Israel joins US, others in rejecting UN migration pact

The UN’s Global Compact for Migration is set to be adopted during a conference in Morocco on December 10-11. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Israel joins US, others in rejecting UN migration pact

  • The US quit talks on the pact last December
  • Its final text was agreed in July after 18 months of negotiations and lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration

JERUSALEM: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday Israel would join the US and other countries in rejecting a UN migration pact set to be adopted in December.

“I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to announce that Israel will not accede to, and will not sign, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

“We are committed to guarding our borders against illegal migrants. This is what we have done and this is what we will continue to do.”

The UN’s Global Compact for Migration, aimed at boosting cooperation to address the world’s growing number of migrants, is set to be adopted during a conference in Morocco on December 10-11.

Its final text was agreed in July after 18 months of negotiations and lays out 23 objectives to open up legal migration and better manage migratory flows as the number of people on the move worldwide has increased to 250 million, or 3 percent of the world’s population.

The US quit talks on the pact last December, Hungary's anti-immigration Prime Minister Viktor Orban rejected it in July and Austria followed suit in October.

The Czech Republic said it will reject the pact and Bulgaria last week said it might follow suit.

Israel’s government has come under political pressure over the presence of some 42,000 African migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, and has sought to expel many of them.

Most of the migrants arrived in Israel after 2007, mainly through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Security along the once porous border has since been significantly tightened with the construction of a barrier fence.

Many of the migrants settled in poor neighborhoods in the coastal city of Tel Aviv, the country’s economic capital.


41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

Updated 16 December 2018
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41 people injured in Japan restaurant explosion

  • The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido
  • Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition

TOKYO: More than 40 people were injured in an explosion Sunday night at a restaurant in northern Japan, police said.
The explosion occurred in Sapporo, the capital city of Japan’s northern main island of Hokkaido.
Police said 41 people were injured, most of them mildly, though one was in serious condition. They were rushed to nearby hospitals for treatment.
The cause of the explosion, which occurred at a two-story restaurant in Sapporo’s Toyohira district, is under investigation, police said, adding that they had no further details.
TV footage from Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed the restaurant in flames, with debris scattered on the ground.
The footage showed gray smoke billowing from the restaurant as dozens of firefighters poured water onto the building, which was charred and nearly collapsing. Windows on an apartment building next door were broken.
A witness told NHK that he smelled gas after the sound of an explosion.