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Guatemala and US must ‘work together’ to tackle migration: Harris | Migration News

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US Vice President Kamala Harris is on a three-day trip to Central America, aiming to stem the flow of migrants to the US.

United States Vice President Kamala Harris has kicked off a three-day diplomatic trip to the Northern Triangle on Monday focused on stemming migration to the US.

During a joint news conference with Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, Harris emphasised the need to restore hope for residents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras – the three countries where the majority of migrants hail from – in order to address the rise in numbers.

“Hope does not exist by itself, it must be coupled with relationships and trust,” Harris said during a joint news conference with Giammattei. “It must be coupled with tangible outcomes in terms of what we do as leaders to convince people that there is a reason to be hopeful about their future and the future of their children,” she said.

The administration of US President Joe Biden, which took office in January, is under pressure to stem a surge in migrant arrivals from Central America fleeing poverty and corruption.

Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei speaking during a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris [Carlos Barria/Reuters]

During the trip, officials are expected to announce steps to combat human trafficking, smuggling and corruption in Guatemala. Harris is also scheduled to meet civil society leaders and entrepreneurs and then fly on to Mexico where she will meet President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Tuesday.

Non-governmental organisations placed Guatemala’s widespread corruption at the top of their list of concerns before Harris’s visit. Last month, two lawyers who are outspoken critics of Giammattei’s administration were arrested on what they say were trumped-up charges aimed at silencing them.

William Lawrence, professor of international relations at the American University in Washington, DC said the US is hoping to find ways to stem migration in the short term as well as address the structural issues that have led to people seeking to migrate to the US.

“You have to simultaneously both deal with the border issues – where there have been some improvements despite the surge – and the systemic issues that send so many migrants heading for the border,” Lawrence told Al Jazeera television.

In an effort to tackle the “root causes” of migration, the Biden administration has pledged a $4bn plan to boost development in the region and $310m in humanitarian aid.

Al Jazeera’s Manuel Rapalo, reporting from Tecun Uman on Guatemala’s border with Mexico, said the US aid and funding to programmes in the region and Guatemala in particular, are not new. And making meaningful advances on corruption is going to be the nation’s responsibility.

Military police officers keep watch on the perimeter of the Palacio Nacional de la Cultura where US Vice President Kamala Harris was meeting Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, in Guatemala City [Sandra Sebastian/Reuters]

“Ultimately it is up to the government of Guatemala that foreign aid isn’t lost to corruption,” Rapalo said, adding that without making structural changes “no amount of foreign aid will prevent people from fleeing north”.

Harris is also expected to discuss sharing COVID-19 vaccines with Guatemala, as part of a batch of 25 million surplus vaccines with other countries.

Last week, Giammattei said the US would supply half a million COVID-19 doses to Guatemala.

Shortly before meeting Giammattei Harris said her trip to the country demonstrated the Biden’s administration focus on re-establishing ties with allies around the world and was “a reflection of the priority President Biden placed on this region”.

“It is in our collective interest that we work together,” Harris said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Apple Daily could shut ‘in days’ after Hong Kong asset freeze | Freedom of the Press News

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Company adviser says action under security law means it cannot access some $50 million in funds to pay staff and vendors.

Hong Kong pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily will be forced to shut “in a matter of days” after authorities used the national security law imposed by China to freeze the company’s assets as it arrested the paper’s editor and four other directors, an adviser to jailed tycoon Jimmy Lai told Reuters on Monday.

Mark Simon, speaking by phone from the United States, said the company was no longer able to access its funds and would be holding a board meeting on Monday to discuss how to move forward.

“We thought we’d be able to make it to the end of the month,” Simon told the news agency. “It’s just getting harder and harder. It’s essentially a matter of days.”

His comments signal closure is imminent even after Apple Daily said on Sunday the freezing of its assets had left the newspaper with cash for “a few weeks” for normal operations.”

The news comes two days after editor Ryan Law, 47, and chief executive Cheung Kim-hung, 59, were denied bail after being charged under the security law with collusion with foreign forces.

Apple Daily’s editor-in-chief Ryan Law arrives back at the detention centre after he was remanded in custody on Saturday [Lam Yik/Reuters]

Three other senior executives were also arrested last Thursday when 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s offices in a case that has drawn condemnation from Western nations, human rights groups and the chief United Nations spokesperson for human rights.

The three have been released on bail.

Simon told Reuters it had become impossible to conduct banking operations.

“Vendors tried to put money into our accounts and were rejected. We can’t bank. Some vendors tried to do that as a favour. We just wanted to find out and it was rejected,” he said.

Speaking earlier to US news channel CNN, Simon said the company had about $50 million available, but was unable to access the funds.

The publisher has come under increasing pressure since its owner Jimmy Lai was arrested under the national security law last August, which marked the first time the company’s headquarters was raided. Lai, 73, is now jailed and facing trial under the national security law. In May, the authorities also froze some assets belonging to the longtime critic of Beijing has also had some of his assets frozen.

Three companies related to Apple Daily are also being prosecuted for collusion with a foreign country and authorities have frozen HK$18 million ($2.3 million) of their assets.

China imposed the national security law on Hong Kong last June saying it was necessary to restore “stability” to a territory that had been rocked by mass protests in 2019, some of which turned violent.

The broadly-worded law criminalises acts such as subversion, sedition, collusion with foreign forces and secession with possible life imprisonment, but critics have said it is being used to suppress legitimate political debate with dozens of pro-democracy politicians and activists among the more than 100 arrested since it was brought into force.





Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Birmingham Classic: Ons Jabeur beats Daria Kasatkina to win first title

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Tunisian second seed Ons Jabeur defeated Russia’s Daria Kasatkina in straight sets to win her first singles title at the Birmingham Classic.

World number 24 Jabeur triumphed 7-5 6-4 against the fourth seed to become the first Arab woman to win a WTA title.

In Berlin, Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova stunned Swiss fifth seed Belinda Bencic to win her first title.

The 22-year-old world number 106 battled back from a set down to win 1-6 6-1 6-3 in her first final.

Victories for Jabeur and Samsonova mean there have now been 10 first-time singles winners on the women’s Tour this year.

Jabeur broke Kasatkina’s serve three times to prevail in the first set, before successive breaks at the start of the second put the 26-year-old in control at 4-0.

Two-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Kasatkina recovered to 4-3, but Jabeur held on to win a singles final at the third attempt.

It was a breakthrough week for Samsonova in Germany, during which she also defeated seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belaurus in the semi-final.

World number 12 Bencic won the first five games as she dominated the opening set, but Samsonova matched that feat in the second before completing her comeback with breaks in the first and ninth games in the deciding set.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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Birtukan Mideksa: Ethiopia’s electoral board chairperson

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Restless for change, Ms Birtukan moved back into politics, playing a key role in the formation of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) to present a united front against the EPRDF in the 2005 parliamentary election, which was widely seen as the most fiercely contested poll in Ethiopia’s history, with the opposition claiming that it had been robbed of victory.



Source – www.bbc.co.uk

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