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Almost 400 stranded in Mediterranean despite Louise Michel rescue | News

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Nearly 400 refugees and migrants remained stranded in the central Mediterranean after an overcrowded rescue vessel was emptied of all the rescued people on Saturday.

The German-flagged Louise Michel, sponsored by British street artist Banksy, made a mayday call late on Friday after rescuing more than 200 people, saying the 31-metre (101-foot) ship had become overcrowded and unable to move.

The crew said some of the survivors had fuel burns and had been at sea for days, and one of the boats the Louise Michel helped had at least one dead person on board. The survivors later said three people had died at sea before the arrival of the Louise Michel.

Over the course of Saturday, 49 survivors were picked up from the Louise Michel by the Italian coastguard and taken to the island of Lampedusa.

“Given the danger of the situation, the coastguard sent a patrol boat to Lampedusa which took in 49 people deemed the most fragile, including 32 women, 13 children and four men,” the coastguard said in a statement.

Rescued migrants and refugees transferred from Banksy-funded rescue boat MV Louise Michel

The remaining survivors were transferred on Saturday to another charity vessel, the German-flagged Sea-Watch 4, jointly operated by the NGOs Sea Watch and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

“LouiseMichel no longer has guests onboard, but the struggle of the survivors is not over,” a Twitter account for the rescue ship said on Sunday. “Europe! SOLAS [international treaty on safety of life at sea] obliges you to rescue at sea. Open your ports now!”

The Sea-Watch 4, which has a clinic on board and is itself in search of a host port, sailed for almost 12 hours to help the Louise Michel.

The Sea-Watch 4 now has 353 rescued people, while another 27 are still on the Maersk Etienne, a Danish tanker that rescued them on August 4 after a call for assistance from the small boat they were on.

“We’re providing an emergency response where the states are failing and now we’re stranded at sea. We are being penalised for filing the gap that the EU governments have left at the world’s deadliest maritime border,” Hannah Wallace Bowman, MSF’s field communications manager on board the Sea-Watch 4, told Al Jazeera.

“The crew and survivors on board the Sea-Watch 4 are totally exhausted. Some of the people who we rescued have been on board since last Saturday, more than seven days ago.”

‘Immediate disembarkation’

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) jointly called for the “immediate disembarkation” of all survivors still at sea.

EU countries’ inability to agree who should take them in “is not an excuse to deny vulnerable people a port of safety and the assistance they need, as required under international law,” they said.

The Mediterranean route is described by the UNHCR as the most dangerous migration route in the world – one in six people who departs the shores of North Africa dies.

Since 2014, more than 20,000 refugees and migrants have died at sea while trying to reach Europe from Africa, fleeing conflict, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.

The reality is far worse than what the figure suggests, officials and analysts have warned, as the bodies of those who do not survive are not always recovered, identified and counted.

Standoffs over refugees and migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean have been playing out for years, with the southern European counties of Italy and Malta usually reluctant to welcome them.

The two countries have long said they are disproportionately affected by Europe-bound sea migration from North Africa, and that there is insufficient burden-sharing across the European Union.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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RSF raises alarm over ‘deteriorating’ press freedom in Greece | Freedom of the Press News

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Athens, Greece – Concerns around press freedom in Greece have been raised by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), as the media watchdog publishes its World Press Freedom Index.

In the list, which is released annually and ranks 180 countries in the world from “good” to “very bad”, Greece has dropped five places.

The European Union member state is now at 70, down from 65 in 2020, a rating considered as “problematic”.

The fresh index comes as concerns mount over the case of Giorgos Karaivaz, a Greek crime reporter working for private broadcaster Star TV, who was shot outside his home as he returned from work in south Athens two weeks ago.

It remains unclear if the murder was related to his work but the president of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called it a “despicable, cowardly act” in a tweet, adding, “Europe stands for freedom. And freedom of the press may be the most sacred of all.”

In the past year, there have been several reports of journalists being harassed by police while covering protests in lockdown.

In February, the Paris-based RSF called for an investigation after seven journalists were tear-gassed and beaten with batons and shields during a demonstration.

RSF described that incident as an “unprovoked attack by the police”.

‘Strangling pressure’

Journalists interacting with government officials have also reported significant challenges.

Greek journalist Dimitra Kroustalli said in January she had been forced to resign from her job at the To Vima newspaper after “strangling pressure” from the Greek prime minister’s cabinet.

Kroustalli had been covering the flaws in the systems used to track and monitor COVID-19 cases.

Grants totalling 20m euros given to blogs and media outlets to fund COVID awareness campaigns also came under scrutiny last year when it was revealed in June that some of the media outlets had no webpages.

Stavros Malichudis, a freelance journalist based in the capital, Athens, said that the recent murder of a media worker had put the spotlight back on press freedom in Greece.

“Until Karaivaz’s murder, Greece wasn’t considered as a country where journalists might be killed for doing their job. Press freedom, though, definitely has been an issue,” Malichudis told Al Jazeera.

