British PM pledges action on migrants

British Prime Minister David Cameron is promising to ramp up action to tackle a worsening migrant situation which he says “will last all summer” and which is sharply dividing opinion among Britons.

The Refugee Council previously criticized Cameron’s description of “swarms” of migrants, calling his language “irresponsible, dehumanising” and “extremely inflammatory”.

Daniel Trilling writes at The Guardian that Europe could solve the migrant crisis – if it wanted.

Refugees from many countries – not just Sudan but Syria, Eritrea, Afghanistan and beyond – are taking clandestine journeys across Europe in search of a country that will give them the chance to rebuild their lives. Living in Britain and watching what unfolds in Calais – such as the revelation that in recent days there have been 1,500 attempts by migrants to enter the Channel tunnel – it can seem as if they’re all heading here, but in reality Britain ranks mid-table in the proportion of asylum claims it receives relative to population. The number of refugees at Calais has grown because the number of refugees in Europe as a whole has grown. For the most part, their journeys pass unseen, until they hit a barrier – the English Channel; the lines of police at Ventimiglia on the Italy-France border; the forests of Macedonia – that creates a bottleneck and leads to scenes of destitution and chaos.

While Bethan McKernan at The Independent looks at “10 myths about the UK’s ‘migrant crisis’ debunked”

One of the most puzzling conundrums of the modern era is what a parody news site last year dubbed “Schrodinger’s immigrant”. Like the cat in the box, this migrant is both everywhere and nowhere, somehow managing to simultaneously steal jobs from hardworking Britons and scrounge off the benefits system.

And public reactions are increasingly reflecting signs of isolationism.

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* POLITICS * Talking of isolationism, in a speech in Miami, Hillary Clinton called for an end to the US embargo on Cuba which has been in place since 1962.

Some of her leading Republican opponents disagreed.

Meanwhile, despite Donald Trump’s frequent claims of standing for the American worker, Reuters reported on Sunday night that his companies had sought to import at least 1,000 foreign workers on temporary visas.

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* WORLD *  A new vaccine against Ebola is proving successful in early field trials.

But according to the World Bank, there is still a widespread level of caution about the level of preparedness for a global epidemic.

Negotiators at trade talks in Hawaii failed to reach a final 12-nation agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 percent of the world economy.”

Serbia’s national lottery is the subject of a police investigation after winning numbers were announced on live TV before the draw was made.

The future of Britain’s House of Lords is frequently pondered either as a hypothetical constitutional exercise, or a derisory conversation down the pub. But as John Lloyd writes for Reuters, the takedown by The Sun this week of a prominent member in deliciously salacious circumstances, prompts a potentially deeper backlash:

Beyond the Lords, it deepens the cynicism among members of the media and citizenry toward politics and politicians.  No point in saying that many men have sleazy episodes in their life that would look ill in a tabloid. Here was one who had a constitutional office of some importance, and who chaired a group of his fellows who sat in judgment on others’ ethics. If lawmakers make an ass of the law and ethicists flout basic morality, open season is declared on their Houses.

(YouTube/Pete Wishart)

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* MEDIA * Some significant changes to MSNBC’s daytime schedule took effect on Friday, with three shows being cancelled as the network seeks to move away from opinion programming.

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* SPORTS * South Korean businessman Chung Mong-joon may be set to stand for the Presidency of Fifa, believing that Uefa boss Michel Platini is “not the right man” for the top job. The BBC reported him as saying:

“If I get elected, my job is not to enjoy the luxury of the office. My job is to change it. It will be very difficult for Mr Platini to have any meaningful reforms.”

Meanwhile, Peter Berlin writes at Politico that the problem with Platini is that he is “Blatter with a French accent.”

The ferocity and speed of the criticism [against Platini] suggests that the rivals fear that the distinct whiff of dirty laundry may well prove an electoral asset with the FIFA voters who may not all want change. In the letter announcing his candidacy, Platini failed to address directly the issue of corruption. The UEFA website, quoting from the letter, said its president promised to “give FIFA back the dignity and the position it deserves.”

But one thing is sure – there is a lot of politics to be played before February’s election.

 

Finally, Canadian wrestler and star of John Carpenter’s 1988 cult movie They Live, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper died aged 61.

 

 

 

 

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