pronadjeno-bezivotno-tijelo-migranta

  • #Pakistan has planted over a billion trees

    Pakistan hit its billion tree goal in August 2017 – months ahead of schedule. Now, the hills of the country’s northwestern province of #Khyber_Pakhtunkhwa are alive with newly planted saplings.

    The massive reforestation project – named the #Billion_Tree_Tsunami – added 350,000 hectares of trees both by planting and natural regeneration, in an effort to restore the province’s depleted forests and fight the effects of climate change.

    Decades of felling and natural disasters have drastically reduced Pakistan’s forests. Figures for the country’s total forest cover range between around 2% and 5% of land area. Nevertheless, Pakistan has one of the lowest levels of forest cover in the region and well below the 12% recommended by the UN.

    It is also among the six countries that will be most affected by global warming.

    Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had lost large areas of forest to felling, which increased the likelihood of flooding and landslides. In 2016 flash floods hit the province, killing dozens of people.


    https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/pakistan-s-billion-tree-tsunami-is-astonishing
    #plantation #arbres #forêt #déforestation #reforestation #climat #changement_climatique

  • What’s Really Going On in #Kashmir? - Antiwar.com Original
    https://original.antiwar.com/reese_erlich/2019/03/08/whats-really-going-on-in-kashmir

    I learned from my hosts that a number of major rivers flow through Kashmir, a vital source of drinking water, irrigation and hydroelectric power for both countries. Whatever country controls the water has a major impact on the entire region.

    Many years ago US water expert David Lilienthal wrote, "No army, with bombs and shellfire could devastate a land as thoroughly as Pakistan could be devastated by the simple expedient of India’s permanently shutting off the sources of water that keep the fields and the people of Pakistan alive.”

    A 1960 treaty allows Pakistan to use most of the water, but India has consistently tried to take back as much as it can.

    Prof. Ahmad said Kashmir also occupies an important geopolitical location in an area that borders India, Pakistan and China. The country that dominates Kashmir has “strategic leverage” in the region, he said.

    [...]

    When India gained independence in 1947, a bitter struggle broke out. India was to become a predominantly Hindu country while Pakistan was overwhelmingly Muslim. A Hindu maharaja ruled over the principality of Kashmir, which was mostly Muslim. The maharaja brought Kashmir into India. A war broke out; India took control of land containing the majority of the Kashmiri population and Pakistan took the thinly populated remainder. The countries fought two more wars over Kashmir in 1965 and 1999.

    Indian leaders have continuously argued that Kashmir is legally part of India. The opposition to India’s rule is fueled by Pakistan, they claim, and is dominated by Muslim terrorist groups. They further assert that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are happy with Indian rule.

    In reality, the people of Kashmir have never acceded to Indian occupation. Human rights groups, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, have accused the Indian military of detention without trial, torture and murder. Indian repression has resulted in 100,000 civilians deaths between 1989-2011, according to Pakistani media. The Associated Press estimates 70,000 deaths between 1989 to the present.

    In 1989, Kashmiris launched an armed rebellion against Indian rule. Indian authorities claimed that the Kashmiris were armed by Pakistan and led by Muslim extremist groups. But the movement’s leading organization, the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, was secular. As Ahmad explained, the movement contained both secular and religious components, much like the Arab Spring of 2011.

    The key element, he said, was that the 1989 uprising “was entirely indigenous. It was a mass uprising.”

    The mid-1990s saw the rise of conservative political Islamist groups sponsored by the Pakistani military and intelligence services, which sought to control the Kashmiri movement for their own interests.

    The Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM), for example, has bombed civilians and engaged in plane hijacking. It took credit for the suicide explosion that killed the Indian soldiers last month. JEM adheres to a right-wing ideology based on political Islam, and an extremist interpretation of Sharia law.

    India accuses the Pakistani government of supporting and giving sanctuary to the JEM. “If the Pakistani state is not supporting them,” conceded Prof. Ahmad, “it’s certainly not stopping them. That’s unfortunate because it allows India to portray the struggle as dominated by terrorists.”

    #Inde #Pakistan #eau

  • Israel is playing a big role in India’s escalating conflict with Pakistan
    Robert Fisk | The Independent - Thursday 28 February 2019
    Signing up to the ‘war on terror’ – especially ‘Islamist terror’ – may seem natural for two states built on colonial partition whose security is threatened by Muslim neighbours
    https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/israel-india-pakistan-conflict-balakot-arms-trade-jaish-e-mohammed-a8

    When I heard the first news report, I assumed it was an Israeli air raid on Gaza. Or Syria. Airstrikes on a “terrorist camp” were the first words. A “command and control centre” destroyed, many “terrorists” killed. The military was retaliating for a “terrorist attack” on its troops, we were told.

    An Islamist “jihadi” base had been eliminated. Then I heard the name Balakot and realised that it was neither in Gaza, nor in Syria – not even in Lebanon – but in Pakistan. Strange thing, that. How could anyone mix up Israel and India?

    Well, don’t let the idea fade away. Two thousand five hundred miles separate the Israeli ministry of defence in Tel Aviv from the Indian ministry of defence in New Delhi, but there’s a reason why the usual cliche-stricken agency dispatches sound so similar.

    For months, Israel has been assiduously lining itself up alongside India’s nationalist BJP government in an unspoken – and politically dangerous – “anti-Islamist” coalition, an unofficial, unacknowledged alliance, while India itself has now become the largest weapons market for the Israeli arms trade.

    Not by chance, therefore, has the Indian press just trumpeted the fact that Israeli-made Rafael Spice-2000 “smart bombs” were used by the Indian air force in its strike against Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) “terrorists” inside Pakistan

    Like many Israeli boasts of hitting similar targets, the Indian adventure into Pakistan might owe more to the imagination than military success. The “300-400 terrorists” supposedly eliminated by the Israeli-manufactured and Israeli-supplied GPS-guided bombs may turn out to be little more than rocks and trees.

    But there was nothing unreal about the savage ambush of Indian troops in Kashmir on 14 February which the JeM claimed, and which left 40 Indian soldiers dead. Nor the shooting down of at least one Indian jet this week.

    India was Israel’s largest arms client in 2017, paying £530m for Israeli air defence, radar systems and ammunition, including air-to-ground missiles – most of them tested during Israel’s military offensives against Palestinians and targets in Syria.

    Israel itself is trying to explain away its continued sales of tanks, weapons and boats to the Myanmar military dictatorship – while western nations impose sanctions on the government which has attempted to destroy its minority and largely Muslim Rohingya people. But Israel’s arms trade with India is legal, above-board and much advertised by both sides.

    The Israelis have filmed joint exercises between their own “special commando” units and those sent by India to be trained in the Negev desert, again with all the expertise supposedly learned by Israel in Gaza and other civilian-thronged battlefronts. (...)

    #IsraelInde

  • China Military Threat: Seeking New Islands to Conquer - James Stavridis - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-21/china-military-threat-seeking-new-islands-to-conquer

    The constant refrain was simple: The West is becoming a less reliable partner. These allies are dismayed by a U.S. administration that has repeatedly criticized its closest partners and accused them of freeloading on defense. They are also worried about weakness and distraction of a Europe facing Brexit. This is compounded as they watch China increase pressure on Taiwan to accept a “one nation, two systems” deal a la Hong Kong and militarize the #South_China_Sea by constructing artificial islands.
    […]
    There is also a less-noticed but extremely worrisome aspect to China’s increasing boldness: It seems to be building its naval capability to dominate farther into the Pacific — as far as what Western analysts call the “second island chain.

    When thinking in a geo-strategic sense about China, the island-chain formulation is helpful. Since the 1950s, U.S. planners have delineated a first island chain, running from the Japanese islands through the Philippines, and down to the tip of Southeast Asia. Dominating inside that line has been the goal of China’s recent buildup in naval and missile capabilities. But U.S. officials warn that Chinese strategists are becoming more ambitious, set on gaining influence running to the second island chain — running from Japan through the Micronesian islands to the tip of Indonesia. As with its initial forays into the South China Sea, Beijing is using “scientific” missions and hydrographic surveying ships as the tip of the spear.

    Japan and Singapore are essentially anchors at the north and south ends the island chains. They have been integrating their defense capabilities with the U.S. through training, exercises and arms purchases. They are exploring better relations with India as the Pacific and Indian Oceans are increasingly viewed as a single strategic entity. This is a crucial element in the U.S. strategy for the region. But there are changes coming.

    First, there are expectations that China will eye the third island chain, encompassing Hawaii and the Alaskan coast before dropping south down to New Zealand. This has long been regarded as the final line of strategic demarcation between the U.S. and China. Second, some analysts are beginning to talk about a fourth and even fifth island chain, both in the Indian Ocean, an increasingly crucial zone of competition between the U.S. and China.

    Two obvious Indian Ocean chains exist. The first would run from southern Pakistan (where China has created a deep-water port at Gwador) down past Diego Garcia, the lonely atoll controlled by the U.K. from which the U.S. runs enormous logistical movements into Central Asia. As a junior officer on a Navy cruiser in the 1980s, I visited Diego Garcia when it was essentially a fuel stop with a quaint palm-thatched bar. The base has expanded enormously, becoming critical to supporting U.S. and British combat efforts in the Horn of Africa and Middle East.

    The fifth and final island chain could be considered to run from the Horn of Africa – where the U.S. and China now maintain significant military bases – down to the coast of South Africa. Little wonder the U.S. military has renamed its former Pacific Command as the Indo-Pacific Command.

    #Mer_de_Chine_méridionale

  • #Shamima_Begum: Isis Briton faces move to revoke citizenship

    The Guardian understands the home secretary thinks section 40(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 gives him the power to strip Begum of her UK citizenship.

    He wrote to her family informing them he had made such an order, believing the fact her parents are of Bangladeshi heritage means she can apply for citizenship of that country – though Begum says she has never visited it.

    This is crucial because, while the law bars him from making a person stateless, it allows him to remove citizenship if he can show Begum has behaved “in a manner which is seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK” and he has “reasonable grounds for believing that the person is able, under the law of a country or territory outside the UK, to become a national of such a country or territory”.


    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/19/isis-briton-shamima-begum-to-have-uk-citizenship-revoked?CMP=Share_Andr
    #citoyenneté #UK #Angleterre #apatridie #révocation #terrorisme #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique #nationalité #déchéance_de_nationalité

    • What do we know about citizenship stripping?

      The Bureau began investigating the Government’s powers to deprive individuals of their British citizenship two years ago.

      The project has involved countless hours spent in court, deep and detailed use of the freedom of information act and the input of respected academics, lawyers and politicians.

      The Counter-Terrorism Bill was presented to Parliament two weeks ago. New powers to remove passports from terror suspects and temporarily exclude suspected jihadists from the UK have focused attention on the Government’s citizenship stripping powers, which have been part of the government’s counter-terrorism tools for nearly a decade.

      A deprivation order can be made where the home secretary believes that it is ‘not conducive’ to the public good for the individual to remain in the country, or where citizenship is believed to have been obtained fraudulently. The Bureau focuses on cases based on ‘not conducive’ grounds, which are related to national security and suspected terrorist activity.

      Until earlier this year, the Government was only able to remove the citizenship of British nationals where doing so wouldn’t leave them stateless. However, in July an amendment to the British Nationality Act (BNA) came into force and powers to deprive a person of their citizenship were expanded. Foreign-born, naturalised individuals can now be stripped of their UK citizenship on national security grounds even if it renders them stateless, a practice described by a former director of public prosecutions as being “beloved of the world’s worst regimes during the 20th century”.

