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  • SOS Mediterranean takes to the sea to save migrants

    SOS Mediterranean takes to the sea to save migrants

     SOS Mediterranean and Médecins Sans Frontières chartered a new rescue vessel to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.  The Ocean Viking will take over from Aquarius, which had to stop its rescue operations last December, blocked at the port of Marseille, without flag and subjected to various judicial investigations.

     SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced on Sunday (July 21st) that they were relaunching their migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.  / Pau Barrena / AFP

     "Today we go back to sea with a new ship: the Ocean Viking.  SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) announced on Sunday (July 21st) that they were relaunching their migrant rescue operations in the Mediterranean.  Seven months after the end of the Aquarius operations, it is a more suitable vessel that is expected to set sail in a few weeks to save lives in the central Mediterranean.

     Fundraising for the Ocean Viking
     69 meters long and 15 meters wide, built in 1986 for assistance to oil rigs in the North Sea, the Ocean Viking is en route to the Mediterranean from the waters of Norway, which it flag.  On board, about thirty people, Norwegian crew members, search and rescue team, medical staff and assistance.

     "After months of preparation, it is a boat that is particularly suited to this mission," says Sophie Beau, co-founder and CEO of SOS Méditerranée.  He has more lifeboats than the Aquarius, he is faster.  On board, there is a hospital and much better reception conditions for men and women rescued at sea. It is especially suitable for sailing during all seasons and we want to have a permanent presence on the water.  "

     Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye, a new generation of NGOs

     A permanent presence that requires a lot of money.  If the NGOs have managed to raise enough funds to charter the building, they call for donations to launch relief missions.  Every day spent at sea costs € 14,000, or 5 million for a full year of rescue.  An amount that NGOs do not have yet.

     In a video call for donations, members of the association, donors and public figures, like the singer Bernard Lavilliers, encourage individuals to participate in the financing of this citizen boat.  "We had some pledges from local authorities, but nothing from the states or the European Union.  In any case, it is a citizen boat and private donations allow us to remain independent.  We need them and this solidarity sea land, "says Sophie Beau.  In 2018, 98% of NGO funding came from private donations.

     A context hostile to humanitarians
     For seven months, the two NGOs were looking for a new ship to resume their rescue operations.  The former building of SOS Mediterranean, the Aquarius, chartered in 2016, had saved more than 30,000 people before being forced to stop operations in December 2018, after two months blocked in the port of Marseille.  "The Aquarius has been subject to judicial harassment.  We were sued by the Italian authorities for a waste sorting issue that led to the seizure of the boat, "says Sophie Beau.  The ship had lost the flag of Gibraltar and Panama.

     All ships are required to rescue migrants at sea.

     One month after the arrest of Sea-Watch 3 and its captain Carola Rackete in Sicily, MSF and SOS Mediterranean prefer to ignore the refusal of some European ports to host humanitarian vessels.

    Mathilde Blayo the 21/07/2019 at 16:23
     Updated on 21/07/2019 at 16:01

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  • Are government announcements in line with Macron's program?

    Are government announcements in line with Macron's program?

    Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe meeting at the Elysee, July 13, 2017. Julien de Rosa, AFP

     After weeks of controversy over communalism and secularism, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe unveiled at the beginning of November about twenty measures on immigration.  Are these announcements, which are supposed to combine "humanity" and "fight against fraud", in line with the promises of candidate Macron?

     Quotas.  The government wishes to introduce quotas for professional immigration to alleviate recruitment problems in the trades in tension, such as drivers, cooks or nurses - extending an already existing system, in a lighter form, since 2008 and the presidency of  Sarkozy.

     During his campaign, candidate Macron had warned that he wanted to "better define the needs for economic immigration."  However, he said he would not go so far as to set quotas by trades.  In addition, the simplification of access to the labor market for foreign students holding a master's degree  announced during the campaign does not appear to be on the government's agenda.

     Passport talents.  In the same logic of "chosen" immigration, the government wants to increase the number of "talent passports" - multi-year residence permits for skilled workers, researchers and artists - and simplify the procedure for issuing work permits.  Two direct translations of Emmanuel Macron's program .

