Migrants die of disease in Libya detention; UN criticized

When the European Union started funneling millions of euros into Libya to slow the tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the money came with EU promises to improve detention centers notorious for abuse and fight human trafficking. That hasn’t happened. Instead, the misery of migrants in Libya has spawned a thriving and highly lucrative web of businesses funded in part by the EU and enabled by the United Nations, an Associated Press investigation has found. The EU has sent more than 327.9 million euros to Libya, with an additional 41 million approved in early December, largely funneled through UN agencies. The AP found that in a country without a functioning government, huge sums of European money have been diverted to intertwined networks of militiamen, traffickers and coast guard members who exploit migrants. In some cases, UN officials knew militia networks were getting the money, according to internal emails. The militias torture, extort and otherwise abuse migrants for ransoms in detention centers under the nose of the UN, often in compounds that receive millions in European money, the AP investigation showed. Many migrants also simply disappear from detention centers, sold to traffickers or to other centers. The same militias conspire with some members of Libyan coast guard units. The coast guard gets training and equipment from Europe to keep migrants away from its shores. But coast guard members return some migrants to the detention centers under deals with militias, the AP found, and receive bribes to let others pass en routeContinue reading

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Boris Johnson on UK Politics

Britain clinched a last-minute Brexit deal with the European Union on Thursday, but still faced a challenge in getting it approved by parliament. “Where there is a will there is a deal – we have one. It’s a fair and balanced agreement for the EU and the UK and it is a testament to our commitment to find solutions,” European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a tweet a few hours before an EU summit in Brussels. He said he would recommend that leaders of the other 27 member states approve the deal. “I believe it is high time to complete the divorce process and move on, as swiftly as possible, to the negotiation on the European Union’s future partnership with the United Kingdom,” Juncker said in an attached letter. Separately, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we have a great new Brexit deal”. Johnson is hoping to get approval for the agreement in a vote at an extraordinary session of the British parliament on Saturday, to pave the way for an orderly departure on Oct. 31. However, the Northern Irish party that Johnson needs to help ratify any agreement has refused to support the deal that was hammered out over weeks of negotiations. The head of the main opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, said in Brussels he was “unhappy” with the deal and would vote against it. Lawmakers in his party said they had been told to vote for another referendum on Saturday. STERLING SURGES Nevertheless, sterling surged moreContinue reading

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Boris Johnson - UK Political News Today

The European Union agreed on Friday to enter intense talks with Britain to try to break the deadlock over Brexit, lifting financial markets with a sign that a deal could be done before the Halloween deadline. A flurry of activity has brought the fraught bargaining process to a new level as Britain’s scheduled departure date of Oct. 31 grows ever closer, but it is still uncertain whether the two sides can make a breakthrough before then. The move came at the end of a tumultuous week which started with a public row between London and Brussels. By Thursday British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar said they had found “a pathway” to a possible deal, and by Friday some officials were expressing guarded optimism. “I think both of us can see a pathway to a deal, but that doesn’t mean it’s a done deal,” Boris Johnson said on Friday. “There’s a way to go, it’s important now our negotiators on both sides get into proper talks about how to sort this thing out.” Ireland is crucial if a deal is to be done to avert a potentially disorderly Brexit that would hurt global growth, roil financial markets and could even split the United Kingdom. Dublin will have to consent to any solution to the toughest problem of all: how to prevent the British province of Northern Ireland from becoming a backdoor into the EU’s markets without having border controls. A diplomat and an EU official saidContinue reading

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Boris Johnson and Donald Tusk - EU News - UK

Britain’s latest proposal for an agreement on the terms of its divorce from the European Union has been widely rebuffed in Brussels because it does not meet the objectives of the so-called Irish border backstop. Below is an explanation of the backstop Britain agreed with Brussels in 2018, the new plan proposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and why EU officials think it falls short: WHAT’S THE BACKSTOP? Now, there are no border checks or infrastructure between the UK province of Northern Ireland and Ireland as both are in the EU’s single market customs and regulatory arrangements. The backstop in the 2018 Brexit deal was designed to prevent a hard border being introduced on the island of Ireland when Britain leaves the EU – whatever trade deal was eventually agreed between London and Brussels. It envisaged that the United Kingdom would remain bound by some EU rules if no other way is found to keep the border between the British province and Ireland invisible. Maintaining a frictionless border was a key part of the 1998 Good Friday agreement between London and Dublin to end 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland. WHY DIDN’T THAT WORK? Pro-Brexit lawmakers objected to the 2018 deal, saying the backstop would tie Britain to the EU come what may, leaving the country overseen by EU judges and preventing it from striking trade deals around the world. Parliament’s rejection of the deal forced then-Prime Minister Theresa May from office. WHAT’S THE NEW PLAN? Johnson’s new proposalContinue reading

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Simon Coveney - Ireland News

Irish FM Simon Coveney: “Ireland is in no doubt as to what a no deal means for us. It is very damaging, very difficult and it poses huge questions for politics and potentially for the management of civic unrest in the context of Northern Ireland, around the border question.”Continue reading