      So what do we know about how these powers are used?
      The numbers

      53 people have been stripped of their British citizenship since 2002 – this includes both people who were considered to have gained their citizenship fraudulently, as well as those who have lost it for national security reasons.
      48 of these were under the Coalition government.
      Since 2006, 27 people have lost their citizenship on national security grounds; 24 of these were under the current Coalition government.
      In 2013, home secretary Theresa May stripped 20 individuals of their British citizenship – more than in all the preceding years of the Coalition put together.
      The Bureau has identified 18 of the 53 cases, 17 of which were deprived of their citizenship on national security grounds.
      15 of the individuals identified by the Bureau who lost their citizenship on national security grounds were abroad at the time of the deprivation order.
      At least five of those who have lost their nationality were born in the UK.
      The previous Labour government used deprivation orders just five times in four years.
      Hilal Al-Jedda was the first individual whose deprivation of citizenship case made it to the Supreme Court. The home secretary lost her appeal as the Supreme Court justices unanimously ruled her deprivation order against Al-Jedda had made him illegally stateless. Instead of returning his passport, just three weeks later the home secretary issued a second deprivation order against him.
      This was one of two deprivation of citizenship cases to have made it to the Supreme Court, Britain’s uppermost court, to date.
      In November 2014 deprivation of citizenship case number two reached the Supreme Court, with the appellant, Minh Pham, also arguing that the deprivation order against him made him unlawfully stateless.
      Two of those stripped of their British citizenship by Theresa May in 2010, London-born Mohamed Sakr and his childhood friend Bilal al Berjawi, were later killed by US drone strikes in Somalia.
      One of the individuals identified by the Bureau, Mahdi Hashi, was the subject of rendition to the US, where he was held in secret for over a month and now faces terror charges.
      Only one individual, Iraqi-born Hilal al-Jedda, is currently known to have been stripped of his British citizenship twice.
      Number of Bureau Q&As on deprivation of citizenship: one.

      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-12-10/what-do-we-know-about-citizenship-stripping
      #statistiques #chiffres

    • ‘My British citizenship was everything to me. Now I am nobody’ – A former British citizen speaks out

      When a British man took a holiday to visit relatives in Pakistan in January 2012 he had every reason to look forward to returning home. He worked full time at the mobile phone shop beneath his flat in southeast London, he had a busy social life and preparations for his family’s visit to the UK were in full flow.

      Two years later, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is stranded in Pakistan, and claims he is under threat from the Taliban and unable to find work to support his wife and three children.

      He is one of 27 British nationals since 2006 who have had their citizenship removed under secretive government orders on the grounds that their presence in the UK is ‘not conducive to the public good’. He is the first to speak publicly about his ordeal.

      ‘My British citizenship was everything to me. I could travel around the world freely,’ he told the Bureau. ‘That was my identity but now I am nobody.’

      Under current legislation, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, has the power to strip dual nationals of their British citizenship if she deems their presence in the UK ‘not conducive to the public good’, or if their nationality was gained on fraudulent grounds. May recently won a Commons vote paving the way to allow her to strip the citizenship of foreign-born or naturalised UK nationals even if it rendered them stateless. Amendments to the Immigration Bill – including the controversial Article 60 concerning statelessness – are being tabled this week in the House of Lords.

      A Bureau investigation in December 2013 revealed 20 British nationals were stripped of their citizenship last year – more than in all previous years under the Coalition combined. Twelve of these were later revealed to have been cases where an individual had gained citizenship by fraud; the remaining eight are on ‘conducive’ grounds.

      Since 2006 when the current laws entered force, 27 orders have been made on ‘conducive’ grounds, issued in practice against individuals suspected of involvement in extremist activities. The Home Secretary often makes her decision when the individual concerned is outside the UK, and, in at least one case, deliberately waited for a British national to go on holiday before revoking his citizenship.

      The only legal recourse to these decisions, which are taken without judicial approval, is for the individual affected to submit a formal appeal to the Special Immigration and Asylum Committee (Siac), where evidence can be heard in secret, within 28 days of the order being given. These appeals can take years to conclude, leaving individuals – the vast majority of whom have never been charged with an offence – stranded abroad.

      The process has been compared to ‘medieval exile’ by leading human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce.

      The man, who is referred to in court documents as E2, was born in Afghanistan and still holds Afghan citizenship. He claimed asylum in Britain in 1999 after fleeing the Taliban regime in Kabul, and was granted indefinite leave to remain. In 2009 he became a British citizen.

      While his immediate family remained in Pakistan, E2 came to London, where he worked and integrated in the local community. Although this interview was conducted in his native Pashto, E2 can speak some English.

      ‘I worked and I learned English,’ he says. ‘Even now I see myself as a British. If anyone asks me, I tell them that I am British.’

      But, as of March 28 2012, E2 is no longer a British citizen. After E2 boarded a flight to Kabul in January 2012 to visit relatives in Afghanistan and his wife and children in Pakistan, a letter containing May’s signature was sent to his southeast London address from the UK Border Agency, stating he had been deprived of his British nationality. In evidence that remains secret even from him, E2 was accused of involvement in ‘Islamist extremism’ and deemed a national security threat. He denies the allegation and says he has never participated in extremist activity.

      In the letter the Home Secretary wrote: ‘My decision has been taken in part reliance on information which, in my opinion should not be made public in the interest of national security and because disclosure would be contrary to the public interest.’

      E2 says he had no way of knowing his citizenship had been removed and that the first he heard of the decision was when he was met by a British embassy official at Dubai airport on May 25 2012, when he was on his way back to the UK and well after his appeal window shut.

      E2’s lawyer appealed anyway, and submitted to Siac that: ‘Save for written correspondence to the Appellant’s last known address in the UK expressly stating that he has 28 days to appeal, i.e. acknowledging that he was not in the UK, no steps were taken to contact the Appellant by email, telephone or in person until an official from the British Embassy met him at Dubai airport and took his passport from him.’

      The submission noted that ‘it is clear from this [decision] that the [Home Secretary] knew that the Appellant [E2] is out of the country as the deadline referred to is 28 days.’

      The Home Office disputed that E2 was unaware of the order against him, and a judge ruled that he was satisfied ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that E2 did know about the removal of his citizenship. ‘[W]e do not believe his statement,’ the judge added.

      His British passport was confiscated and, after spending 18 hours in an airport cell, E2 was made to board a flight back to Kabul. He has remained in Afghanistan and Pakistan ever since. It is from Pakistan that he agreed to speak to the Bureau last month.

      Daniel Carey, who is representing E2 in a fresh appeal to Siac, says: ‘The practice of waiting until a citizen leaves the UK before depriving them of citizenship, and then opposing them when they appeal out of time, is an intentional attack on citizens’ due process rights.

      ‘By bending an unfair system to its will the government is getting worryingly close to a system of citizenship by executive fiat.’

      While rules governing hearings at Siac mean some evidence against E2 cannot be disclosed on grounds of national security, the Bureau has been able to corroborate key aspects of E2’s version of events, including his best guess as to why his citizenship was stripped. His story revolves around an incident that occurred thousands of miles away from his London home and several years before he saw it for the last time.

      In November 2008, Afghan national Zia ul-Haq Ahadi was kidnapped as he left the home of his infirmed mother in Peshawar, Pakistan. The event might have gone unnoticed were he not the brother of Afghanistan’s then finance minister and former presidential hopeful Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi. Anwar intervened, and after 13 months of tortuous negotiations with the kidnappers, a ransom was paid and Zia was released. E2 claims to have been the man who drove a key negotiator to Zia’s kidnappers.

      While the Bureau has not yet been able to confirm whether E2 had played the role he claimed in the release, a source with detailed knowledge of the kidnapping told the Bureau he was ‘willing to give [E2] some benefit of the doubt because there are elements of truth [in his version of events].’

      The source confirmed a man matching E2’s description was involved in the negotiations.

      ‘We didn’t know officially who the group was, but they were the kidnappers. I didn’t know whether they were with the Pakistani or Afghan Taliban,’ E2 says. ‘After releasing the abducted person I came back to London.’

      E2 guesses – since not even his lawyers have seen specific evidence against him – that it was this activity that brought him to the attention of British intelligence services. After this point, he was repeatedly stopped as he travelled to and from London and Afghanistan and Pakistan to visit relatives four times between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2012.

      ‘MI5 questioned me for three or four hours each time I came to London at Heathrow airport,’ he says. ‘They said people like me [Pashtun Afghans] go to Waziristan and from there you start fighting with British and US soldiers.

      ‘The very last time [I was questioned] was years after the [kidnapping]. I was asked to a Metropolitan Police station in London. They showed me pictures of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [former Afghan prime minister and militant with links to the Pakistani Taliban (TTP)] along with other leaders and Taliban commanders. They said: ‘You know these guys.’

      He claims he was shown a photo of his wife – a highly intrusive action in conservative Pashtun culture – as well as one of someone he was told was Sirajuddin Haqqani, commander of the Haqqani Network, one of the most lethal TTP-allied groups.

      ‘They said I met him, that I was talking to him and I have connections with him. I said that’s wrong. I told [my interrogator] that you can call [Anwar al-Ahady] and he will explain that he sent me to Waziristan and that I found and released his brother,’ E2 says.

      ‘I don’t know Sirajuddin Haqqani and I didn’t meet him.’

      The Haqqani Network, which operates in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and across the border in Afghanistan, was designated as a terrorist organisation by the United States in September 2012. It has claimed responsibility for a score of attacks against Afghan, Pakistani and NATO security forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The UN accuses Sirajuddin Haqqani of being ‘actively involved in the planning and execution of attacks targeting International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), Afghan officials and civilians.’

      E2 says he has no idea whether Haqqani was involved in Zia’s kidnapping, but he believes the security services may have started investigating him when he met the imam of a mosque he visited in North Waziristan.

      ‘The imam had lunch with us and he was with me while I was waiting for my father-in-law. I didn’t take his number but I gave him mine. That imam often called me on my shop’s BT telephone line [in London]. These calls put me in trouble,’ he says.

      If E2’s version of events is accurate, it would mean he gained his British citizenship while he was negotiating Zia’s release. He lost it less than three years later.

      The Home Office offered a boilerplate response to the Bureau’s questions: ‘The Home Secretary will remove British citizenship from individuals where she feels it is conducive to the public good to do so.’

      When challenged specifically on allegations made by E2, the spokesman said the Home Office does not comment on individual cases.

      E2 says he now lives in fear for his safety in Pakistan. Since word has spread that he lost his UK nationality, locals assume he is guilty, which he says puts him at risk of attack from the Pakistani security forces. In addition, he says his family has received threats from the Taliban for his interaction with MI5.

      ‘People back in Afghanistan know that my British passport was revoked because I was accused of working with the Taliban. I can’t visit my relatives and I am an easy target to others,’ he said. ‘Without the British passport here, whether [by] the government or Taliban, we can be executed easily.’

      E2 is not alone in fearing for his life after being exiled from Britain. Two British nationals stripped of their citizenship in 2010 were killed a year later by a US drone strike in Somalia. A third Briton, Mahdi Hashi, disappeared from east Africa after having his citizenship revoked in June 2012 only to appear in a US court after being rendered from Djibouti.

      E2 says if the government was so certain of his involvement in extremism they should allow him to stand trial in a criminal court.

      ‘When somebody’s citizenship is revoked if he is criminal he should be put in jail, otherwise he should be free and should have his passport returned,’ he says.