“The coverage of public TV has always been in favour of the government, instead of the public it ought to serve. Journalists working for major media know there are specific topics they can’t even pitch a story about and large corporations seldom get covered in the press where only their adverts appear.

“Another issue is the restriction of coverage on refugees by the Greek government, which has already been criticised by media watchdogs.”

‘Tight control of information’

Meanwhile, journalists working on refugee issues have faced hostility from local authorities on the Aegean islands.

Multiple media freedom groups wrote to Greek authorities after local police detained a group of journalists working for the German Climate Foundation on the Greek island of Samos last October.

The group, which was making a documentary about climate-induced migration, were denied access to a lawyer and strip-searched before being released without charge.

Pavol Szalai, head of RSF’s EU/Balkans desk, told Al Jazeera the NGO was concerned by the current situation in Greece.

“Press freedom in Greece has been rapidly deteriorating.

“Right now, Greek journalists are having a hard time in scrutinising the government policies and reporting on the handling of the pandemic or the refugee crisis.

“The recent brutal killing of crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz has brought an additional layer of serious concern for investigative journalists. Quite frankly, the current situation is a dangerous cocktail for press freedom.”



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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5th Edition of Y+ Summit Kicks Off

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The 5th edition of the Y+ Summit has on Tuesday, kicked off.

Initiated in 2017, the Y+ Summit is a national assembly bringing together young people living with HIV and key influencers in the HIV response.

The summit is a platform for networking, comparing ideas, perspectives in combating HIV.

This year’s theme is ‘Opening Opportunities for Young People living with HIV.’

“We have about 1.2 million people on Antiretroviral treatment around the country of which half of these are young people living with HIV, 25 years and below,” said Isaac, Lekdyang, the executive director Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (UNYPA)

“Our message to them is that as much as the pandemic has been a very big problem to the entire world, there are also opportunities to every downside. We would love to open our minds to what opportunities are available to us as YPLHIV and be able to compete in the market place,” he said.

Dr Maggie Kigozi, a business consultant explained that main opportunities exist for YPLHIV.

“We are looking at young people staying healthy, being able to get educated and also able to be employable and start their own businesses.”

She noted that in the past years, there have been gaps like scarcity of drugs, but currently, progress has been made and research on HIV vaccines is on going.

Dr Kigozi further said that young girls, 15-24 years are 4 times more likely to have HIV than boys the same age, due to various factors like Gender Based Violence, sexual abuse, lack of access to education, health services, social protection and information.

Lisa Nelson, country director for Centre for Disease Control noted that children and youth need support systems to help them navigate the transition to adulthood: make the complicated and difficult choices of adolescence and manage and maintain mental, emotional, and physical health, which is crucial to living long, happy and productive lives.

She pledged continued support from the United States government in strengthening Uganda’s health sector.

The post 5th Edition of Y+ Summit Kicks Off first appeared on ChimpReports.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Number of people in employment in UK fell unexpectedly in March | Business and Economy News

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The drop in the number of employees on payrolls indicates scarring of the economy after three COVID lockdowns.

The U.K. labor market weakened unexpectedly, with company payrolls falling for the first time in four months and more people dropping out of the workforce.

The number of employees on payrolls fell 56,000 in March, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. The jobless rate fell to 4.9% in the quarter through February because 80,000 people became economically inactive, indicating they stopped looking for work.

The figures indicate scarring to the economy from three successive coronavirus lockdowns that forced most shops, restaurants and entertainment venues to close. Those segments all suffered big declines in payrolled employment despite Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s effort to protect jobs with furlough payments, leaving overall employment about 800,000 below where it was before the pandemic struck.

“The bigger story is the continued crisis for young people,” said Tony Wilson, Director of the Institute for Employment Studies. “Youth long-term unemployment has hit a five-year high this morning, while youth employment is still falling even as it starts to rise for every other age group.”

This month’s figures confound recent surveys suggesting that companies restarted hiring in the weeks before lockdown loosened. The ONS said the number of job vacancies jumped 16% in March alone to 650,000, and that may feed through to higher employment in the coming months. Sectors including hospitality, retail and the arts had big increases.

“The jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months after the major shock of last spring,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS. “With the prospect of businesses reopening, there was a marked rise in job vacancies in March, especially in sectors such as hospitality.”

Unemployment claims rose 10,100 in March after a revised increase of 67,300 the previous month. Basic earnings growth, which has been inflated by lower-paying jobs dropping out of the labor market, was 4.4% in the quarter through February compared with 4.3% in the previous three-month period.

The Treasury and Bank of England expect a rapid recovery from the worst recession in three centuries starting in the middle of the year when most lockdown rules are set to lapse. Shops and restaurants started opening earlier this month.

Employment fell by 73,000 in the quarter thorough February, less than half the decline of 145,000 that had been anticipated by economists. At the end of February, 4.65 million workers were on furlough, down from a peak of 8.8 million at the start of the pandemic in April 2020.

The OBR expects the jobless rate to peak at 6.5% in the fourth quarter, or about 2.2 million people. That’s less than previously estimated and significantly below the peak of recessions in previous decades.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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