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CALAIS: French President Emmanuel Macron promised to stem the flow of migrants through the port of Calais on Tuesday, saying there would be no return to the “jungle” migrant camp, and said he understood the region’s concerns about the threat from Brexit.
Addressing security forces in Calais, which has borne the brunt in France of an influx of migrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East in recent years, Macron said he would bolster resources to ensure police had what they needed to maintain security while enforcing a “fair” migration policy.
“There will be no return to ‘the jungle’,” said Macron, referring to the squalid tented encampment on the outskirts of Calais that once housed up to 8,000 migrants before it was bulldozed by the French authorities in October 2016.
Macron earlier visited a migrant reception center near Calais and spoke to both refugees and local officials to hear about the pressures on the town and its surrounding Hauts-de-France region, one of the poorest in the country.
The visit comes ahead of a summit with Prime Minister Theresa May in Britain on Thursday, when the two are expected to address Brexit, migration and the 2003 Le Touquet accord, a reciprocal border agreement that has drawn criticism in France.
Macron is expected to push Britain to provide further money and resources to tackle the migrant flow since many of those assembling in Calais are ultimately trying to enter Britain, just 33 km (20 miles) across the English Channel.
Under the Le Touquet treaty, Britain has its border in France and France runs border checks in Britain, a deal that French officials feel favors the United Kingdom. Both parties can withdraw from the treaty, which would mean a return to hard national borders, a move that would symbolically cut Britain off from the continent just as it is implementing Brexit.
Pro-Brexit lawmakers from Britain’s governing Conservative Party have dismissed as “absurd” suggestions that London should pay more, saying Britain already provides extra security to France, including border infrastructure.
The issue is a sensitive one in France, too, since Calais and the region around have benefited from close ties between Britain and France since the Channel Tunnel was built.
With unemployment in the area well above France’s average, the concern is that Brexit and tighter borders could have a further negative impact on jobs and growth.
Macron acknowledged those concerns, saying he was aware of local fears over Britain’s exit from the EU in March 2019.
“I know how worried many business sectors are about the possible consequences of Brexit, from fisheries to industry and logistics,” he said. “The region’s interests will be fully taken into account in the talks and negotiations France will have.”
While trying to stem the flow of migrants to Calais and find a way to share the burden of asylum applications with Britain and other EU states, Macron plans to tighten French immigration rules via new legislation in the coming weeks.
Catholic groups and migration charities have criticized his government for taking a hard line, accusing policymakers of planning “mass deportations.” Far-right groups, which have gained ground in Hauts-de-France, point out that asylum applications touched 100,000 in 2017, a new high.
Macron struck a tough tone in response, saying he would punish excessive use of force by police if proven true, but dismissed some of the allegations as “lies” and said the government would sue for slander any unfounded claim.
Meeting migrants from Sudan who had reached France via Italy and Libya, Macron sympathized with their plight and said France needed to find a balance between humanitarian care and a firm application of the law.
“We have a responsibility to protect those who are in danger,” he was quoted as saying by BFMTV. “(But) we can’t welcome millions of people who live in peace in their countries.”
KARACHI: A fatwa (juridical opinion) condemning terrorism and extremism was signed by more than 1,800 clerics from all Islamic schools of thoughts in Pakistan and launched in a ceremony at the President House Islamabad on Tuesday.
Published by Idara-e-Tahqeeqat-e-Islami, which works under the International Islamic University, the document, which is available with Arab News, has been endorsed and signed by 1,829 leading clerics.
“The fatwa, which condemns terrorism and extremism, has also been endorsed by Pakistan’s ministries of interiors, foreign affairs, education and religious affairs,” President House spokesperson Farooq Adil told Arab News.
He added that all state institutions supported the initiative. “This implies that the fatwa is also our comprehensive state narrative against terrorism.”
Adil said that the fatwa was based on the constitution of Pakistan, which “is an Islamic constitution that is built upon the Qur’an and the Sunnah.”
“This fatwa is a historic document and will prove to be another milestone after the Pakistan Resolution and the 1973 Constitution,” said Qari Muhammad Hanif Jalandhari, secretary general of the largest federation of Islamic seminaries, Wafaqul Madaris Al-Arabia. “It will root out extremism and terrorism from the country.”
“We have seen many fatwas in the past, but this is a comprehensive one and has covered all issues in an effective manner,” Jalandhari told Arab News.
Discussing its broader contours, Dr. Yaseen Zafar of the Salafi Madrasa Board said there was a misconception that the Pakistan Army’s war on religious militancy was somehow against Muslims.
“We have strongly refuted this in the fatwa, pointing out that the Pakistan Army defends the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and is therefore a Muslim army.”
“We have clarified that the army’s responsibility is to protect the country’s frontiers,” he said. “No one other than the institution of army has the right to initiate jihad.”
Zafar said that terrorists could not be stopped from committing violent acts since they were spilling blood despite knowing the teaching of the Qur’an. However, he said that the fatwa was required to prevent the misinterpretation of Islam.
“We wanted to send out a clear message that all religious scholars are against extremism and terrorism. Hopefully, this will also deoxygenate militant networks and gradually make them irrelevant,” he said.