      ‘My message [to Theresa May] is that my citizenship was revoked illegally. It’s wrong that only by sending a letter that your citizenship is revoked. What kind of democracy is it that?’

      https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2014-03-17/my-british-citizenship-was-everything-to-me-now-i-am-nobody-a

  • How Trump’s decision to tear up the INF nuclear treaty could spiral out of control – Alternet.org
    https://www.alternet.org/2019/02/how-trumps-decision-to-tear-up-the-inf-nuclear-treaty-could-spiral-out-of-

    US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the treaty on December 8 1987 to give effect to their declaration that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought”.

    The treaty prohibited the development, testing and possession of ground-launched cruise and ballistic missiles with a range of 500km to 5,500km, whether armed with nuclear or conventional warheads.

    A joint statement from Reagan and Gorbachev noted:

    This treaty is historic both for its objective – the complete elimination of an entire class of US and Soviet nuclear arms – and for the innovative character and scope of its verification provisions.

    It entered into force on June 1, 1988. By its implementation deadline of June 1, 1991, 859 US and 1,752 Soviet missiles had been destroyed.

    Reflecting the dominant Cold War architecture of nuclear arms control, the INF Treaty was bilateral. US National Security Adviser John Bolton, writing in 2011 as a private citizen, conceded the treaty had successfully “addressed a significant threat to US interests”. The threat was a surprise Soviet/Russian nuclear attack in Europe using missiles in the 500-5,500km range.

    But the arms control architecture began fraying when US President George W. Bush pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2001. Signed in 1972, the ABM controlled systems designed to counter “strategic” ballistic missiles, such as intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

    With the INF Treaty now dead and another arms control treaty, New Start, set to expire in 2021, the world will be left without any limits on the two major nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.

    The collapse of the INF Treaty and deployment of China-specific US missiles could compel China to institute counter-measures – such as rapidly expanding its warhead numbers and missile-delivery systems – to protect vital security interests, including nuclear assets deep in its interior.

    China’s response in turn may trigger re-adjustments to India’s doctrine of credible minimum deterrence and could produce matching re-adjustments by Pakistan. The nuclear arsenals of both these countries is presently limited to under 150 each.

    In a worst-case scenario, China, India and Pakistan could engage in a sprint to parity with the US with a rapid expansion of warhead numbers and missile-delivery capabilities, and perhaps even move to keeping a stock of nuclear weapons on high alert just like Russia and the US.

    However, economic and technological limitations will constrain India and Pakistan’s ability to engage in an open-ended nuclear arms race.
    Expanding arms control

    The sensible alternative would be to begin urgently multilateralising the Cold War bilateral structure of nuclear arms control regimes. This means involving more countries than just Russia and the US in arms control treaties, and in particular involving China.

    #Armes_nucléaires #Multilatéralisme #Traités #Guerre_froide #Guerre

  • And Yet We Move - 2018, a Contested Year

    Alarm Phone 6 Week Report, 12 November - 23 December 2018

    311 people escaping from Libya rescued through a chain of solidarity +++ About 113,000 sea arrivals and over 2,240 counted fatalities in the Mediterranean this year +++ 666 Alarm Phone distress cases in 2018 +++ Developments in all three Mediterranean regions +++ Summaries of 38 Alarm Phone distress cases

    Introduction

    “There are no words big enough to describe the value of the work you are doing. It is a deeply human act and it will never be forgotten. The whole of your team should know that we wish all of you health and a long life and the best wishes in all the colours of the world.” These are the words that the Alarm Phone received a few days ago from a man who had been on a boat in the Western Mediterranean Sea and with whom our shift teams had stayed in touch throughout the night until they were finally rescued to Spain. He was able to support the other travellers by continuously and calmly reassuring them, and thereby averted panic on the boat. His message motivates us to continue also in 2019 to do everything we can to assist people who have taken to the sea because Europe’s border regime has closed safe and legal routes, leaving only the most dangerous paths slightly open. On these paths, over 2,240 people have lost their lives this year.

    While we write this report, 311 people are heading toward Spain on the rescue boat of the NGO Proactiva Open Arms. The travellers called the Alarm Phone when they were on a boat-convoy that had left from Libya. Based on the indications of their location, Al-Khums, the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri launched a search operation in the morning of the 21st of December and was able to spot the convoy of three boats which were then rescued by Proactiva. Italy and Malta closed their harbours to them, prolonging their suffering. Over the Christmas days they headed toward their final destination in Spain. The successful rescue operation of the 313 people (one mother and her infant child were flown out by a helicopter after rescue) highlights the chain of solidarity that activists and NGOs have created in the Central Mediterranean Sea. It is a fragile chain that the EU and its member states seek to criminalise and tear apart wherever they can.

    Throughout the year of 2018, we have witnessed and assisted contested movements across the Mediterranean Sea. Despite violent deterrence policies and practices, about 113,000 people succeeded in subverting maritime borders and have arrived in Europe by boat. We were alerted to 666 distress situations at sea (until December 23rd), and our shift teams have done their best to assist the many thousands of people who saw no other option to realise their hope for a better future than by risking their lives at sea. Many of them lost their lives in the moment of enacting their freedom of movement. Over 2,240 women, men, and children from the Global South – and probably many more who were never counted – are not with us anymore because of the violence inscribed in the Global North’s hegemonic and brutal borders. They were not able to get a visa. They could not board a much cheaper plane, bus, or ferry to reach a place of safety and freedom. Many travelled for months, even years, to get anywhere near the Mediterranean border – and on their journeys they have lived through hardships unimaginable for most of us. But they struggled on and reached the coasts of Northern Africa and Turkey, where they got onto overcrowded boats. That they are no longer with us is a consequence of Europe’s racist system of segregation that illegalises and criminalises migration, a system that also seeks to illegalise and criminalise solidarity. Many of these 2,240 people would be alive if the civil rescuers were not prevented from doing their work. All of them would be alive, if they could travel and cross borders freely.

    In the different regions of the Mediterranean Sea, the situation has further evolved over the course of 2018, and the Alarm Phone witnessed the changing patterns of boat migration first hand. Most of the boats we assisted were somewhere between Morocco and Spain (480), a considerable number between Turkey and Greece (159), but comparatively few between Libya and Italy (27). This, of course, speaks to the changing dynamics of migratory escape and its control in the different regions:

    Morocco-Spain: Thousands of boats made it across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Alboran Sea, or the Atlantic and have turned Spain into the ‘front-runner’ this year with about 56,000 arrivals by sea. In 2017, 22,103 people had landed in Spain, 8,162 in 2016. In the Western Mediterranean, crossings are organised in a rather self-organised way and the number of arrivals speaks to a migratory dynamism not experienced for over a decade in this region. Solidarity structures have multiplied both in Morocco and Spain and they will not be eradicated despite the wave of repression that has followed the peak in crossings over the summer. Several Alarm Phone members experienced the consequences of EU pressure on the Moroccan authorities to repress cross-border movements first hand when they were violently deported to the south of Morocco, as were several thousand others.

    Turkey-Greece: With about 32,000 people reaching the Greek islands by boat, more people have arrived in Greece than in 2017, when 29,718 people did so. After arrival via the sea, many are confined in inhumane conditions on the islands and the EU hotspots have turned into rather permanent prisons. This desperate situation has prompted renewed movements across the Turkish-Greek land border in the north. Overall, the number of illegalised crossings into Greece has risen due to more than 20,000 people crossing the land border. Several cases of people experiencing illegal push-back operations there reached the Alarm Phone over the year.

    Libya-Italy/Malta: Merely about 23,000[1] people have succeeded in fleeing Libya via the sea in 2018. The decrease is dramatic, from 119,369 in 2017, and even 181,436 in 2016. This decrease gives testament to the ruthlessness of EU deterrence policies that have produced the highest death rate in the Central Mediterranean and unspeakable suffering among migrant communities in Libya. Libyan militias are funded, trained, and legitimated by their EU allies to imprison thousands of people in camps and to abduct those who made it onto boats back into these conditions. Due to the criminalisation of civil rescuers, a lethal rescue gap was produced, with no NGO able to carry out their work for many months of the year. Fortunately, three of them have now been able to return to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean.

    These snapshots of the developments in the three Mediterranean regions, elaborated on in greater detail below, give an idea of the struggles ahead of us. They show how the EU and its member states not only created dangerous maritime paths in the first place but then reinforced its migrant deterrence regime at any cost. They show, however, also how thousands could not be deterred from enacting their freedom of movement and how solidarity structures have evolved to assist their precarious movements. We go into 2019 with the promise and call that the United4Med alliance of sea rescuers has outlined: “We will prove how civil society in action is not only willing but also able to bring about a new Europe; saving lives at sea and creating a just reception system on land. Ours is a call to action to European cities, mayors, citizens, societies, movements, organisations and whoever believes in our mission, to join us. Join our civil alliance and let us stand up together, boldly claiming a future of respect and equality. We will stand united for the right to stay and for the right to go.”[2] Also in the new year, the Alarm Phone will directly engage in this struggle and we call on others to join. It can only be a collective fight, as the odds are stacked against us.

    Developments in the Central Mediterranean

    In December 2018, merely a few hundred people were able to escape Libya by boat. It cannot be stressed enough how dramatic the decrease in crossings along this route is – a year before, 2,327 people escaped in December, in 2016 even 8,428. 2018 is the year when Europe’s border regime ‘succeeded’ in largely shutting down the Central Mediterranean route. It required a combination of efforts – the criminalisation of civil search and rescue organisations, the selective presence of EU military assets that were frequently nowhere to be found when boats were in distress, the closure of Italian harbours and the unwillingness of other EU member states to welcome the rescued, and, most importantly, the EU’s sustained support for the so-called Libyan coastguards and other Libyan security forces. Europe has not only paid but also trained, funded and politically legitimised Libyan militias whose only job is to contain outward migratory movements, which means capturing and abducting people seeking to flee to Europe both at sea and on land. Without these brutal allies, it would not have been possible to reduce the numbers of crossings that dramatically.

