Reader’s Links, Nov. 5, 2018

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

152 Replies to “Reader’s Links, Nov. 5, 2018”

  1. SWIFT Suspends Iran Banks (aawsat, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1450521/swift-suspends-iran-banks

    “As the newly imposed US sanctions took effect against Iran, the SWIFT banking network announced Monday that has suspended several Iranian banks from its services.

    “In keeping with our mission of supporting the resilience and integrity of the global financial system as a global and neutral service provider, SWIFT is suspending certain Iranian banks’ access to the messaging system,” it said.

    “This step, while regrettable, has been taken in the interest of the stability and integrity of the wider global financial system.”

    SWIFT, the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, provides banks with a secure messenger network to allow international transfers.

    Without its services, Iranian banks will find it more difficult to do business with any client prepared to brave US sanctions to maintain ties with Tehran.

    It its brief statement Monday, SWIFT made no mention of US sanctions coming back into effect. This likely reflects the fact that it is caught between two contrary regulatory demands.

    The US government has told SWIFT that it is expected to comply with US sanctions and it could face US sanctions if it fails to do so. On the other hand, SWIFT is barred from doing so under the European Union’s so-called blocking statute, which could subject it to European penalties for complying with US law.

    Some US sanctions on Iranian banks and oil exports had been suspended after Iran signed a landmark 2105 deal with six world powers to curtail its nuclear ambitions.

    But these came back into effect Monday after President Donald Trump pulled out of the accord and demanded that the world again turn up the economic heat on Tehran.

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said waivers would be issued to allow eight countries to buy Iranian oil, but that otherwise the measures would be “relentless.”

    SWIFT connects 11,000 banks and financial institutions in 200 countries and territories, while prising itself on taking a neutral political stance.

    It does not hold or manage client funds, but allows the banks to transfer funds by sending messages across the network.”

  2. Royal Navy Stops 136 Moroccan and Sub-Saharan Immigrants (moroccoworldnews, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/11/257009/navy-stops-moroccan-sub-saharan-immigrants/

    “Attempts at irregular migration continue to pressure Moroccan authorities and make headlines in Morocco.

    In a patrol mission on Saturday, the navy rescued the irregular migrants, Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans sailing from Nador in northeast Morocco and Tangier together in makeshift boats, reported Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).

    The navy units successfully returned the migrants to Ksar Sghir in Tangier and Nador in the Rif region…”

  3. 25 charged for violence during last week’s protests (tribune, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://tribune.com.pk/story/1841252/1-25-charged-violence-last-weeks-protests/

    “Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has shared details of riots besides damages incurred during protest demonstrations last week. The government informed that a total of 25 people were arrested for having been involved in violence and damaging properties during protest demonstrations last week…”

  4. Bangladesh court sentences 2 to death for war crimes (AA, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/bangladesh-court-sentences-2-to-death-for-war-crimes/1303147

    “The International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh on Monday handed death sentences to two people for war crimes during the Liberation War in 1971.

    The convicts Liakat Ali, 63, a former ruling party member, and Aminul Islam alias Rajab Ali, 62, are absconding, the Daily Star reported.

    Speaking to reporters, prosecutor Rana Dasgupta said the convicts were found guilty of committing crimes against humanity including murder and genocide.

    The court said in its verdict that the prosecution had proven all seven charges brought against the accused. They will be hung by neck till death.

    Of the 85 suspects in the 35 cases brought before the tribunal, five have died outside of custody. Eighty have been convicted, including 53 sentenced to death.

    This is not the first time the controversial tribunal, convicted elderly people — mostly political opponents — for alleged crimes during the war almost 48 years ago, that marked the country’s secession from Pakistan.

    It is a domestic tribunal in Bangladesh set up in 2009 in order to investigate and prosecute suspects of war crimes in 1971 — allegedly committed by the Pakistani military and their local collaborators in Bangladesh.

    However, the tribunal is accused of being used against political opponents under the pretext of punishing the war criminals.