The high got close to 1.2300 yesterday. Backing off today.
The EURUSD last week broke to levels not seen since the end of 2014. In the process, the price moved above the 50% retracement of the move down from the 2014 high. That 50% retracement comes in at 1.21662.
It was an absolute pleasure to have a long talk with Adam B. Levine about the concept of Value, its core meaning, how we exchange with each other with Value in mind, and how new tools of cryptocurrencies and cryptographic tokens give us options that have never existed before--and, of course, some speculation on the possibilities!
Yemen’s Ministry of Tourism has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to stop destroying the Island of Socotra today, SABA reported.
An official complaint was sent to the United Nation’s Security Council to accelerate a resolution to prevent the “occupying forces” from spoiling the natural resources on the island.
“In an unprecedented event the UAE has called [on] the people of the island to vote on a referendum of self-determination to join them, and this is the most dangerous step”, the Ministry of Tourism said.
The UAE entered Yemen in 2015 as part of the Saudi-led coalition to assist the Yemeni government with threats posed by the Iranian-backed Houthi group currently controlling the capital Sana’a. Last year the UAE began supporting Yemen’s Southern Transitional Council (STC) which calls for secession from northern Yemen. Internationally recognised President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi called out the UAE as an “occupier” and not a “liberator” last year.
Locals living in Al-Mahrah governorate, a territory bordering Oman have voiced concerns over a Saudi-contingent force entering its territory late last year. Tensions erupted as Saudi Arabia’s forces demanded the control over Al-Mahrah’s airport and ports. The Al-Mahrah military forces denied access until the Al-Mahrah security committee and tribal leaders were required to step in and mediate the tension.
In early January Saudi Arabia deployed additional forces to increase its presence in Al-Mahrah governorate.
NEW DELHI: India will buy more than 160,000 guns worth $553 million for troops on its disputed, high-altitude borders, the defense ministry said on Tuesday.
The defense acquisition council cleared the purchase of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines for 35 billion rupees ($553 million) in a meeting chaired by Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The weapons will be bought to “enable the defense forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders,” the ministry said in a statement.
New Delhi has signed several big-ticket defense deals since Prime Minister Narendra Modi stormed to power in 2014.
India — the world’s largest defense importer — has been investing tens of billions in updating its Soviet-era military hardware to counter long-standing territorial disputes with its nuclear-armed neighbors China and Pakistan.
India and China fought a brief war in 1962 over their border and last year were involved in a months-long showdown over a disputed Himalayan plateau.
India is also mired in conflict in the Himalayan region of Kashmir where roughly 500,000 soldiers are deployed.
New Delhi accuses Islamabad of sending “terrorists” across the border — one of the most heavily militarised in the world — to fight security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947, with both claiming the territory in its entirety.
India has fought three wars against Pakistan, two of them over the control of Kashmir.
The lawyer of detained Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi has slammed the conduct of the Israeli occupation authorities, in a military court hearing Monday.
Gaby Lasky told the court that Israeli authorities are trampling all over “international law principles such as those stemming from the Convention on the Rights of the Child…and do not think about ‘what is in the best interests’ of minors”.
According to Lasky, reported The Jerusalem Post, Israeli occupation laws “defining incitement for Palestinians infringe on their right to free speech, adding that settlers who shove soldiers or throw rocks at them and police are treated far more leniently”.
In addition, the lawyer noted how Tamimi was detained at 4am during a raid of her house, even though the Israeli army had not arrested her after the incidents for which she is now being indicted.
Lasky pointed out that, until December 15, there had been no witnesses against Tamimi for the alleged stone-throwing incidents she has been accused of by the military prosecutors, only for the Israeli army to suddenly find 41 witnesses.
Tamimi’s lawyer also noted that 30 minutes of the interrogation, “which one could see on video, had been left out of the interrogation’s written transcript”.
ISLAMABAD: The Saudi-Pakistan Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) met in Islamabad on Tuesday to boost economic, investment and trade cooperation, the Pakistani government said.
Attendees included senior officials from various ministries of both countries, and the Saudi delegation was led by Commerce and Investment Minister Dr. Majed Al-Qassabi, said Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal.
Both sides agreed to simplify business-to-business interaction. Some 90 percent of Pakistan’s imports from Saudi Arabia are oil and petroleum products. Annual bilateral trade is around $2.5 billion, the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh said last year.
Madinah, SAUDI ARABIA: The Holy City of Madinah experienced a 2.5 mag earthquake on Tuesday, engineer Hani Zahran, head of the Earthquake and Volcano Detection Center told Arab News.
The center of the earthquake was 14km north-west of Madinah at a depth of 7km below the surface.
A tweet from the Saudi Arabian Geological Survey:
سجلت محطات الرصد الزلزالي التابعة للهيئة هزة أرضية ظهر اليوم 29 ربيع الآخر 1439 هـ الموافق 16 يناير 2018 م الساعة الثانية وتسع وخمسون دقيقة بالتوقيت المحلي بقوة 2.5 درجة على مقياس ريختر وتبعد مسافة 14 كم شمال غرب المدينة المنورة، وتم الشعور بالهزة في المناطق القريبة من الهزة.