    The ‘Nivin case’ of November 7th exemplifies this European-Libyan alliance. On that day, a group of 95 travellers reached out to the Alarm Phone from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya. Among them were people from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Eritrea. Italy refused to conduct a rescue operation and eventually they were rescued by the cargo vessel Nivin. Despite telling the rescued that they would be brought to a European harbour, the crew of the Nivin returned them to Libya on November 10th. At the harbour of Misrata, most of the rescued refused to disembark, stating that they would not want to be returned into conditions of confinement and torture. The people, accused by some to be ‘pirates’, fought bravely against forced disembarkation for ten days but on the 20th of November they could resist no longer when Libyan security forces stormed the boat and violently removed them, using tear gas and rubber bullets in the process. Several of the protestors were injured and needed treatment in hospital while others were returned into inhumane detention camps.[3]

    Also over the past 6 weeks, the period covered in this report, the criminalisation of civil rescue organisations continued. The day that the protestors on the Nivin were violently removed, Italy ordered the seizure of the Aquarius, the large rescue asset operated by SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières that had already been at the docs in France for some time, uncertain about its future mission. According to the Italian authorities, the crew had falsely labelled the clothes rescued migrants had left on the Aquarius as ‘special’ rather than ‘toxic’ waste.[4] The absurdity of the accusation highlights the fact that Italy’s authorities seek out any means to prevent rescues from taking place, a “disproportionate and unfounded measure, purely aimed at further criminalising lifesaving medical-humanitarian action at sea”, as MSF noted.[5] Unfortunately, these sustained attacks showed effect. On the 6th of December, SOS Med and MSF announced the termination of its mission: “European policies and obstruction tactics have forced [us] to terminate the lifesaving operations carried out by the search and rescue vessel Aquarius.” As the MSF general director said: “This is a dark day. Not only has Europe failed to provide search and rescue capacity, it has also actively sabotaged others’ attempts to save lives. The end of Aquarius means more deaths at sea, and more needless deaths that will go unwitnessed.”[6]

    And yet, despite this ongoing sabotage of civil rescue from the EU and its member states, three vessels of the Spanish, German, and Italian organisations Open Arms, Sea-Watch and Mediterranea returned to the deadliest area of the Mediterranean in late November.[7] This return is also significance for Alarm Phone work in the Central Mediterranean: once again we have non-governmental allies at sea who will not only document what is going on along the deadliest border of the world but actively intervene to counter Europe’s border ‘protection’ measures. Shortly after returning, one of the NGOs was called to assist. Fishermen had rescued a group of travellers off the coast of Libya onto their fishing vessel, after they had been abandoned in the water by a Libyan patrol boat, as the fishermen claimed. Rather than ordering their rapid transfer to a European harbour, Italy, Malta and Spain sought out ways to return the 12 people to Libya. The fishing boat, the Nuestra Madre de Loreto, was ill-equipped to care for the people who were weak and needed medical attention. However, they were assisted only by Proactiva Open Arms, and for over a week, the people had to stay on the fishing boat. One of them developed a medical emergency and was eventually brought away in a helicopter. Finally, in early December, they were brought to Malta.[8]

    Around the same time, something rare and remarkable happened. A boat with over 200 people on board reached the Italian harbour of Pozzallo independently, on the 24th of November. Even when they were at the harbour, the authorities refused to allow them to quickly disembark – a irresponsible decision given that the boat was at risk of capsizing. After several hours, all of the people were finally allowed to get off the boat. Italy’s minister of the interior Salvini accused the Maltese authorities of allowing migrant boats to move toward Italian territory.[9] Despite their hardship, the people on the Nuestra Madre de Loreto and the 200 people from this boat, survived. Also the 33 people rescued by the NGO Sea-Watch on the 22nd of December survived. Others, however, did not. In mid-November, a boat left from Algeria with 13 young people on board, intending to reach Sardinia. On the 16th of November, the first body was found, the second a day later. Three survived and stated later that the 10 others had tried to swim to what they believed to be the shore when they saw a light in the distance.[10] In early December, a boat with 25 people on board left from Sabratha/Libya, and 15 of them did not survive. As a survivor reported, they had been at sea for 12 days without food and water.[11]

    Despite the overall decrease in crossings, what has been remarkable in this region is that the people escaping have more frequently informed the Alarm Phone directly than before. The case mentioned earlier, from the 20th of December, when people from a convoy of 3 boats carrying 313 people in total reached out to us, exemplifies this. Detected by the Colibri reconnaissance aircraft and rescued by Proactiva, this case demonstrates powerfully what international solidarity can achieve, despite all attempts by EU member states and institutions to create a zone of death in the Central Mediterranean Sea.
    Developments in the Western Mediterranean Sea

    Over the past six weeks covered by this report, the Alarm Phone witnessed several times what happens when Spanish and Moroccan authorities shift responsibilities and fail to respond quickly to boats in distress situations. Repeatedly we had to pressurise the Spanish authorities publicly before they launched a Search and Rescue (SAR) operation. And still, many lives were lost at sea. On Moroccan land, the repression campaign against Sub-Saharan travellers and residents continues. On the 30th of November, an Alarm Phone member was, yet again, arrested and deported towards the South of Morocco, to Tiznit, along with many other people. (h https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/04/alarm-phone-member-arrested-and-deported-in-morocco/?post_type_release_type=post). Other friends in Morocco have informed us about the deportation of large groups from Nador to Tiznit. Around the 16th of December, 400 people were forcibly removed, and on the 17th of December, another 300 people were deported to Morocco’s south. This repression against black residents and travellers in Morocco is one of the reasons for many to decide to leave via the sea. This has meant that also during the winter, cross-Mediterranean movements remain high. On just one weekend, the 8th-9th of December, 535 people reached Andalusia/Spain.[12]

    Whilst people are constantly resisting the border regime by acts of disobedience when they cross the borders clandestinely, acts of resistance take place also on the ground in Morocco, where associations and individuals are continuously struggling for the freedom of movement for all. In early December, an Alarm Phone delegation participated at an international conference in Rabat/Morocco, in order to discuss with members of other associations and collectives from Africa and Europe about the effects of the outsourcing and militarisation of European borders in the desire to further criminalise and prevent migration movements. We were among 400 people and were impressed by the many contributions from people who live and struggle in very precarious situations, by the uplifting atmosphere, and by the many accounts and expressions of solidarity. Days later, during the international meeting in Marrakesh on the ‘Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’, the Alarm Phone was part of a counter-summit, protesting the international pact on migration which is not meant to reduce borders between states, but to curtail the freedom of movement of the many in the name of ‘legal’ and ‘regulated’ migration. The Alarm Phone delegation was composed of 20 activists from the cities of Tangier, Oujda, Berkane, Nador and Fes. One of our colleagues sums up the event: “We have expressed our ideas and commitments as Alarm Phone, solemnly and strongly in front of the other organisations represented. We have espoused the vision of freedom of movement, a vision without precedent. A vision which claims symbolically all human rights and which has the power to help migrants on all continents to feel protected.” In light of the Marrakesh pact, several African organisations joined together and published a statement rejecting “…the wish to confine Africans within their countries by strengthening border controls, in the deserts, at sea and in airports.”[13]

    Shortly after the international meeting in Marrakesh, the EU pledged €148 million to support Morocco’s policy of migrant containment, thus taking steps towards making it even more difficult, and therefore more dangerous for many people on the African continent to exercise their right to move freely, under the pretext of “combating smuggling”. Making the journeys across the Mediterranean more difficult does not have the desired effect of ending illegalised migration. As the routes to Spain from the north of Morocco have become more militarised following a summer of many successful crossings, more southern routes have come into use again. These routes, leading to the Spanish Canary Islands, force travellers to overcome much longer distances in the Atlantic Ocean, a space without phone coverage and with a heightened risk to lose one’s orientation. On the 18th of November, 22 people lost their lives at sea, on their way from Tiznit to the Canary Islands.[14] Following a Spanish-Frontex collaboration launched in 2006, this route to the Canary Islands has not been used very frequently, but numbers have increased this year, with Moroccan nationals being the largest group of arrivals.[15]
    Developments in the Aegean Sea

    Over the final weeks of 2018, between the 12th of November and the 23rd of December, 78 boats arrived on the Greek islands while 116 boats were stopped by the Turkish coastguards and returned to Turkey. This means that there were nearly 200 attempts to cross into Europe by boat over five weeks, and about 40 percent of them were successful.[16] Over the past six weeks, the Alarm Phone was involved in a total of 19 cases in this region. 6 of the boats arrived in Samos, 3 of them in Chios, and one each on Lesvos, Agathonisi, Farmkonisi, and Symi. 4 boats were returned to Turkey (3 of them rescued, 1 intercepted by the Turkish coastguards). In one distress situation, a man lost his life and another man had to be brought to the hospital due to hypothermia. Moreover, the Alarm Phone was alerted to 2 cases along the Turkish-Greek land border. While in one case their fate remains uncertain, the other group of people were forcibly pushed-back to Turkey.

    Thousands of people still suffering in inhuman conditions in hotspots: When we assist boats crossing the Aegean Sea, the people are usually relieved and happy when arriving on the islands, at least they have survived. However, this moment of happiness often turns into a state of shock when they enter the so-called ‘hotspots’. Over 12,500 people remain incarcerated there, often living in tents and containers unsuitable for winter in the five EU-sponsored camps on Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, and Leros. In addition to serious overcrowding, asylum seekers continue to face unsanitary and unhygienic conditions and physical violence, including gender-based violence. Doctors without Borders has reported on a measles outbreak in Greek camps and conducted a vaccination campaign.[17] Amnesty International and 20 other organizations have published a collective call: “As winter approaches all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands must be transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries. […] The EU-Turkey deal containment policy imposes unjustified and unnecessary suffering on asylum seekers, while unduly limiting their rights.”

    The ‘humanitarian’ crisis in the hotspots is the result of Greece’s EU-backed policy of containing asylum seekers on the Aegean islands until their asylum claims are adjudicated or until it is determined that they fall into one of the ‘vulnerable’ categories listed under Greek law. But as of late November, an estimated 2,200 people identified as eligible for transfer are still waiting as accommodation facilities on the mainland are also severely overcrowded. Those who are actually transferred from the hotspot on Lesvos to the Greek mainland are brought to far away camps or empty holiday resorts without infrastructure and without a sufficient number of aid workers.

    Criminalisation along Europe’s Eastern Sea Border: A lot has been written about the many attempts to criminalise NGOs and activists carrying out Search and Rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Much less publicly acknowledged are the many cases in which migrant travellers themselves become criminalised for their activist involvement, often for protesting against the inhuman living conditions and the long waiting times for the asylum-interviews. The case of the ‘Moria 35’ on Lesvos was a case in point, highlighting how a few individual protesters were randomly selected by authorities to scare others into silence and obedience. The Legal Centre Lesvos followed this case closely until the last person of the 35 was released and they shared their enquiries with “a 15-month timeline of injustice and impunity” on their website: “On Thursday 18th October, the last of the Moria 35 were released from detention. Their release comes one year and three months – to the day – after the 35 men were arbitrarily arrested and subject to brutal police violence in a raid of Moria camp following peaceful protests, on July 18th 2017.” While the Legal Centre Lesbos welcomes the fact that all 35 men were finally released, they should never have been imprisoned in the first place. They will not get back the 10 to 15 months they spent in prison. Moreover, even after release, most of the 35 men remain in a legally precarious situation. While 6 were granted asylum in Greece, the majority struggles against rejected asylum claims. Three were already deported. One individual was illegally deported without having exhausted his legal remedies in Greece while another individual, having spent 9 months in pre-trial detention, signed up for so-called ‘voluntary’ deportation.[18] In the meantime, others remain in prison to await their trials that will take place with hardly any attention of the media.

    Humanitarian activists involved in spotting and rescue released after 3 months: The four activists, Sarah Mardini, Nassos Karakitsos, Panos Moraitis and Sean Binder, were released on the 6th of December 2018 after having been imprisoned for three months. They had been held in prolonged pre-trial detention for their work with the non-profit organization Emergency Response Center International (ERCI), founded by Moraitis. The charges misrepresented the group as a smuggling crime ring, and its legitimate fundraising activities as money laundering. The arrests forced the group to cease its operations, including maritime search and rescue, the provision of medical care, and non-formal education to asylum seekers. They are free without geographical restrictions but the case is not yet over. Mardini and Binder still face criminal charges possibly leading to decades in prison.[19] Until 15 February the group ‘Solidarity now!’ is collecting as many signatures as possible to ensure that the Greek authorities drop the case.[20]

    Violent Pushbacks at the Land Border: During the last six weeks, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two groups at the land border separating Turkey and Greece. In both situations, the travellers had already reached Greek soil, but ended up on Turkish territory. Human Right Watch (HRW) published another report on the 18th of December about violent push-backs in the Evros region: “Greek law enforcement officers at the land border with Turkey in the northeastern Evros region routinely summarily return asylum seekers and migrants […]. The officers in some cases use violence and often confiscate and destroy the migrants’ belongings.”[21] Regularly, migrants were stripped off their phones, money and clothes. According to HRW, most of these incidents happened between April and November 2018.[22] The UNHCR and the Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture have published similar reports about violent push backs along the Evros borders.[23]
    CASE REPORTS

    Over the past 6 weeks, the WatchTheMed Alarm Phone was engaged in 38 distress cases, of which 15 took place in the Western Mediterranean, 19 in the Aegean Sea, and 4 in the Central Mediterranean. You can find short summaries and links to the individual reports below.
    Western Mediterranean

    On Tuesday the 13th of November at 6.17pm, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a relative to a group of travellers who had left two days earlier from around Orán heading towards Murcia. They were around nine people, including women and children, and the relative had lost contact to the boat. We were also never able to reach the travellers. At 6.46pm we alerted the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM) to the distress of the travellers. For several days we tried to reach the travellers and were in contact with SM about the ongoing rescue operation. We were never able to reach the travellers or get any news from the relative. Thus, we are still unsure if the group managed to reach land somewhere on their own, or if they will add to the devastating number of people having lost their lives at sea (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1085).

