EU’s Tusk cancels Mideast trip due to Brexit crunch

President of the European Council Donald Tusk arrives at a press conference at Government buildings in Dublin, Ireland, Dec. 1, 2017. (Reuters/Clodagh Kilcoyne)
Updated 04 December 2017
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EU’s Tusk cancels Mideast trip due to Brexit crunch

BRUSSELS: European Council President Donald Tusk canceled a trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories planned for this week due to a “critical moment” in Brexit negotiations, an EU official said on Monday.
Tusk, who scheduled a meeting in Brussels at short notice on Monday with British Prime Minister Theresa May, will chair an EU summit next week that London hopes will give the go-ahead to opening talks on post-Brexit trade relations.
On Wednesday, Tusk had been due to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.


British boat rescues migrants trying to cross Channel

Updated 18 February 2019
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British boat rescues migrants trying to cross Channel

  • British border officials have picked up 34 people who were trying to cross the English Channel in a small boat
  • The Home Office said the passengers are thought to be migrants and their nationalities were not known yet

LONDON: A British boat rescued 34 migrants crossing the Channel aboard a small motorised boat on Monday, Britain's interior ministry said.
"Today Border Force responded to an incident in the Channel involving a small boat containing 34 people," the ministry said in a statement.
"The group were brought to Dover and have been transferred to immigration officials for interview," it added, saying that men, women and children were on board and that three men were arrested on suspicion of immigration offences.
French authorities earlier said that "a fishing boat gave the alarm shortly after 8:00 am (0700 GMT)" after spotting the boat off the tip of northern France.
French navy, police and customs launched a helicopter, a tug boat and three fast vessels, while sea rescue services also tried to rescue the migrants.
By the time they reached the migrants' location, however, "they had crossed over to the English side" of the Channel where they were picked up by a British vessel, said the regional authority in northern France.
Two British Border Force cutters and a coastal patrol vessel were involved in the rescue, according to UK authorities.
Some 500 people -- most of them over the last two months of 2018 -- attempted to cross the Channel to Britain last year, compared with just 13 known attempts in 2017.
French interior ministry figures show 276 people successfully reached British waters last year.
London in December dispatched a navy ship to help coastguard boats watch over the 21 miles (33 kilometres) of sea that separate France and Britain at its narrowest point.
France also responded by announcing broader surveillance measures in early January.
The number of Channel crossings was just a tiny fraction of the 55,756 successful attempts made across the Mediterranean to Spain that were recorded by the UN's refugee agency in 2018.