April 04, 2016
April 4, 2016
NEED TO KNOW
Europe's Language of Failure
What does “irregular migrant” really mean?
To European Union officials, it describes an individual who has arrived from outside the bloc without authorization, a person who, as of Monday, will likely be deported to Turkey and then maybe deported from Turkey to somewhere.
The term is part of the language of the March agreement between the EU and Turkey – the 'we'll pay you to take this problem off our hands' deal decried as “shameful” by even some European leaders.
Regardless, the designation will determine the fate of tens of thousands of refugees now on Europe's shores.
Are you an irregular migrant? That's the question now for refugees. If you are from Afghanistan or Iraq or Pakistan, probably yes. Syrians, on the other hand, well, that's going to depend. On what, no one is sure yet.
The EU often considers Afghans, Iraqis and Pakistanis as economic migrants. Syrians, however, might qualify for asylum because they are fleeing a bloody civil war. Is there violence in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan? Yes. Is there an inconsistency here? Uh huh.
There is another silver lining for Syrians: When Greece deports one Syrian refugee back to Turkey, the EU has agreed to accept another one. Don't worry if the logic in that is escaping you, too.
Let's face it, the entire situation is a mess.
Tens of thousands of refugees are stuck in northern Greece because Macedonia won't let them cross the border.
Another few thousand are trapped on Greek islands. Some are now in detention facilities where the trash is piling up. The entire situation is so disgusting that Doctors Without Borders and UNHCR pulled out of the camps in protest.
Now no one is sure how many are to be sent back, or how, or even to where. Meanwhile, in Dikili, in western Turkey, a town supposedly receiving refugees Monday had only a few tents and toilets set up as of Sunday to house these refugees.
Is this what a successfully managed refugee policy is supposed to look like?
Meanwhile, caught in the middle are the 'irregular migrants.'
One of them could be Zalmai Rahimi, 32, who speaks with an American accent due to his 11 years working with the U.S. Army. He had a thriving carpet and jewelry business he abandoned when he left Afghanistan with his wife and three sons because Taliban militants regularly threatened him and his family.
“Before it was just the Taliban in Afghanistan, now Daesh is there,” he said at a camp in northern Greece, referring to the Islamic State.
Refugees like Rahimi are usually classified as economic migrants, even though last year saw more than 11,000 deaths and injuries in Afghanistan, the highest recorded number of civilian casualties since the beginning of the war in 2001.
Turkey might then deport Rahimi to a “safe third country,” which remained undefined in the agreement, one whose silly, opaque language is designed to deliver results despite realities and maybe despite international law.
That's usually the case with such agreements, though. They are written in the language of failure, to the cadence of cowardice and constructed to be easy to hide behind until the stories of the 'irregular migrants' show them for what they are.
NEED TO KNOW
The numbers are staggering.
More than 370 journalists from around the globe sifted through 11.5 million documents to reveal how 140 politicians, including 72 current or former heads of state, had squirrelled away billions of dollars in offshore havens.
Now that’s a scoop.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the documents from the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and then coordinated reporting for the story with more than 100 other quality publications.
Whoever leaked the documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca is anonymous. But they have made powerful enemies.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's associates have allegedly tucked away $2 billion. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad and others are in on the act, too.
Powerful figures from democracies are also involved.
The late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron was allegedly hiding money offshore. Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson bought an offshore company with his wife in 2007. But he didn’t declare that asset when he took office in 2009.
The treasure trove of documents could be the biggest ever leaked to the press. This story is not over.
Nagorno-Karabakh: Flaring Again
Azerbaijan put a stop to the sudden outburst of fighting that erupted this weekend between it and long-time rival Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
It likely won't be the last time these two come to blows over the long-disputed territory, however – Azerbaijan announced it would hold onto areas its forces seized in the fighting.
The outbreak of violence, the worst since the 1994 armistice, killed 30. No one is sure if it means a new phase of war between the long-time foes.
Although Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan, it has received significant support from Armenia since the 1994 armistice that ended an ethnic war between predominantly Christian Armenia and Muslim Azerbaijan.
MH370 Remains Found?
Officials have taken in debris found on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius for investigation. The reason: to determine whether it came from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.
If true, it would be the third piece of MH370 found in a matter of weeks following a two-year search for the missing aircraft—two other pieces of debris found along the coast of Mozambique two weeks ago “were almost certainly from the aircraft” according to officials.
Australian authorities, who are leading the search for the missing aircraft, said that officials from Malaysia and Mauritius were currently arranging an examination.
Authorities had predicted that any debris from the plane that isn't on the ocean floor would eventually be carried by currents to the east coast of Africa.
The Viking Mystery
It's a millennium-old mystery: How far did the Vikings go into North America?
Researchers now say they may be on the way to solving it.
In the 1960s, the first Norse site in North America was found at L'Anse Aux Meadows, near the northernmost tip of Newfoundland. Now researchers believe they have found a second site 600 kilometers to the south.
Anthropologist Sarah Parcak told the CBC that her team has found evidence using satellite imagery of a Norse-like hearth and also early bog iron in an area called Point Rosee. The Norse were the only ones extracting iron from bogs 1,000 years ago.
“It's either a new culture that looks and presents exactly like Norse, or Norse,” she told the Canadian broadcaster.
Archeologists maintain that Vikings may have used their L'Anse aux Meadows settlement as a base camp for expeditions south before abandoning it 1,000 years ago. No one is sure why.
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Compiled and written by Jabeen Bhatti
Mon, 04/04/2016 – 06:02