    On Thursday the 22nd of November, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone received news about a boat of 11 people that had left Nador 8 hours prior. The shift team was unable to immediately enter into contact with the boat, but called Salvamento Maritimo to convey all available information. At 11.48am the following day, the shift team received word from a traveler on the boat that they were safe (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1088).

    At 7.25am CET on November 24, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 70 people (including 8 women and 1 child) that had departed from Nador 3 days prior. The shift team was able to reach the boat at 7.50am and learned that their motor had stopped working. The shift team called Salvamento Maritimo, who had handed the case over to the Moroccan authorities. The shift team contacted the MRCC, who said they knew about the boat but could not find them, so the shift team mobilized their contacts to find the latest position and sent it to the coast guard at 8.55am. Rescue operations stalled for several hours. At around 2pm, the shift team received news that rescue operations were underway by the Marine Royale. The shift team remained in contact with several people and coast guards until the next day, when it was confirmed that the boat had finally been rescued and that there were at least 15 fatalities (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1087).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, we were alerted to two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. One boat was brought to Algeria, the second boat rescued by Moroccan fishermen and returned to Morocco (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1098).

    On Saturday, the 8th of December 2018, we were informed by a contact person at 3.25pm CET to a boat in distress that had left from Nador/Morocco during the night, at about 1am. There were 57 people on the boat, including 8 women and a child. We tried to establish contact to the boat but were unable to reach them. At 4.50pm, the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) informed us that they were already searching for this boat. At 8.34pm, SM stated that this boat had been rescued. Some time later, also our contact person confirmed that the boat had been found and rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1099).

    On Monday the 10th of December, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to three boats in the Western Med. Two had left from around Nador, and one from Algeria. One boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo, one group of travellers returned back to Nador on their own, and the boat from Algeria returned to Algeria (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1101).

    On Wednesday the 12th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted two boats in the Western Med, one carrying seven people, the other carrying 12 people. The first boat was rescued by the Spanish search and rescue organization Salvamento Maritimo (SM), whilst the second boat was intercepted by the Moroccan Navy and brought back to Morocco, where we were informed that the travellers were held imprisoned (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1102).

    On December 21st, 2018, we were informed of two boats in distress in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The first had left from Algeria and was probably rescued to Spain. The other one had departed from Tangier and was rescued by the Marine Royale and brought back to Morocco (for full report, see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1110).

    On the 22nd of December, at 5.58pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 81 people (including 7 women) that had left the previous day from Nador. The motor was not working properly. They informed that they were in touch with Salvamiento Maritimo but as they were still in Moroccan waters, Salvamiento Maritimo said they were unable to perform rescue operations. The shift team had difficulty maintaining contact with the boat over the course of the next few hours. The shift team also contacted Salvamiento Maritimo who confirmed that they knew about the case. At 7.50pm, Salvamiento Maritimo informed the shift team that they would perform the rescue operations and confirmed the operation at 8.15pm. We later got the confirmation by a contact person that the people were rescued to Spain (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1111).

    On the 23rd of December 2018, at 1.14am CET, the Alarm Phone received an alert of a boat with 11 men and 1 woman who left from Cap Spartel at Saturday the 22nd of December. The Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to this rubber boat in the early hours of Sunday the 23rd of December. The shift team informed the Spanish Search and Rescue organisation Salvamento Maritimo (SM) at 4:50am CET about the situation and provided them with GPS coordinates of the boat. SM, however, rejected responsibility and shifted it to the Moroccan authorities but also the Moroccan Navy did not rescue the people. Several days later, the boat remains missing (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1112).
    Aegean Sea

    On Saturday the 17th of November the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean Sea. The first boat returned back to Turkey, whilst the second boat reached Samos on their own (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1086).

    On the 19th of November at 8.40pm CET the shift team was alerted to a boat of 11 travelers in distress near the Turkish coast on its way to Kos. The shift team called the Turkish Coastguard to inform them of the situation. At 9.00pm, the Coastguard called back to confirm they found the boat and would rescue the people. The shift team lost contact with the travelers. At 9.35pm, the Turkish coast guard informed the shift team that the boat was sunk, one man died and one person had hypothermia and would be brought to the hospital. The other 9 people were safe and brought back to Turkey (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1090).

    On the 20th of November at 4.07am CET, the shift team was alerted to a boat with about 50 travelers heading to Samos. The shift team contacted the travelers but the contact was broken for both language and technological reasons. The Alarm Phone contacted the Greek Coastguard about rescue operations. At 7.02am, the shift team was told that a boat of 50 people had been rescued, and the news was confirmed later on, although the shift team could not obtain direct confirmation from the travelers themselves (see:http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1089).

    On the 23rd of November at 7.45pm CET, the Alarm Phone was contacted regarding a group of 19 people, (including 2 women, 1 of whom was pregnant, and a child) who had crossed the river Evros/ Meric and the Turkish-Greek landborder 3 days prior. The shift team first contacted numerous rescue and protection agencies, including UNHCR and the Greek Police, noting that the people were already in Greece and wished to apply for asylum. Until today we remained unable to find out what happened to the people (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1091).

    On the 26th of November at 6:54am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a group of 30 people (among them 7 children and a pregnant woman) who were stranded on the shore in southern Turkey, close to Kas. They wanted us to call the Turkish coastguard so at 7:35am we provided the coastguard with the information we had. At 8:41am we received a photograph from our contact person showing rescue by the Turkish coastguard (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1092).

    On the 29th of November at 4am CET the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat carrying 44 people (among them 19 children and some pregnant women) heading towards the Greek island of Samos. Shortly afterwards the travellers landed on Samos and because of their difficulties orienting themselves we alerted the local authorities. At 9:53am the port police told us that they had rescued 44 people. They were taken to the refugee camp (see: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1093).

    On Monday, the 3rd of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was alerted at 5.30am CET to a boat in distress south of Chios, with 43 people on board, among them 14 children. We were able to reach the boat at 5.35am. When we received their position, we informed the Greek coastguards at 7.30am and forwarded an updated GPS position to them ten minutes later. At 8.52am, the coastguards confirmed the rescue of the boat. The people were brought to Chios Island. On the next day, the people themselves confirmed that they had all safely reached Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1095).

    On Tuesday the 4th of December 2018, at 6.20am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to a boat in distress near Agathonisi Island. There were about 40 people on board. We established contact to the boat at 6.38am. At 6.45am, we alerted the Greek coastguards. The situation was dangerous as the people on board reported of high waves. At 9.02am, the Greek coastguards confirmed that they had just rescued the boat. The people were brought to Agathonisi (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1096).

    On Wednesday the 5th of December 2018, at 00:08am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted by a contact person to a boat in distress near Chios Island, carrying about 50 people. We received their GPS position at 00.17am and informed the Greek coastguards to the case at 00.30am. At 00.46am, we learned from the contact person that a boat had just been rescued. The Greek authorities confirmed this when we called them at 00.49am. At around 1pm, the people from the boat confirmed that they had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1097).

    On Friday the 7th of December 2018, the Alarm Phone was contacted at 5.53am CET by a contact person and informed about a group of 19 people who had crossed the Evros river to Greece and needed assistance. We assisted them for days, but at some point contact was lost. We know that they were returned to Turkey and thus suspect an illegal push-back operation (see for full report: http://watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1109).

    On Thursday the 13th of December the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two boats in the Aegean sea. In both cases we were not able to reach the travellers, but we were in contact with both the Turkish and Greek coast guard and were in the end able to confirm that one boat had arrived to Lesvos on their own, whilst the others had been rescued by Turkish fishermen (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/reports/view/1100).

    On the 17th of December, 2018, at 6.39am, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to a boat of 60 travellers. Water was entering the boat, and so the travelers were in distress. Though the shift team had a difficult time remaining in contact with the boat, they contacted the Greek Coastguard to inform them of the situation and the position of the boat. Although the team was not able to remain in contact with the travelers, they received confirmation at 8.18am that the boat had been brought to Greece (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1103).

    On the 18th of December at 2.11am CET, the Alarm Phone was alerted to two boats. The first, of 29 travellers, had landed on the island of Symi and needed help to exit the place of landing. The second was a boat of 54 travellers (including 16 children, and 15 women) that was rescued by the Greek Coastguard later (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1104).

    On the 21st of December, our shift teams were alerted to 2 boats on the Aegean. The first boat was directed to Chios Island and was likely rescued by the Greek Coastguard. The second boat was in immediate distress and after the shift team contacted the Greek Coastguard they rescued the boat (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1105).

    On the 23rd of December 2018 at 6am CET, the Alarm Phone received information about a boat in distress heading to Samos with around 60 travellers (including 30 children and 8 women, 4 pregnant). The shift team made contact with the boat and was informed that one of the women was close to giving birth and so the situation was very urgent. The shift team then called the Greek Coast Guard. At 8.07am, the shift team received confirmation that the boat had been rescued (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1106).
    Central Mediterranean

    On Monday the 12th of November at 6.57pm, the Alarm Phone was called by a relative, asking for help to find out what had happened to his son, who had been on a boat from Algeria towards Sardinia, with around 11 travellers on the 8t of November. Following this, the Alarm Phone was contacted by several relatives informing us about missing people from this boat. Our shift teams tried to gain an understanding of the situation, and for days we stayed in contact with the relatives and tried to support them, but it was not possible to obtain information about what had happened to the travellers (see: http://www.watchthemed.net/index.php/reports/view/1094).

    On November 23rd at 1.24pm CET, the Alarm Phone shift team was called by a boat of 120 travelers that was in distress and had left the Libyan coast the night before. The shift team remained in touch with the boat for several hours, and helped recharge their phone credit when it expired. As the boat was in distress, and there were no available NGO operations near the boat, the shift team had no choice but to contact the Italian Coast Guard, but they refused to engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) activities, and instead told the Libyan Coastguard. The boat was intercepted and returned to Libya (see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1107).

    On December 20th, 2018, the Alarm Phone shift team was alerted to two cases in the Central Mediterranean Sea. The first was a boat of 20 people that was intercepted and brought back to Libya. The second concerned 3 boats with 300 people in total, that were rescued by Open Arms and brought to Spain (for full report see: http://watchthemed.net/reports/view/1108).

    https://alarmphone.org/en/2018/12/27/and-yet-we-move-2018-a-contested-year/?post_type_release_type=post

  • China’s losing its taste for nuclear power. That’s bad news. - MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/612564/chinas-losing-its-taste-for-nuclear-power-thats-bad-news

    Most beautiful wedding photos taken at a nuclear power plant” might just be the strangest competition ever. But by inviting couples to celebrate their nuptials at the Daya Bay plant in Shenzhen and post the pictures online, China General Nuclear Power (CGN), the country’s largest nuclear power operator, got lots of favorable publicity.
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    A year later, the honeymoon is over.

