UK treating rise in migrant Channel crossings as ‘major incident’

In this file photo, a migrant woman feeds her baby after being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea. Dozens of migrants are now trying to cross from mainland Europe into the UK via the Channel. (AP/File photo)
Updated 28 December 2018
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UK treating rise in migrant Channel crossings as ‘major incident’

  • In the latest incidents, eight Iranian men were spotted in a small boat near the busy port of Dover at around 9am local time
  • Home Secretary Sajid Javid held a conference call Friday with key officials

LONDON: Britain is treating the spike in migrants trying to cross the Channel in small boats as “a major incident,” its interior ministry said on Friday.
The move follows the interception of two more vessels carrying 12 migrants off the southeast English coast — the latest in a sharp increase in such cases over the Christmas week.
In the latest incidents, eight Iranian men were spotted in a small boat near the busy port of Dover at around 9am local time, and brought ashore for medical assessments and immigration interviews.
About six hours earlier, border officials detained a Syrian and three Iranians encountered on a dinghy in a similar area.
Interior Minister Sajid Javid held a conference call Friday with key officials, and has asked for an urgent call with his French counterpart this weekend, according to the ministry.
He has appointed a commander to oversee the response to the incidents and asked for daily updates, it said.
Javid is also assessing whether to deploy additional border enforcement vessels in the Channel amid fears it could encourage more people to try to make the crossing, the ministry added.
Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes will visit Dover on Saturday to discuss the situation on the ground with border officials.
On Thursday she called the rising number of migrant crossings “deeply concerning,” following the discovery of 23 Iranians in three locations in Kent.
Attempts to cross the English Channel — one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes — have been increasing since October, with authorities on both sides struggling to stop them.


Merkel suffers new trembling spell on eve of G20

Updated 27 June 2019
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Merkel suffers new trembling spell on eve of G20

  • The shaking went on for two minutes, according to a DPA photographer who was present at the event
  • Her previous bout of shaking last Tuesday had been blamed on dehydration on a hot summer’s day

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday suffered another episode of uncontrolled trembling, a week after a similar incident that sparked questions about her health.
The latest lapse came hours before Merkel was due to board a plane for the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.
The German leader began to tremble as she stood next to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was giving a speech at a ceremony to formally appoint a new justice minister.
The shaking went on for two minutes, according to a DPA photographer who was present at the event.
Merkel folded her arms visibly in a bid to stop the trembling.
She only finally brought it under control once she was able to take a few steps.
She was offered a glass of water but turned it down.
Her previous bout of shaking last Tuesday had been blamed on dehydration on a hot summer’s day.
Despite the latest incident, a German government spokesman said Merkel would not be canceling any appointments on Thursday and Friday.
“The chancellor is well,” he said, adding that she will be flying as planned to Osaka for the G20 summit.
Merkel, frequently called the European Union’s most influential leader and the most powerful woman in the world, turns 65 next month.
She has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021.
There were brief concerns about her health in 2014 when she was taken ill during a television interview. The broadcast was briefly interrupted when she experienced a drop in blood pressure.
Her spokesman Steffen Seibert explained at the time the leader did not feel well for a moment, then ate and drank something and continued the interview.