G20 Summit defines the ‘unified’ worldwide effort to confront coronavirus

Trump said that he did not favor the option of lifting tariffs. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 March 2020

G20 Summit defines the ‘unified’ worldwide effort to confront coronavirus

  • Trump praised the virtual summit
  • The G20 leaders said they hope to raise $5 trillion to fight the pandemic

US President Donald Trump praised the G20 Emergency Summit that was hosted by Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday and carried out by teleconference.

During his daily coronavirus update at the White House, Trump said he was encouraged by the meeting and declared “we will vanquish this virus.”

He praised the virtual summit — organized by Saudi Arabia, which holds the presidency of the G20 this year — saying: “We had a great meeting. We have had a lot of different ideas. We’re working together…to discuss the problem that 151 nations have got…hopefully (coronavirus) won’t be a problem for much longer.

“We are working to stop the spread of the virus and coordinate our efforts…sharing data…it was a terrific meeting. Tremendous spirit among all of those countries.”

On Wednesday, before the teleconference, Trump said that he did not favor the option of lifting tariffs, as has been demanded by China, and that he would continue to push for “strong borders.”

“I’m very strong on borders and I don’t want people coming in here,” Trump said when asked about the G20, tariffs and borders.

Earlier, Trump said that in joining the G20 discussion he was not planning a “coordinated” strategy with other nations. “I’m not going to do anything rash or hastily. I don’t do that,” he said.

Trump’s comments contrasted his message at the G20 in June last year when he was promoting “Worldwide economic growth and prosperity” through a series of policies. He advised the attendees at the time that countries should focus on implementing pro-growth policies that will help spur their economies, such as reforming tax laws, cutting regulations and promoting currency stability. He also put great emphasis on what he called “unfair trade practices” by some countries, such as China.

During Thursday’s summit, the G20 leaders said they hope to raise $5 trillion to fight the pandemic, will share more health data and address potential trade-war disruptions.

Partisan and often angry political debate has mired the US response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus and caused some delays, including passage of an economic stimulus package to help the economy.
 


Twenty-six held over migrant lorry tragedy in Britain

Updated 8 min 13 sec ago

Twenty-six held over migrant lorry tragedy in Britain

  • The migrants — 31 men and eight women — were found dead in the truck in an industrial zone east of London in October
  • Police swooped in a series of raids around Brussels and Paris as part of a probe also involving British and Irish investigators

BRUSSELS: Police in Belgium and France have arrested 26 suspected people smugglers over the deaths of 39 Vietnamese migrants in a refrigerated truck in Britain last year.
The migrants — 31 men and eight women — were found dead in the truck in an industrial zone east of London in October, sparking an international outcry.
The driver of the lorry has already admitted manslaughter over the deaths but Tuesday’s arrests targeted the ring of smugglers suspected of organizing the migrants’ journey.
Police swooped in a series of raids around Brussels and Paris as part of a probe also involving British and Irish investigators.
In Belgium — where some of the victims stayed before their fateful journey — police held 13 people, including 11 Vietnamese nationals.
“The network set up by the smugglers is suspected of having likely transported up to several dozen people every day for several months,” Belgian federal prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday.
“The organization focused on transporting refugees from Asia, particularly from Vietnam.”
Prosecutors suspect the gang organized the transport of the Vietnamese migrants in the container where they died.
Most of those arrested in France are also Vietnamese, according to an investigation source.
The probe has discovered that the migrants who died were loaded onto the truck in northern France, and that the network continued its operations even after the tragedy, charging 15,000 to 20,000 euros to cross from France to Britain.
Even the coronavirus lockdown did not stop the gang’s smuggling activities, the source said.
The tragedy shone a spotlight on the extraordinary dangers migrants are willing to risk to reach Britain, with some paying smugglers up to $40,000 for the perilous journey.
Post-mortem tests found the victims died from lack of oxygen and overheating, and one sent a poignant text message to her family in Vietnam as she lay dying in the truck.
The victims came from impoverished and remote corners of central Vietnam, a hotspot for people willing to embark on dangerous journeys in the hope of striking it rich abroad.
Many are smuggled illegally through Russia or China, often left owing huge sums to their traffickers and ending up working on cannabis farms or in nail salons.
The driver of the lorry, Maurice Robinson of Northern Ireland, last month pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the 39 deaths.
Four other men are on trial in London over the tragedy, while another man, Ronan Hughes, is facing extradition from Ireland to Britain on 39 counts of manslaughter and one of conspiracy to commit unlawful immigration.
Hughes is accused of organizing and controlling the drivers in the trafficking operation.