WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Joe Biden has asked senior officials to come to the US-Mexico border and brief him on the government’s response to the influx of unaccompanied minors and steps taken to ensure their safety and their care, a White House spokesperson said Thursday. Biden’s administration faces criticism from Democrats and activists who say unaccompanied migrant children and families are being held for too long in detention centers instead of being released while their asylum claims are considered. For their part, Republicans and immigration hawks complain that the willingness to let more migrants in while their asylum claims are heard has encouraged more migration from Central America. President Biden has asked senior officials of his team to visit the border region to provide him with a full briefing on the government’s response to unaccompanied minors and an assessment of additional measures that can be taken to ensure safety and security. the care of the latter, ”said White House spokesman Vedant Patel. The timing of the visit would be kept confidential due to security and privacy concerns, Patel said. shared with Reuters, a big one-day tally that comes amid growing fears that illegal entries could skyrocket in the coming weeks.Report by Steve Holland and Jarrett Renshaw; Written by Mohammad Zargham; Edited by Chris Reese and Peter Cooney.
LAMPEDUSA, Italy (Reuters) – About 100 migrants crossing the Mediterranean in small ships landed on the southern island of Lampedusa at night, the latest in a wave of arrival that exhausts an already crowded shelter center.
Migrants stand on the dock when they unload a ship on the island of Sicily Lampedusa, Italy July 24, 2020. REUTERS / Mauro Buccarello
Officials say migrants, who arrived from Libya, were either rescued at sea or managed to avoid detection and reach the island.
The arrival of small vessels, some carrying at least eight people, brought nearly 1,000 the number of migrants who had reached the island from Libya in the past three days.
About 15 ships carrying around 300 migrants arrived at night between Wednesday and Thursday.
They are placed in a center called a “hotspot”. Designed to accommodate around 100 people, in the last few days it has been inhabited nearly 10 times.
Provincial officials this week ordered an emergency transfer of around 300 migrants to another center in Sicily.
Recent densities in Lampedusa have also caused resurfacing of immigration as a political problem.
Former interior minister Matteo Salvini, leader of the anti-immigrant League party, visited Lampedusa and “hotspots” on Wednesday and accused the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of being lenient towards illegal migration.
“I can’t wait to return to government with serious people so I can close the port again to block delinquency and reopen it to law-abiding citizens,” he told supporters on the island.
When he was interior minister in the previous government, which collapsed about a year ago, Salvini closed the Italian port to save ships run by charities.
In response, Enrico Borghi, from the ruling Democratic Party, accused Salvini of being a “demagogue” and said the current government would not “watch men and women sink”.
Writing by Philip Pullella; Editing by Giles Elgood
RIO DE JANEIRO (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – When the head of an influential government body assigned to preserve the culture of Black Brazil called the country’s anti-racism movement “foam”, it did not surprise many.
Sergio Camargo, a black journalist who was appointed president of the Fundaçao Cultural Palmares last year by Brazilian right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, has been at odds early on because he has a history of denying racism even in his country.
Under his term of office, a government-funded agency responsible for protecting the cultural and economic rights of slave originators has published articles criticizing the most famous Black abolitionist leader in Brazil.
But the Brazilian quilombolas, descendants of African slaves, are more worried about their strength to obstruct their efforts to secure the rights to the land they have occupied for generations – something Bolsonaro repeatedly wants to prevent.
“(Camargo) has been put there to cause damage,” said Biko Rodrigues of CONAQ, the organization representing quilombos in much of Brazil. “We will not talk to him.”
Palmares did not respond to requests for comment, or a list of questions for Camargo.
In a statement on June 5, after the recording of Camargo’s comments about race was publicly announced by the O Globo newspaper, it was said that all actions taken under his presidency were in accordance with “institutional, legal and ethical mission”.
There are no reliable figures for the number of people living in 5,000 Brazilian quilombos – rural settlements originally built by former slaves – but the number is in the millions. Many do not have access to electricity or running water.
Quilombolas sees obtaining a formal certificate on the land they occupy as a key to securing their rights because without deeds, they cannot access social benefits such as subsidized housing.
The Brazilian constitution of 1988 enshrined their rights to the land, but the first step to obtaining the act was for Palmares to recognize a community as a quilombo – something that according to Rodrigues they no longer believed to do so.
In recent years, Fundaçao Palmares issues around 100 recognition certificates a year, he said. So far this year, Rodrigues said, they only received about a dozen.
LEGACY OF SLAVERY
Although the president of Palmares in the past was unable to overcome the high poverty rates among the quilambolas, no one openly opposed them, and the Camargo presidency had been troubled from the start.
A judge postponed his appointment in December after an earlier comment he made on social media downplayed the rights of the Brazilian black people, but he won an appeal in February.
He previously worked as a journalist and editor, and is the son of Brazilian writer Oswaldo de Camargo.
Earlier this month he tweeted that his critics “did not tolerate black people having their own opinions. This is an insult to the minds of those who are enslaved.
The Brazilian high court will decide on August 5 whether Camargo is fit to become president after public defenders – state lawyers who can sue the government for the protection of vulnerable people – argued that it has no legitimacy.
This case arises when communities around the world try to overcome historic racism and the legacy of slavery, which according to the Brazilian quilombas has never been handled properly.