    For years, as other countries have shied away from nuclear power, China has been its strongest advocate. Of the four reactors that started up worldwide in 2017, three were in China and the fourth was built by Beijing-based China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) in Pakistan. China’s domestic nuclear generation capacity grew by 24% in the first 10 months of 2018.

    The country has the capacity to build 10 to 12 nuclear reactors a year. But though reactors begun several years ago are still coming online, the industry has not broken ground on a new plant in China since late 2016, according to a recent World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

    Officially China still sees nuclear power as a must-have. But unofficially, the technology is on a death watch. Experts, including some with links to the government, see China’s nuclear sector succumbing to the same problems affecting the West: the technology is too expensive, and the public doesn’t want it.

    #Nucléaire #Chine

  • #Pakistan: Girls Deprived of Education. Barriers Include Underinvestment, Fees, Discrimination

    The Pakistan government is failing to educate a huge proportion of the country’s girls, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

    The 111-page report, “‘Shall I Feed My Daughter, or Educate Her?’: Barriers to Girls’ Education in Pakistan,” concludes that many girls simply have no access to education, including because of a shortage of government schools – especially for girls. Nearly 22.5 million of Pakistan’s children – in a country with a population of just over 200 million – are out of school, the majority of them girls. Thirty-two percent of primary school age girls are out of school in Pakistan, compared with 21 percent of boys. By ninth grade, only 13 percent of girls are still in school.

    https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/12/pakistan-girls-deprived-education
    #éducation #genre #filles #femmes #discriminations #inégalités #rapport #école

  • US Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Killed 500,000 People - News From Antiwar.com
    https://news.antiwar.com/2018/11/08/us-wars-in-iraq-afghanistan-and-pakistan-killed-500000-people

    Brown University has released a new study on the cost in lives of America’s Post-9/11 Wars, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The study estimates between 480,000 and 507,000 people were killed in the course of the three conflicts.

    This includes combatant deaths and civilian deaths in fighting and war violence. Civilians make up over half of the roughly 500,000 killed, with both opposition fighters and US-backed foreign military forces each sustaining in excess of 100,000 deaths as well.

    This is admittedly a dramatic under-report of people killed in the wars, as it only attempts to calculate those killed directly in war violence, and not the massive number of others civilians who died from infrastructure damage or other indirect results of the wars. The list also excludes the US war in Syria, which itself stakes claims to another 500,000 killed since 2011.

    #victimes_civiles #États-unis #agressions #impunité

  • WATCH | “There is a minefield sign and the migrants will go into this area because they know the police won’t be there”. Hans von der Brelie (@euronewsreport) is reporting from the Bosnia-Herzegovina border.

    https://twitter.com/euronews/status/1058409250043633671

    #Bonsie_Herzégovine #Bosnie #migrations #asile #réfugiés #mines_anti-personnel #frontières #Croatie

    Ici le reportage:
    On the ground at the Bosnian-Croatian border where migrant tensions are rising

    Tensions are rising on the Bosnian-Croatian border, where scores of migrants are demanding entry to the European Union, amid reports this week of fresh police clashes, plummeting temperatures and inadequate living conditions.

    Thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing wars and poverty in North Africa and Asia are sleeping rough near the border, which they hope to cross to gain access to the EU.

    Several people were injured on Wednesday in clashes with Croatian police, with migrants accusing officers of beating them and smashing their phones.

    Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders warned that “as temperatures drop the situation becomes more difficult and tensions are rising.”

    Euronews correspondent Hans von der Brelie is at the scene. Take a look at his pictures and videos below to find out what is really happening on the ground:
    https://twitter.com/euronews/status/1058409250043633671
    Matiola and Nazir want to enter the European Union without visas. However, they can’t cross the well-protected Bosnian border with Croatia.

    They are stuck in the northwestern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Bihac, sleeping rough — protected against rain by plastic sheets.

    Tensions are rising on the Bosnian-Croatian border, where scores of migrants are demanding entry to the European Union, amid reports this week of fresh police clashes, plummeting temperatures and inadequate living conditions.

    Thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing wars and poverty in North Africa and Asia are sleeping rough near the border, which they hope to cross to gain access to the EU.

    Several people were injured on Wednesday in clashes with Croatian police, with migrants accusing officers of beating them and smashing their phones.

    Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders warned that “as temperatures drop the situation becomes more difficult and tensions are rising.”

    Euronews correspondent Hans von der Brelie is at the scene. Take a look at his pictures and videos below to find out what is really happening on the ground:

    Matiola and Nazir want to enter the European Union without visas. However, they can’t cross the well-protected Bosnian border with Croatia.

    They are stuck in the northwestern part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in Bihac, sleeping rough — protected against rain by plastic sheets.

    A torn EU umbrella lays on top of destroyed tents and garbage in a public park of #Bihac.

    Hundreds of migrants had put their tents here, but they are no longer tolerated and the camp was dismantled.


    Migrants rebuild a shelter in Bihac park.

    These friends from the Kurdish part of Iraq have stayed together throughout the difficult journey. They dream of building a future in Germany or France.

    This is 24-year-old Muhamed Suliman. He worked as a taxi driver in Dubai before heading towards Europe. It was "too hot to stay there. Not enough pay. Too many fines,” he said.

    Suliman said his dream is to reach Italy, but there is no way to cross into Croatia.

    “I will try again. Again and again,” he said.

    Wearing plastic sandals, he said Croatian police took his shoes.


    The remains of a dismantled tent camp in Bihac park.

    Kurdish Iraqi migrants discuss their broken smartphone. “The Croatian police smashed it,” they said.

    Ageed, Muhemed, Jalal, Karwan, Lawin, Ahmad, Tahiro are from Iraq. They speak Kurdish.

    They have been staying for many weeks in the public park of Bihac, the starting point to cross illegally over the external EU border.

    They have tried several times to enter Croatia but were always caught by border guards.

    Muhamed claims he was surrounded by seven Croatian policemen and beaten up.

    This is a former students dormitory building in Bihac park, where almost 1,000 migrants and refugees sleep rough. They mainly come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern Africa, Bangladesh, Iran and Iraq.

    People cook on an open fire in front of a former students’ dormitory in Bihac.

    The migrants from Pakistan are aiming to cross the nearby external EU border illegally into Croatia and travel further towards Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

    This official tries to detect migrants crossing into Croatia illegally every day and night.

    Ivana and Josip are two of 6,300 police officers controlling the Croatian border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    As it prepares to join the EU’s Schengen zone soon, Croatia has invested heavily in human resources.

    “We have really a lot of colleagues around here at the external border of the EU”, Ivana and Josip told Euronews.

    This is just one out of many watchtowers and observation posts on the Croatian side of the external EU border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    “No need to build a border fence here,” says Damir Butina, head of the border police unit in Cetingrad.

    This is the famous “#green_border” between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The tiny creek marks the exact borderline.

    The left side of the picture is Croatia, the right is Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    Dozens of migrants try to cross the border every day and every night. While there is no fence, there is hidden high tech surveillance all around. You move — and you will be detected.

    https://www.euronews.com/2018/11/02/on-the-ground-at-the-bosnian-croatian-border-where-migrant-tensions-are-ri
    #frontière_verte #militarisation_des_frontières

  • Imran Khan leaves for Saudi conference saying #Pakistan ’desperate’ for loans | Reuters
    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-saudi-khashoggi-pakistan/imran-khan-leaves-for-saudi-conference-saying-pakistan-desperate-for-loa

    Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan left for Saudi Arabia to attend an investment conference boycotted by other leaders over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

    • Despite PR duress, Saudi $6bn to Pakistan comes with strings | Asia Times
      http://www.atimes.com/article/despite-pr-duress-saudi-6bn-to-pakistan-comes-with-strings

      Fermer les yeux sur le financement saoudien de groupes armés du Balochistan pakistanais chargés de mener des opérations contre l’Iran en Iran, et amener le Pakistan à s’impliquer plus au Yémen.

      Balochistan is of strategic interest to both Iran and Saudi Arabia, bordering the Islamic Republic and located north of the Arabian Sea.

      Saudi Arabia has faced allegations of backing anti-Shiite jihadist groups in Balochistan, namely Jundullah and Jaish al-Adl, and a heightened influence could be dangerous for Pakistan’s security.

      “If you increase investment, it is not just money that pours in. With the money comes influence,” analyst Siddiqa said.

      “It’s hard to imagine a $6 billion gift with no strings attached,” said Michael Kugelman, a scholar on Southeast Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.

      “There’s a very good chance Saudi Arabia placed some type of conditions on this support. Riyadh may have made it quite clear that Pakistan will need to rein in its recent efforts to position itself as a neutral actor in the Saudi-Iranian regional rivalry,” Kugelman said.

      “Pakistan has an Iran problem and a Saudi problem. [The Pakistani military] is allowing the Saudis to build up their capacity in Balochistan, which is in effect a certain kind of encirclement around Iran,” said Siddiqa.

      Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have maintained a defense partnership since 1983, though it is very difficult to pinpoint the exact number of Pakistani personnel in the kingdom. According to Kamal Alam of the London-based think tank RUSI, there are at least 1,200 Pakistani trainers in various Saudi security and military sectors.

      A source close to the Pakistani military said the number is far higher, however. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he told Asia Times there are upwards of 7,000 Pakistani military personnel in the kingdom.

      “One of the big questions coming out of this new deal is whether Riyadh has now asked Islamabad to operationalize that military presence and be willing to join Saudi military efforts in Yemen,” Kugelman said.

      “Islamabad has long resisted this ask from Saudi Arabia, but with this financial assistance Islamabad is now getting, Riyadh has more leverage,” he added.

      According to a political source briefed on the matter but who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject, the Pakistani armed forces have been under mounting pressure from the Saudis to join the conflict in Yemen.

  • Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward

    Uganda’s refugee policy urgently needs an honest discussion, if sustainable solutions for both refugees and host communities are to be found, a new policy paper by International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) reveals.

    The paper, entitled Uganda’s refugee policies: the history, the politics, the way forward puts the “Ugandan model” in its historical and political context, shines a spotlight on its implementation gaps, and proposes recommendations for the way forward.

    Uganda has since 2013 opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of refugees from South Sudan, bringing the total number of refugees to more than one million. It has been praised for its positive steps on freedom of movement and access to work for refugees, going against the global grain. But generations of policy, this paper shows, have only entrenched the sole focus on refugee settlements and on repatriation as the only viable durable solution. Support to urban refugees and local integration have been largely overlooked.

    The Ugandan refugee crisis unfolded at the same time as the UN adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, and states committed to implement a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). Uganda immediately seized this opportunity and adopted its own strategy to implement these principles. As the world looks to Uganda for best practices in refugee policy, and rightly so, it is vital to understand the gaps between rhetoric and reality, and the pitfalls of Uganda’s policy. This paper identifies the following challenges:

    There is a danger that the promotion of progressive refugee policies becomes more rhetoric than reality, creating a smoke-screen that squeezes out meaningful discussion about robust alternatives. Policy-making has come at the expense of real qualitative change on the ground.
    Refugees in urban areas continue to be largely excluded from any support due to an ongoing focus on refugee settlements, including through aid provision
    Local integration and access to citizenship have been virtually abandoned, leaving voluntary repatriation as the only solution on the table. Given the protracted crises in South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, this remains unrealistic.
    Host communities remain unheard, with policy conversations largely taking place in Kampala and Geneva. Many Ugandans and refugees have neither the economic resources nor sufficient political leverage to influence the policies that are meant to benefit them.

