Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Monday, criticised a recent wave of illegal migrant crossings the English Channel as stupid, dangerous and criminal.
“There’s no doubt that it will be helpful if we can work with our French friends to stop them, migrants getting over the Channel,’’ Johnson said.
According to Britain’s Press Association (PA), News Agency, a new daily high of at least 235 people reached Britain on 17 small boats.
However, there were more crossings at the weekend.
Johnson added that there was the need to look at the legal framework for migrants who arrived Britain illegally.
“When people do get here, it is very, very difficult to then send them away again, even though blatantly they’ve come here illegally,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, members of Johnson’s cabinet mooted the idea of deploying the Royal Navy as part of measures to stop the flow.
However, the feasibility was questioned by French politician, Pierre-Henri Dumont, in the port city of Calais.
Dumont told the BBC that French authorities were already trying to do whatever it could to intercept the crossings.
Earlier, Britain’s Home Secretary, Priti Patel, travelled to Dover to review the situation while the Royal Air Force (RAF) deployed a plane to survey the English Channel.
More than 4,000 migrants have reached Britain’s shores from France in 2020, after crossing the busy shipping lane.
Also, Immigration Minister, Chris Philp, is expected to visit France on Tuesday for talks.
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)https://nnn.ng/britains-johnson-criticises-new-wave-of-migrant-boat-crossings/
Nigeria, EU envoys meet to resolve access to airspace, travel ban
The Federal Government and envoys of the European Union (EU) on Friday in Abuja met to resolve the issue of access to airspace following the ban on some airlines by the Nigerian government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the meeting is coming after the Federal Government opened its airspace on September 5.
Speaking to journalists at the end of the closed door meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, said the meeting was at the instance of the EU envoys.
Onyeama said that the meeting also discussed the issue of access to the European space of passengers coming from Nigeria, stating that the Nigerian side was very keen on knowing what exactly applied to Nigerians.
He further said there was obviously some misinformation which made the situation altogether not very clear.
“We understand that this has created some concerns and tensions, so we are here to listen to each other, diplomatically and politely.
“And in a friendly manner to try and see how we can begin to resolve outstanding issues of concern on either side.
“So, what we have asked the European side, to let us have, is the detailed information on Nigerians that can access European space from Nigeria.
“So, which category of Nigerians can in this present time and with the release and restrictions announced by the EU are affected? Who are the people considered on essential travel?
“And what chances does an average Nigerian have to visit a European country from here?
“So, to give us that information so that every Nigerian will be in a position to know whether they can access the European space irrespective of the fact whether they have a visa or no visa.
“There are a lot of Nigerians who have long-term visas, two-year Schengen visa and so forth and clearly, not all of them are able or have to write now as it stand, to enter Europe. So, we want to have that information,”Onyeama stated.
Onyeama also said that the Nigerian side decided and pointed out that just as the EU reviews its policies every two weeks, the Nigerian Government is also doing same and also look into the policies during PTF meetings.
Ambassador Ketil Karlsen, Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria, said the availability of flights from Europe to Nigeria was very essential due to the ongoing collaboration between the EU and Nigeria.
Karlsen also said the EU appealed to its partners on the Nigerian side to reconsider the possibility of having again, some of the larger air carriers from Europe, flying with Nigeria.
He added that Nigeria was never picked out, even as he said there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe.
“Nigeria was never picked out, there was never a ban against flights coming from Nigeria to Europe, there was never, as I see it, a retaliation or reciprocity at play here.
“Merely, what Europe has done is exactly the same that Nigeria has done namely, looking at very carefully, what essential groups of people should come in a time of crisis.
“And how can we provide protocols to handle that in terms of testing and isolation, if needed,”Karlsen said.
In his remarks, Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said Europe is the strongest partner of Nigeria as far as the aviation sector is concerned.
Sirika said that whatever was done was not targeted at the EU and was subject to review.
NAN reports that in attendance from the Nigerian side were the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire; Minister of State, Health, Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora; the National Coordinator of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, Dr Sani Aliyu.
The EU delegation included the Ambassadors of Germany, Netherlands, and France.
Edited By: Remi Koleoso/Wale Ojetimi
Sweden’s statements on Navalny potentially breaching chemical weapons convention – Lavrov
Sweden’s vouching for that Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny had been poisoned with Novichok following its earlier claim of never having dealt with this toxin before is potentially violating the Chemical Weapons Convention, an official said.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said this on Friday.
Sweden denied having any experience with Novichok after Russia retrieved open sources showing that this military-grade nerve agent was being developed in several Western countries in Europe and beyond.
This took place in 2018 after the EU and several of its individual member states accused Moscow of being behind the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the UK town of Salisbury.
“There are dozens of patents for the military use of substances of this group. We listed Sweden among the countries where such works were being carried out.
“As you now know, they told us two years ago ‘Don’t you dare mention us on this list as we have never carried out any Novichok-related activities,’” Lavrov said.