Bolsonaro was charged with racism before taking office, for saying in 2017 that black people in quilombos were “not suitable even for breeding”, although he was later released.
When Brazil abolished slavery in 1888 – the last place in America to do so – at least 4 million slaves had been brought to the country from Africa to work in sugar plantations and in other sectors of the developing economy.
Most of their descendants in quilombo still live below the poverty line.
Estimates vary, but government data shows that only about 250 quilombo settlements have ownership rights to their land.
Muratubinha in the northern state of Para is one of four quilombos who will soon have power lines built after Palmares gave the green light to the project in June.
Community leader Raimundo Ramos da Silva said residents had not consulted about the process, which he said was “disappointing”.
Carolina Bellinger, a lawyer for Comissão Pró-Índio de São Paulo, who helped quilombos in Para, said not including them in the initial discussions left them with no opportunity to ask for changes or compensation for those affected badly.
“Fundaçao Palmares is very strategic. No quilombola community owns their land without going through them, “said Danilo Serejo, a leader of Canelatiua quilombo in the northeastern state of Maranhao.
“On the campaign path, (Bolsonaro) said that if he was elected, the quilombolas would not be given a centimeter of land. Sergio Camargo was there to confirm that. ”
Reporting by Fabio Teixeira @ffctt; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity branch, which covers the lives of people throughout the world who are struggling to live free or just. Visit http://news.trust.org
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders may not reach agreement on a coronavirus stimulus plan on Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said when marathon negotiations went into the third day and severity increased at the request of rich but thrifty countries.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement when she arrived for the first face-to-face EU summit since the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), in Brussels, Belgium July 19, 2020. Francisco Seco / Pool via REUTERS
Germany and France, the European Union’s power makers, are looking for an agreement on a 1.8 trillion euro ($ 2.06 trillion) economic recovery package to save bloc economies facing their worst recession since the Second World War.
After two tiring days of negotiations, a group of rich nations in the richer north led by the Netherlands no longer seemed to back down from demands for package cuts, underscoring the depth of the EU’s north-south separation.
“There are many good intentions, but also many positions. I will try my best but there will be no results, “Merkel said in Brussels when he arrived for the third day of talks.
On Saturday night, he and French President Emmanuel Macron left informal talks late that day early, refusing to accept that the level of free grants for the ailing economy in the package fell below 400 billion euros.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had previously accused the Netherlands and its allies Austria, Sweden, Denmark and Finland as “extortion”. Stockholm proposes to cut grants to 155 billion euros.
In their first face-to-face meeting since the spring break of the corona virus in Europe, leaders wearing face masks have framed the summit as a ‘make or break’ moment for nearly 70 years of European integration.
Failure to unite amid an unprecedented economic and health crisis will raise serious questions about the continuation of the bloc, officials and experts said.
Macron said there was a desire to compromise, but that should not deter “from the legitimate ambitions we need to have,” referring to the level of money available in the planned 750 billion euro recovery fund, which will be funded by money collected on the capital market.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who faces parliamentary elections in March 2021, was honest about the split with France and Germany on Saturday night.
“They were walking upset,” Rutte said of Merkel and Macron. “The big difference still exists,” he said.
While the Netherlands and its allies survived, other obstacles remained, not least because Britain’s departure from the EU meant that others had to add more money to cover the gap in the bloc’s shared cash.
Hungary, supported by Poland’s euro allies, has threatened to veto the package over a proposed new mechanism, supported by the Netherlands and most other EU countries, to freeze countries that violate democratic principles.
“There is a very different position,” Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis told reporters. “The Netherlands insists that the rule of law must be one of the conditions for providing funds.”
Additional reporting by Tom Sims in Frankfurt, Bart Meijer in Amsterdam, Jan Lopatka in Prague, Marine Strauss in Brussels, writing by Robin Emmott, edited by Alexandra Hudson
SYDNEY (Reuters) – An Australian man who pleaded guilty to killing 51 Muslim worshipers in New Zealand’s worst mass shooting in 2019 has decided to represent himself a month before his sentence, the court said on Monday.
Brenton Tarrant pleaded guilty earlier this year to 51 counts of murder, 40 counts of attempted murder and one count of committing terrorist acts. His guilty plea was filed with the court for six weeks which would begin in June excessively.
Tarrant’s decision to represent him will not affect the sentencing hearing which will begin on August 24, Judge Cameron Mander said within minutes of the trial issued by the court.
The judge agreed to Tarrant’s request in a pre-trial video call after he was satisfied that Tarrant understood his right to have legal representation and that he wanted to waive these rights.
Tarrant’s lawyer said there was no “conflict or disruption of relations” between them and Tarrant, and that the request was consistent with his rights.
“Tarrant has instructed lawyers that he wants to act for himself in punishment,” the lawyer, who has appeared for Tarrant since his second court appearance on April 5 last year, said in an email statement.
“We are not disappointed in Mr Tarrant’s decision.”
The sentence date was officially confirmed on Monday in the High Court in Christchurch in the presence of the shooting of survivors and family liaison representatives, the New Zealand Herald said in a report.
Tarrant has been detained by police since 15 March 2019, when he was arrested and accused of using semi-automatic weapons to target Muslims attending Friday prayers at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Michael Perry