    The policy paper proposes a number of recommendations to improve the Ugandan refugee model:

    First, international donors need to deliver on their promise of significant financial support.
    Second, repatriation cannot remain the only serious option on the table. There has to be renewed discussion on local integration with Uganda communities and a dramatic increase in resettlement to wealthier states across the globe.
    Third, local communities hosting refugees must be consulted and their voices incorporated in a more meaningful and systematic way, if tensions within and between communities are to be avoided.
    Fourth, in order to genuinely enhance refugee self-reliance, the myth of the “local settlement” needs to be debunked and recognized for what it is: the ongoing isolation of refugees and the utilization of humanitarian assistance to keep them isolated and dependent on aid.


    http://refugee-rights.org/uganda-refugee-policies-the-history-the-politics-the-way-forward
    #modèle_ougandais #Ouganda #asile #migrations #réfugiés

    Pour télécharger le #rapport:
    http://refugee-rights.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/IRRI-Uganda-policy-paper-October-2018-Paper.pdf

    • A New Deal for Refugees

      Global policies that aim to resettle and integrate displaced populations into local societies is providing a way forward.

      For many years now, groups that work with refugees have fought to put an end to the refugee camp. It’s finally starting to happen.

      Camps are a reasonable solution to temporary dislocation. But refugee crises can go on for decades. Millions of refugees have lived in their country of shelter for more than 30 years. Two-thirds of humanitarian assistance — intended for emergencies — is spent on crises that are more than eight years old.

      Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle. “You keep people for 20 years in camps — don’t expect the next generation to be problem-free,” said Xavier Devictor, who advises the World Bank on refugee issues. “Keeping people in those conditions is not a good idea.” It’s also hard to imagine a better breeding ground for terrorists.

      “As long as the system is ‘we feed you,’ it’s always going to be too expensive for the international community to pay for,” Mr. Devictor said. It’s gotten more and more difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to raise that money; in many crises, the refugee agency can barely keep people from starving. It’s even harder now as nations turn against foreigners — even as the number of people fleeing war and violence has reached a record high.

      At the end of last year, nearly 70 million people were either internally displaced in their own countries, or had crossed a border and become a refugee. That is the largest number of displaced in history — yes, more than at the end of World War II. The vast majority flee to neighboring countries — which can be just as badly off.

      Last year, the United States accepted about 30,000 refugees.

      Uganda, which is a global model for how it treats refugees, has one-seventh of America’s population and a tiny fraction of the wealth. Yet it took in 1,800 refugees per day between mid-2016 and mid-2017 from South Sudan alone. And that’s one of four neighbors whose people take refuge in Uganda.

      Bangladesh, already the world’s most crowded major nation, has accepted more than a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing in Myanmar. “If we can feed 160 million people, then (feeding) another 500,00-700,000 …. We can do it. We can share our food,” Shiekh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, said last year.

      Lebanon is host to approximately 1.5 million Syrian refugees, in addition to a half-million Palestinians, some of whom have been there for generations. One in three residents of Lebanon is a refugee.

      The refugee burden falls heavily on a few, poor countries, some of them at risk of destabilization, which can in turn produce more refugees. The rest of the world has been unwilling to share that burden.

      But something happened that could lead to real change: Beginning in 2015, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees crossed the Mediterranean in small boats and life rafts into Europe.

      Suddenly, wealthy European countries got interested in fixing a broken system: making it more financially viable, more dignified for refugees, and more palatable for host governments and communities.

      In September 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution stating that all countries shared the responsibility of protecting refugees and supporting host countries. It also laid out a plan to move refugees out of camps into normal lives in their host nations.

      Donor countries agreed they would take more refugees and provide more long-term development aid to host countries: schools, hospitals, roads and job-creation measures that can help both refugees and the communities they settle in. “It looked at refugee crises as development opportunities, rather than a humanitarian risk to be managed,” said Marcus Skinner, a policy adviser at the International Rescue Committee.

      The General Assembly will vote on the specifics next month (whatever they come up with won’t be binding). The Trump administration pulled out of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration, but so far it has not opposed the refugee agreement.

      There’s a reason refugee camps exist: Host governments like them. Liberating refugees is a hard sell. In camps, refugees are the United Nations’ problem. Out of camps, refugees are the local governments’ problem. And they don’t want to do anything to make refugees comfortable or welcome.

      Bangladesh’s emergency response for the Rohingya has been staggeringly generous. But “emergency” is the key word. The government has resisted granting Rohingya schooling, work permits or free movement. It is telling Rohingya, in effect, “Don’t get any ideas about sticking around.”

      This attitude won’t deter the Rohingya from coming, and it won’t send them home more quickly. People flee across the closest border — often on foot — that allows them to keep their families alive. And they’ll stay until home becomes safe again. “It’s the simple practicality of finding the easiest way to refuge,” said Victor Odero, regional advocacy coordinator for East Africa and the Horn of Africa at the International Rescue Committee. “Any question of policies is a secondary matter.”

      So far, efforts to integrate refugees have had mixed success. The first experiment was a deal for Jordan, which was hosting 650,000 Syrian refugees, virtually none of whom were allowed to work. Jordan agreed to give them work permits. In exchange, it got grants, loans and trade concessions normally available only to the poorest countries.

      However, though the refugees have work permits, Jordan has put only a moderate number of them into jobs.

      Any agreement should include the views of refugees from the start — the Jordan Compact failed to do this. Aid should be conditioned upon the right things. The deal should have measured refugee jobs, instead of work permits. Analysts also said the benefits should have been targeted more precisely, to reach the areas with most refugees.

      To spread this kind of agreement to other nations, the World Bank established a $2 billion fund in July 2017. The money is available to very poor countries that host many refugees, such as Uganda and Bangladesh. In return, they must take steps to integrate refugees into society. The money will come as grants and zero interest loans with a 10-year grace period. Middle-income countries like Lebanon and Colombia would also be eligible for loans at favorable rates under a different fund.

      Over the last 50 years, only one developing country has granted refugees full rights. In Uganda, refugees can live normally. Instead of camps there are settlements, where refugees stay voluntarily because they get a plot of land. Refugees can work, live anywhere, send their children to school and use the local health services. The only thing they can’t do is become Ugandan citizens.

      Given the global hostility to refugees, it is remarkable that Ugandans still approve of these policies. “There have been flashes of social tension or violence between refugees and their hosts, mostly because of a scarcity of resources,” Mr. Odero said. “But they have not become widespread or protracted.”

      This is the model the United Nations wants the world to adopt. But it is imperiled even in Uganda — because it requires money that isn’t there.

      The new residents are mainly staying near the South Sudan border in Uganda’s north — one of the least developed parts of the country. Hospitals, schools, wells and roads were crumbling or nonexistent before, and now they must serve a million more people.

      Joël Boutroue, the head of the United Nations refugee agency in Uganda, said current humanitarian funding covered a quarter of what the crisis required. “At the moment, not even half of refugees go to primary school,” he said. “There are around 100 children per classroom.”

      Refugees are going without food, medical care and water. The plots of land they get have grown smaller and smaller.

      Uganda is doing everything right — except for a corruption scandal. It could really take advantage of the new plan to develop the refugee zone. That would not only help refugees, it would help their host communities. And it would alleviate growing opposition to rights for refugees. “The Ugandan government is under pressure from politicians who see the government giving favored treatment to refugees,” Mr. Boutroue said. “If we want to change the perception of refugees from recipients of aid to economic assets, we have to showcase that refugees bring development.”

      The World Bank has so far approved two projects — one for water and sanitation and one for city services such as roads and trash collection. But they haven’t gotten started yet.

      Mr. Devictor said that tackling long-term development issues was much slower than providing emergency aid. “The reality is that it will be confusing and confused for a little while,” he said. Water, for example, is trucked in to Uganda’s refugee settlements, as part of humanitarian aid. “That’s a huge cost,” he said. “But if we think this crisis is going to last for six more months, it makes sense. If it’s going to last longer, we should think about upgrading the water system.”

      Most refugee crises are not surprises, Mr. Devictor said. “If you look at a map, you can predict five or six crises that are going to produce refugees over the next few years.” It’s often the same places, over and over. That means developmental help could come in advance, minimizing the burden on the host. “Do we have to wait until people cross the border to realize we’re going to have an emergency?” he said.

      Well, we might. If politicians won’t respond to a crisis, it’s hard to imagine them deciding to plan ahead to avert one. Political commitment, or lack of it, always rules. The world’s new approach to refugees was born out of Europe’s panic about the Syrians on their doorstep. But no European politician is panicking about South Sudanese or Rohingya refugees — or most crises. They’re too far away. The danger is that the new approach will fall victim to the same political neglect that has crippled the old one.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/21/opinion/refugee-camps-integration.html

      #Ouganda #modèle_ougandais #réinstallation #intégration

      avec ce commentaire de #Jeff_Crisp sur twitter :

      “Camps are stagnant places. Refugees have access to water and medical care and are fed and educated, but are largely idle.”
      Has this prizewinning author actually been to a refugee camp?

      https://twitter.com/JFCrisp/status/1031892657117831168

    • Appreciating Uganda’s ‘open door’ policy for refugees

      While the rest of the world is nervous and choosing to take an emotional position on matters of forced migration and refugees, sometimes closing their doors in the face of people who are running from persecution, Uganda’s refugee policy and practice continues to be liberal, with an open door to all asylum seekers, writes Arthur Matsiko

      http://thisisafrica.me/appreciating-ugandas-open-door-policy-refugees

    • Ouganda. La générosité intéressée du pays le plus ouvert du monde aux réfugiés

      L’Ouganda est le pays qui accueille le plus de réfugiés. Un million de Sud-Soudanais fuyant la guerre s’y sont installés. Mais cette noble intention des autorités cache aussi des calculs moins avouables : l’arrivée massive de l’aide internationale encourage l’inaction et la #corruption.

      https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/ouganda-la-generosite-interessee-du-pays-le-plus-ouvert-du-mo

    • Refugees in Uganda to benefit from Dubai-funded schools but issues remain at crowded settlement

      Dubai Cares is building three classrooms in a primary school at Ayilo II but the refugee settlement lacks a steady water supply, food and secondary schools, Roberta Pennington writes from Adjumani


      https://www.thenational.ae/uae/refugees-in-uganda-to-benefit-from-dubai-funded-schools-but-issues-remai

    • FUGA DAL SUD SUDAN. LUIS, L’UGANDA E QUEL PEZZO DI TERRA DONATA AI PROFUGHI

      Luis zappa, prepara dei fori per tirare su una casa in attesa di ritrovare la sua famiglia. Il terreno è una certezza, glielo ha consegnato il Governo ugandese. Il poterci vivere con i suoi cari non ancora. L’ultima volta li ha visti in Sud Sudan. Nel ritornare a casa sua moglie e i suoi otto figli non c’erano più. É sicuro si siano messi in cammino verso l’Uganda, così da quel giorno è iniziata la sua rincorsa. É certo che li ritroverà nella terra che ora lo ha accolto. Quella di Luis è una delle tante storie raccolte nei campi profughi del nord dell’Uganda, in una delle ultime missioni di Amref, in cui era presente anche Giusi Nicolini, già Sindaco di Lampedusa e Premio Unesco per la pace. 



      Modello Uganda? Dell’Uganda il mondo dice «campione di accoglienza». Accoglienza che sta sperimentando da mesi nei confronti dei profughi sud sudanesi, che scappano da uno dei Paesi più drammaticamente in crisi al mondo. Sono 4 milioni le persone che in Sud Sudan hanno dovuto lasciare le proprie case. Chi muovendosi verso altri Paesi e chi in altre regioni sud sudanesi. In questi ultimi tempi arrivano in Uganda anche persone che fuggono dalla Rep. Democratica del Congo.

      https://www.amref.it/2018_02_23_Fuga_dal_Sud_Sudan_Luis_lUganda_e_quel_pezzo_di_terra_donata_ai_pro

    • As Rich Nations Close the Door on Refugees, Uganda Welcomes Them

      President Trump is vowing to send the military to stop migrants trudging from Central America. Europe’s leaders are paying African nations to block migrants from crossing the Mediterranean — and detaining the ones who make it in filthy, overcrowded camps.

      But Solomon Osakan has a very different approach in this era of rising xenophobia. From his uncluttered desk in northwest Uganda, he manages one of the largest concentrations of refugees anywhere in the world: more than 400,000 people scattered across his rural district.

      He explained what he does with them: Refugees are allotted some land — enough to build a little house, do a little farming and “be self-sufficient,” said Mr. Osakan, a Ugandan civil servant. Here, he added, the refugees live in settlements, not camps — with no barbed wire, and no guards in sight.

      “You are free, and you can come and go as you want,” Mr. Osakan added.

      As many nations are securing their borders and turning refugees away, Uganda keeps welcoming them. And they keep coming, fleeing catastrophes from across this part of Africa.

      In all, Uganda has as many as 1.25 million refugees on its soil, perhaps more, making it one of the most welcoming countries in the world, according to the United Nations.

      And while Uganda’s government has made hosting refugees a core national policy, it works only because of the willingness of rural Ugandans to accept an influx of foreigners on their land and shoulder a big part of the burden.

      Uganda is not doing this without help. About $200 million in humanitarian aid to the country this year will largely pay to feed and care for the refugees. But they need places to live and small plots to farm, so villages across the nation’s north have agreed to carve up their communally owned land and share it with the refugees, often for many years at a time.

      “Our population was very few and our community agreed to loan the land,” said Charles Azamuke, 27, of his village’s decision in 2016 to accept refugees from South Sudan, which has been torn apart by civil war. “We are happy to have these people. We call them our brothers.”

      United Nations officials have pointed to Uganda for its “open border” policy. While the United States, a much more populous nation, has admitted more than three million refugees since 1975, the American government settles them in the country after they have first been thoroughly screened overseas.

      By contrast, Uganda has essentially opened its borders to refugees, rarely turning anyone away.

      Some older Ugandans explain that they, too, had been refugees once, forced from their homes during dictatorship and war. And because the government ensures that spending on refugees benefits Ugandans as well, younger residents spoke of how refugees offered them some unexpected opportunities.

      “I was a farmer. I used to dig,” Mr. Azamuke said. But after learning Arabic from refugees from South Sudan, he got a better job — as a translator at a new health clinic that serves the newcomers.

      His town, Ofua, is bisected by a dirt road, with the Ugandans living on the uphill side and the South Sudanese on the downhill side. The grass-thatched homes of the Ugandans look a bit larger and sturdier, but not much.

      As the sun began to set one recent afternoon, a group of men on the Ugandan side began to pass around a large plastic bottle of waragi, a home brew. On the South Sudanese side, the men were sober, gathered around a card game.

      On both sides, the men had nothing but tolerant words for one another. “Actually, we don’t have any problems with these people,” said Martin Okuonzi, a Ugandan farmer cleaning his fingernails with a razor blade.

      As the men lounged, the women and girls were still at work, preparing dinner, tending children, fetching water and gathering firewood. They explained that disputes did arise, especially as the two groups competed for limited resources like firewood.

      “We’ve been chased away,” said Agnes Ajonye, a 27-year-old refugee from South Sudan. “They say we are destroying their forests.”

      And disputes broke out at the well, where Ugandan women insist they should be allowed to skip ahead of refugees.

      “If we hadn’t given you the land you live on, wouldn’t you be dying in Sudan?” said Adili Chandia, a 62-year-old refugee, recounting the lecture she and others got from a frustrated Ugandan woman waiting in line.

      Ugandan officials often talk about the spirit of Pan-Africanism that motivates their approach to refugees. President Yoweri Museveni, an autocratic leader who has been in power for 32 years, says Uganda’s generosity can be traced to the precolonial days of warring kingdoms and succession disputes, when losing factions often fled to a new land.

      This history of flight and resettlement is embedded in some of the names of local groups around western Uganda, like Batagwenda, which means “the ones that could not continue traveling.”

      The government encourages the nation to go along with its policy by directing that 30 percent of foreign aid destined for refugees be spent in ways that benefit Ugandans nearby. So when money for refugees results in new schools, clinics and wells, Ugandans are more likely to welcome than resent them.

      For Mr. Museveni, hosting refugees has given him relevance and political capital abroad at a time when he would otherwise have little.

      A former guerrilla fighter who quickly stabilized much of his country, Mr. Museveni was once hailed as an example of new African leadership. He was relatively quick to confront the AIDS epidemic, and he invited back Ugandans of Indian and Pakistani descent who had been expelled during the brutal reign of Idi Amin in the 1970s.

      But his star has fallen considerably. He has clung to power for decades. His security forces have beaten political opponents. Freedom of assembly and expression are severely curtailed.

      Even so, Uganda’s openness toward refugees makes Mr. Museveni important to European nations, which are uneasy at the prospect of more than a million refugees heading for Europe.

      Other African nations also host a significant number of refugees, but recent polls show that Ugandans are more likely than their neighbors in Kenya or Tanzania to support land assistance or the right to work for refugees.

      Part of the reason is that Ugandans have fled their homes as well, first during the murderous reign of Mr. Amin, then during the period of retribution after his overthrow, and again during the 1990s and 2000s, when Joseph Kony, the guerrilla leader who terrorized northern Uganda, left a trail of kidnapped children and mutilated victims.

      Many Ugandans found refuge in what is today South Sudan. Mark Idraku, 57, was a teenager when he fled with his mother to the area. They received two acres of farmland, which helped support them until they returned home six years later.

      “When we were in exile in Sudan, they also helped us,” Mr. Idraku said. “Nobody ever asked for a single coin.”

      Mr. Idraku has since returned the favor, loaning three acres to a South Sudanese refugee named Queen Chandia, 37. Ms. Chandia said the land — along with additional plots other Ugandans allow her to farm — has made all the difference.

      Her homestead of thatched-roof huts teemed with children tending their chores, grinding nuts into paste and maize into meal. Ms. Chandia is the mother of a girl and two boys. But over the years, as violence hollowed out her home country, Ms. Chandia started taking in the orphaned children of relatives and friends. Now 22 children call her “mom.”

      A refugee for nearly her entire life, Ms. Chandia arrived in Uganda as a young girl nearly 30 years ago. For years, she worried about being expelled.
      Image

      “Maybe these Ugandans will change their minds on us,” she said, describing the thought that plagued her. Then one day the worry stopped.

      But Mr. Osakan, the administrator who oversees refugee affairs in the country’s extreme northwest, is anxious. There is an Ebola outbreak over the border in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Mr. Osakan fears what might happen if — or when — a refugee turns up in Uganda with the dreaded illness.

      “It would destroy all the harmony between refugees and host communities,” he said, explaining that it would probably lead to calls to seal the border.

      For now, the border is very much open, although the number of refugees arriving has fallen significantly. In one of the newer settlements, many of the refugees came last year, fleeing an attack in a South Sudanese city. But some complained about receiving too little land, about a quarter acre per family, which is less than previous refugees had received.

      “Even if you have skills — in carpentry — you are not given a chance,” said one refugee, Simon Ludoru. He looked over his shoulder, to where a construction crew was building a nursery school. The schoolhouse would teach both local Ugandan and South Sudanese children together, but the workers were almost entirely Ugandan, he said.

      At the construction site, the general contractor, Sam Omongo, 50, said he had hired refugees for the job. “Oh, yes,” he exclaimed.

      How many?

      “Not a lot, actually,” he acknowledged. “I have about three.” Mr. Omongo called one over.

      “Are you a refugee?” Mr. Omongo asked the slight man.

      “No, I’m from Uganda,” he said softly. His name was Amos Chandiga, 28. He lived nearby and owned six acres of land, though he worked only four of them. He had lent the other two to a pair of refugees.

      “They asked me, and I gave it to them,” Mr. Chandiga explained. He patted his chest. “It comes from here, in my heart.”


      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/world/africa/uganda-refugees.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

    • Uganda: a role model for refugee integration?

      Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa and is, after Turkey and Pakistan, the third-largest refugee recipient country worldwide. Political and humanitarian actors have widely praised Ugandan refugee policies because of their progressive nature: In Uganda, in contrast to many other refugee-receiving countries, these are de jure allowed to work, to establish businesses, to access public services such as education, to move freely and have access to a plot of land. Moreover, Uganda is a pilot country of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF). In this Working Paper the authors ascertain whether Uganda indeed can be taken as a role model for refugee integration, as largely portrayed in the media and the political discourse. They identify the challenges to livelihoods and integration to assess Uganda’s self-reliance and settlement approach and its aspiration towards providing refugees and Ugandan communities receiving refugees with opportunities for becoming self-reliant. Drawing on three months of field research in northern and southern Uganda from July to September of 2017 with a particular focus on South Sudanese refugees, the authors concentrate on three aspects: Access to land, employment and education, intra- and inter-group relations. The findings show that refugees in Uganda are far from self-reliant and socially integrated. Although in Uganda refugees are provided with land, the quality and size of the allocated plots is so poor that they cannot earn a living from agricultural production, which thus, rather impedes self-reliance. Inadequate infrastructure also hinders access to markets and employment opportunities. Even though most local communities have been welcoming to refugees, the sentiment has shifted recently in some areas, particularly where local communities that are often not better off than refugees feel that they have not benefitted from the presence of refugees....

      https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/62871

  • Quién es Edgar Peña, el venezolano que será el número 3 del Vaticano
    http://www.el-nacional.com/noticias/bbc-mundo/quien-edgar-pena-venezolano-que-sera-numero-del-vaticano_255759

    El tercer hombre más influyente de la Iglesia católica romana será a partir de este lunes 15 de octubre un religioso políglota, con 25 años de experiencia diplomática y nuncio en naciones de Asia y África.

    Y es venezolano.

    El papa Francisco nombró en agosto a monseñor Edgar Peña Parra como sustituto para asuntos generales de la Secretaría de Estado del Vaticano.

    Es el cargo más importante en el Vaticano luego del propio pontificado y la cancillería, liderada desde 2013 por el italiano Pietro Parolín, exnuncio en Venezuela durante el gobierno de Hugo Chávez.

    Peña tiene 58 años y reemplazará al italiano Angelo Becciu, nuevo cardenal.
    […]
    La curia describe a monseñor Peña Parra como un hombre inteligente, de trato amable y sensible a las causas de los pobres.

    La primera es su currículo: es licenciado en Filosofía y Teología, doctor en Derecho Canónico y especialista en Derecho Internacional de la Pontificia Universidad Gregoriana; habla español, inglés, francés, portugués, serbocroata, italiano, latín; y ha ejercido con éxito como nuncio apostólico en Pakistán y Mozambique.

    La segunda es simple: su gentilicio.