Germany, where Navalny was transported for treatment in 2019 and where doctors suggested he could have been poisoned with Novichok, asked France and Sweden to confirm the results of his lab tests.
“And they [Sweden] came up with an official confirmation of the results of the Bundeswehr lab that it was Novichok.
“But if mere two years ago Sweden had no expertise to determine whether or not it was Novichok and now two years later it has such expertise then something must have changed.
“And if what changed has enabled Sweden to acquire competency in detecting the Novichok substances, perhaps, it should be reviewed as a potential grave violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Lavrov added.
On Aug. 20, Navalny was urgently hospitalised in the Russian Siberian city of Omsk after suffering an acute health condition during a domestic flight.
As lab tests found no traces of poisonous substances in the man’s system, Russian doctors opined the deterioration could have been caused by an abrupt drop of glucose in his blood due to metabolic disbalance.
Navalny was transported to Germany’s Berlin-based Charite clinic two days later.
It was not until Sept. 2 that German medics claimed Navalny’s samples contained traces of a Novichok group substance.
The German government claimed it got a confirmation of the diagnosis from France and Sweden and submitted the case materials to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Berlin refused to make the materials available to Moscow, citing Russia’s membership in the organisation, in spite the requests from Russian investigators, who launched a probe immediately after Navalny’s hospitalization in Omsk.
On Sept. 7, Navalny was reanimated from his medically-induced coma and separated from a ventilator.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Ali Baba-Inuwa
Fed Cup to be renamed Billie Jean King Cup
Almost 60 years after Billie Jean King helped the United States win the inaugural Fed Cup, the team event is being renamed in honour of the greatest trailblazer in women’s tennis.
The competition will from 2021 be known as the Billie Jean King Cup, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) said in a statement.
It was revamped this year to feature a 12-nation finals week to rival the men’s Davis Cup.
This year’s finals, scheduled for Budapest in April, were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
King, a 12-times Grand Slam singles champion and the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), said she was “humbled” to have the competition named after her.
“Very proud, very humbled,” the 76-year-old told Reuters by telephone. “I keep thinking it’s a dream. And then I start thinking about what an opportunity this is to help the game grow globally.
“(The Federation Cup) was 63 years behind the Davis Cup but we’ve gone from 16 to 116 nations.
“We have equal prize money to the Davis Cup and this sends out an important and strong message of equality.”
The Billie Jean Cup, sponsored by BNP Paribas, is the first major global team competition to be named after a woman.
Next year’s Finals in Hungary will boast 12 million dollars in prize money, equivalent to the revamped Davis Cup.
ITF President David Haggerty paid tribute to King’s fight for gender equality in sports and society.
“From playing the first Fed Cup as a member of the victorious United States team in 1963, founding the WTA and becoming its first president, to being the first female athlete awarded the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom, Billie Jean King has never stopped breaking new ground,” Haggerty said.
“Today she adds another `first’ to that list. The new name is a fitting tribute to everything she has achieved.”
King was part of the team that won the inaugural competition, then known as the Federation Cup, in London in 1963.
She won it seven times as a player and four as captain and was appointed its first Global Ambassador last year.
“There is nothing quite like the feeling of representing your country and being part of a team, which is why this competition is so special and important to me,” she said.
“Our job is to share this vision with future generations of young girls, because if you can see it, you can be it.”
France, Russia, Hungary, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, the United States, Spain, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland will contest next year’s inaugural Billy Jean King Cup Finals.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
France reiterates commitment to press freedom regarding jail term of Algerian reporter
The French government has described the freedom and security of the press as fundamental rights across the world while speaking about Algerian reporter, Khaled Drareni.
Drareni was sentenced to prison for the coverage of protests.
He is an Algerian journalist, reporting for French TV channel TV5Monde and a representative of Reporters Without Borders (RFS) in Algeria.
The journalist was arrested on March 7 during a protest organised by the Hirak movement that called for changes in the country’s political system.
On Aug. 10, the authorities sentenced the reporter to three years’ imprisonment for “undermining national unity’’ by his coverage of the opposition movement’s actions.
Earlier in the week, the decision was reconsidered and Drareni was jailed for two years on appeal.
“We (France) are aware of this decision.
“France reaffirms its commitment to the freedom of the press and the security of journalists throughout the world.
“The freedom to inform is a fundamental right that must be protected,’’ the French Foreign Ministry said.
The RFS condemned the jailed’s decision to sentence Drareni, who has also been the subject of a major international solidarity campaign called #WeAreKhaled.
The Hirak opposition movement has been protesting since February 2019 against the candidature of the country’s former president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, to the next head of state post.
Bouteflika resigned in April 2019 due to the protests, also referred to as the Revolution of Smiles.
Since then, the Hirak movement has been calling for democracy in Algeria.
Edited By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde