Hundreds of migrants enter Spain from Morocco

Migrants sit on the ground after storming a fence to enter the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, Spain. (AP Photo/Jesus Moron)
Updated 17 February 2017
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Hundreds of migrants enter Spain from Morocco

MADRID: Hundreds of migrants stormed the border between Morocco and Spain at Ceuta on Friday, days after Morocco warned the EU of fresh migrant trouble following a row over a trade deal.
The Spanish civil guard — or paramilitary police — told AFP that “several hundred” migrants had stormed the border fence into the Spanish North African territory and that some had been injured.
Three officers were hurt while trying to keep the migrants back, a civil guard spoeksman said.
Footage shot by the local Faro de Ceuta television showed dozens of euphoric migrants wandering the streets of the seaside enclave, ecstatic to have finally crossed into a European Union state.
“I love you Mamma, long live Spain,” shouted one young African draped in a blue EU flag. “Libertad, libertad” (freedom), shouted another.
Ceuta and Melilla, also a Spanish territory in North Africa, have the EU’s only land borders with Africa, so are entry points for migrants who either climbing the border fence, swim along the coast or hide in vehicles.
Emergency services said on Twitter that 400 people were receiving assistance from the Spanish Red Cross.


The massive entry, one of the biggest since the border barrier was reinforced in 2005, comes amid a dispute between Morocco and the EU over the interpretation of a free trade farm and fishing deal.
In a late 2016 ruling, an EU court said the deal did not apply to the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled by Rabat where the Polisario Front is fighting for independence.
The court said this was because the status of the disputed territory remained unclear according to the international community.
The 28-nation bloc did not recognize it as part of Morocco.
The ruling opened the way for the Polisario Front and its supporters to contest trade in products from the Western Sahara between Morocco and the 28 EU states.
The decision angered Morocco, which in a warning on February 7 suggested it could lead to “a new flow of migration” toward Europe and place the continent “at risk.”
The last such massive attempt took place on New Year’s Day when more than 1,000 migrants tried to jump a high double fence between Morocco and Ceuta in a violent assault that saw one officer lose an eye.
The enclave has been ringed by a double wire fence that is eight kilometers (five miles) long. The six-meter (20-foot) high fence also has rolls of barbed wire.


Philippines gives Australian nun 30 days to leave country

Updated 1 min 54 sec ago
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Philippines gives Australian nun 30 days to leave country

CANBERRA, Australia: The Philippines on Wednesday canceled an Australian nun’s missionary visa for engaging in political activity and gave her 30 days to leave the country, though she said she still hoped she could explain her mission and have the decision reconsidered.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered an investigation into 71-year-old Sister Patricia Fox as an “undesirable” foreigner.
The Bureau of Immigration’s board of commissioners had canceled Fox’s visa and ordered her to leave due to “her involvement in partisan political activities,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.
“She (Fox) was found to have engaged in activities that are not allowed under the terms and conditions of her visa,” Morente said.
Fox’s visa “granted her only the privilege to engage in missionary work and not in political activities,” he added.
Fox is a coordinator of a Philippine congregation of Roman Catholic nuns called Notre Dame de Sion and has lived in the Philippines for almost 30 years.
Fox said she was surprised by the decision that she only heard of through the media.
“I was surprised as I had thought the process was that I would have 10 days to put in a counter affidavit to answer the charges,” Fox said in a statement.
“I am very sad that the decision at present is that I leave the Philippines,” she added.
She still held out hope that the authorities would change their minds.
“As a Christian, believing that our mission is to bring God’s Kingdom to the here and now, I couldn’t help but to get involved both with projects, such as training in organic farming, to uplift the livelihood of the farmers, but also to advocate with them for their rights to land, livelihood, peace, justice and security, all universal human rights which the church sees as integral to her mission,” Fox said.
“It seems this is what has brought me into conflict with the Philippine government,” Fox added. “I am still hoping for a chance to explain how I see my mission as a religious sister and maybe the decision can be reconsidered.”
She said on Monday that she was taken from her house last week and detained at the Bureau of Immigration in Manila for almost 24 hours.
“They ordered an investigation for disorderly conduct. I was laughing, saying I have a disorderly room, but I don’t know about disorderly conduct,” Fox told Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“For me, it is part of my mission as a Catholic sister to stand beside those whose human rights have been violated, who are asking for help,” she added.
Fox had taken part in rallies demanding the release of political prisoners and urging Philippine authorities to respect human rights.