     Repression.  During his campaign, Emmanuel Macron promised that people who did not obtain refugee status would be "deported without delay to their country so that they do not become illegal immigrants" .  Several measures announced by Edouard Philippe go in this direction:

     Three new administrative detention centers will be opened for undocumented foreigners being deported to Lyon, Olivet (Loiret) and Bordeaux.  Increasing controls are a priority in the fight against fraud and abuse.

     To fight against "overstaying" (when foreigners stay beyond the expiration of their visa), the government will set up a registration system of entries and exits by 2022.

     The rules of litigation regarding illegal residence will be simplified, with the probable aim of facilitating the deportations to the border.

     The government has asked the prefects to increase the return of failed asylum seekers to the border.

     Official development assistance.  In order to encourage migrants to stay in their country and to fight against smugglers, the government is aiming for an increase in official development assistance, which should represent 0.55% of gross national product in 2022. This ambition is, however,  - below the program of Emmanuel Macron, which provided 0.7% .

     The government also wants to make development aid contingent on the migration commitments of the recipient countries, as Emmanuel Macron already foresaw in 2017 il: he defends the idea of ​​reserving 10% of European development funds for  projects directly related to the management of migratory flows ", and calls for firm commitments in this area from the ACP countries (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) in the future cooperation agreement with the European Union.

     Integration.  The candidate Macron wanted to make French the main criterion for access to French nationality .  His prime minister has decided to go in this direction, by raising the requirements of mastering the French language (from B1 oral to B1 oral and written).

     Health.  One of the flagship measures announced on 6 November by Edouard Philippe is the hardening of access to care for foreigners: asylum seekers will be subject to a waiting period of three months before accessing the insurance  disease, while conditions for access to state medical aid (AME) will be complicated, to discourage "medical tourism".  So many measures that did not appear in the promises of the candidate Macron.

     Yiqing Qi

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  • Can 2019

    Can 2019


    The final of the CAN, between Senegal and Algeria, promises to be indecisive, tonight. Odds, compo teams, schedule, TV channel, streaming ... Here's what you need to know before the game.

    The big day has arrived for Senegal and Algeria, who are clashing tonight in the finals of the African Cup of Nations football. The forecast looks difficult to establish for this match, between two teams that have made a great impression since the beginning of the tournament. In terms of the FIFA rankings, the Senegalese (22nd) have the advantage against the Fennecs (68th) but in the last confrontation between the two teams, in the pool phase of this Can 2019 it was the Algerians who won 1-0. As a result, the figures published on the main online betting sites do not really make it possible to release a favorite for this final. Thus, the victory rating of Senegal is between 2.50 and 2.90 euros, the one corresponding to a success of Algeria varies between 2.65 and 2.85 euros, and the draw at the end of the regular time is quoted between 2.70 and 3.05 euros. Djamel Belmadi put pressure on his opponent by saying yesterday in front of the press: "We can obviously lose this match because we play against the number 1 FIFA rankings of CAF Confederation zone of the African football) and who fate of the World Cup, all signals are in favor of Senegal.

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  • Immigration Aid - Think beyond the money

    Immigration Aid - Think beyond the money

    Europe’s engagement with third countries is not about money. Those who think you can put a figure on a relationship woefully underestimate the significance and intricacy of such partnerships. For some time now, we have called for greater engagement with our partners in Africa and the Middle East — and the collective political will is finally there. The goal of the European Commission’s External Investment Plan is to leverage up to €44 billion in investment by 2020, and increase our external funding to reach up to €123 billion for 2021-2027. We need long-term, sustainable alliances with our key partners — and with Africa in particular. For these to be meaningful, our cooperation should go beyond migration, as it is a consequence of much broader shared challenges including geopolitical instability, demographic developments, climate change and socio-economic issues. Every such alliance must place partners on equal footing and be based on mutual trust. It should also be tailored to the specific context of the partners. Turkish authorities, for example, were never promised and never received €6 billion; the money went to international organizations on the ground that dealt directly with refugees. The EU has offered similar financial and humanitarian support to those displaced around the world, such as in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, South Sudan and Kenya, to name a few. But refugee or migration crises will not be solved by humanitarian aid alone. And that is why the EU wants to step up its engagement and foster true alliances with third-country partners, to work toward a more stable and prosperous shared future for all.

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