    Following the formation of the court, international human rights group, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, voiced their deep concern over the “unfair trial” process and absence of the court’s international standard.”

  5. Migrants: cooperation with Algeria positive – Italian PM (ansamed, Nov 5, 2018)
    http://www.ansamed.info/ansamed/en/news/sections/politics/2018/11/05/migrants-cooperation-with-algeria-positive-italian-pm_8c5aa4a8-f2cb-4e02-8bd0-e62b78ef6667.html

    “Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte on Monday said cooperation with Algeria on immigration was very positive during a visit to Algiers.

    ”Italy and Algeria know well the importance of the integrated management of migration phenomena, based on principles of shared responsibility and partnership among countries of origin, transit and destination”, Conte told a joint press conference with his Algerian counterpart, Ahmed Ouyahia.

    ”The cooperation is very positive, we are satisfied”.

    Talking about repatriations, he said he has confidence ”in a joint effort that can ensure further progress in terms of increased effectiveness of agreements already in place”.”

  6. Germany boosts foreign aid amid rising global crises (DW, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://www.dw.com/en/germany-boosts-foreign-aid-amid-rising-global-crises/a-46165720

    “Germany allocated roughly €1.8 billion for foreign aid projects last year alone, making the country the world’s second-largest donor. An upcoming government report outlines the scope of Berlin’s humanitarian spending.

    The need for humanitarian assistance is on the rise. That’s according to a German government report on humanitarian aid abroad from 2014-2017 that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Cabinet aims to finalize on Wednesday.

    Germany supported United Nations and Red Cross aid organizations with almost €4 billion ($4.5 billion) from 2014-2017, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) newspaper. In 2017 alone, Germany allocated €1.8 billion for humanitarian projects.

    But those large figures are no reason to celebrate, according to Bernd Bornhorst, CEO at the VENRO umbrella organization of development and humanitarian aid nongovernmental organizations in Germany. The increased funds show the German government’s great commitment to humanitarian development, but they also show “the rising need for aid in a world that confronts us with an increase in disasters,” he told DW.

    Focus on Syria and Africa

    In view of the growing demand, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, has steadily made more funds available. The country more than tripled its humanitarian aid from 2010 to 2013 compared to the previous period, the FAZ reported, quoting the government report. The focus, the paper added, was on the war in Syria and hunger in Africa.

    Spending rose sharply in 2016 and 2017 in the wake of the mass flight from civil war-torn Syria. The government made €416 million available in 2014, a sum that had more than quadrupled by 2017.

    The forgotten crises

    “We consistently urge the German government to ensure that expenditures and commitments are maintained,” said Bornhorst. Donor conferences are set up relatively quickly and funds are made available in crises that feature prominently in the media, he explained, but there are “many small, forgotten and yet horrific disasters” that miss out on aid funds.

    Read more: Germany to tighten development aid conditions for Africa

    The German government has apparently come to the same conclusion. According to the report, two trends have determined humanitarian aid in recent years. On the one hand, the gap between growing demand and available aid has widened. On the other hand, the nature and extent of natural disasters and armed conflicts have worsened. “Humanitarian emergencies now drag on for years or even decades,” Bornhorst said.

    Crutch or cure-all

    Experts warn that bilateral humanitarian support is no cure-all with regard to serious crises like that in Syria and the ongoing problems in African countries. Those cases illustrate the limits of humanitarian aid, Bornhorst argued, adding that the lack of political solutions is the real problem. “Humanitarian aid must not be allowed to become a crutch for lacking political solutions,” he said, stressing that that political action is needed, which is where foreign policy comes in.

    With an eye on terrorism and internal conflict in many countries, and the refugees those crises create, the German government sees humanitarian aid as a way to ensure security and stability at home. A stable world economy is crucial for Germany, an exporting nation. So Germany stands to benefit, too, when crises are prevented abroad.”

  7. German lawmakers push for Syrian refugee deportations (DW, Nov 5, 2018)
    https://www.dw.com/en/german-lawmakers-push-for-syrian-refugee-deportations/a-46162773

    “In the wake of a rape case involving Syrians in Germany, conservative lawmakers are demanding the government re-evaluate the security situation in Syria. Criminal refugees should be able to be deported, they say.

    Who wants to deport refugees from Germany to Syria?

    The rape of a young woman in the southwestern city of Freiburg has reignited the debate over deporting criminal asylum-seekers. At least seven Syrian men and one German man are suspected of raping an 18-year-old student in mid-October. In response, a number of conservative politicians have demanded the government be able to deport Syrian refugees accused of severe crimes back to their native country.

    If the situation in war-torn Syria “continues to improve, even if only in parts of the country, deporting a limited circle of persons should no longer be barred across the board,” Mathias Middelberg, a parliamentarian and domestic policy spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), told Die Welt newspaper.

    Does deportation mean repatriation?

    The terminology is often confused when debating the issue of asylum in Germany. Last year, lawmakers from the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party pushed for the voluntary repatriation of Syrians within the framework of an agreement with the Syrian government. Previously, however, the AfD had demanded repatriating Syrians against their will. The current proposal put forth by the CDU, along with its Bavarian CSU sister party, also focuses on repatriation, though it is limited to criminal offenders at this point.

    Those people with an approved refugee status can only expelled if they pose a threat to public safety and order, for instance if they have been sentenced to at least two years in prison. When that happens, the person in question loses his or her residence permit and is legally obliged to leave the country. If the authorities are forced to remove the person from Germany, that is called deportation.

    Is it likely Syrians will be deported?

    By 2012, all of Germany’s states had put deportation to Syria on hold due to reports of torture and violence across the country, a decision that has been reviewed and extended every year, most recently until the end of 2018. The security situation in Syria has not been re-assessed since 2012.

    At a conference of Germany’s interior ministers later this month, the states will again have to decide whether to extend the deportation ban to Syria. The vote must be unanimous. The CDU/CSU is currently represented by nine state ministers and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) by seven — it is considered unlikely that the SPD will agree to deportations to Syria.

    How safe is Syria?

    Opinion varies. Some observers, including the AfD party in parliament, say the danger of war has ceased completely in certain regions. Actual fighting is only going on in a small part of the country, according to the AfD.

    The United Nations says violent clashes in Syria have in fact subsided somewhat. The UN’s refugee agency, however, says that every single region is directly or indirectly affected by the war and violence, and that no country should send refugees back against their will.

    How many Syrian refugees live in Germany?

    According to figures from June 2018, around 800,000 Syrians have fled to Germany since the start of the civil war. Only a few thousand of them are entitled to asylum. However, the vast majority are recognized as refugees under the Geneva Refugee Convention: they fled their country for fear of persecution and are therefore granted protection.

    A third group has been granted what is known as subsidiary protection, due to the ongoing war in their own country. They do not qualify for asylum nor are they recognized as refugees under the Geneva Convention. They have not been deported, and instead are granted a residence permit that can be extended.

    Have Syrian refugees been returning home voluntarily?

    The number of returnees from Germany is probably negligible. The estimated numbers of Syrians who have returned to their country from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq vary between the tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands.

    Read more: Germany ‘ignoring’ ECJ ruling on refugee reunification

    Most Syrian refugees worldwide can only imagine a return once the war is over, and aid supply is reasonably secure again, according to a UN survey.

    Who is subject to deportation?

    Currently, 235,000 foreigners in Germany are legally obligated to leave the country. Around 174,000 of these people have obtained a “Duldung,” or tolerated permit to stay, and can thus legally remain for the time being. The other roughly 61,000 people without this permit are actually supposed to leave the country.

    Asylum-seekers whose applications have been rejected are regarded as “obliged to leave the country.” They have up to two weeks to file an appeal against their asylum decision with the help of a lawyer. On average, these proceedings take about six months and as a rule, the applicants cannot be deported during this time. If they lose their appeal, they must leave the country. In the first half of 2018, around 12,000 people were deported from Germany.”

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