Two-thirds of Albanian migrants with electronic tags in UK have removed devices: Home Office

Two-thirds of Albanian migrants with electronic tags in UK have removed devices: Home Office
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Updated 17 January 2023

Two-thirds of Albanian migrants with electronic tags in UK have removed devices: Home Office

Two-thirds of Albanian migrants with electronic tags in UK have removed devices: Home Office
  • Of the 284 migrants who were handed electronic tags since June last year, 204 were Albanian

LONDON: Two-thirds of Albanian migrants in the UK with mandated electronic tags have disabled the devices to evade authorities, The Telegraph reported.

Of the 284 migrants who were handed electronic tags since June last year, 204 were Albanian, Home Office data shows, and 65 percent of these were subsequently categorized as “noncompliant” after they violated tagging conditions, including disabling or removing the devices.

Sources told The Telegraph that many of the Albanian migrants were unconcerned with breaching tag rules because they traveled to the UK for economic opportunity rather than to claim asylum.

Many Albanians have subsequently entered the black economy and drug trade, including several who posted guides on social media showing other migrants how to disable the electronic ankle tags.

This comes amid a record surge in Albanians crossing the English Channel. In 2022, 46,000 migrants who crossed into Britain were Albanian, up from 800 the previous year.

An Albanian source told The Telegraph: “They don’t care if they are tagged. In order to avoid deportation, they go underground and remove the tags.”

A UK probation spokesperson said: “Those who tamper with tags are reported instantly thanks to sophisticated safety measures and face going back to court or prison if they do.”


DP World launches partnership to get African business moving

DP World launches partnership to get African business moving
Updated 4 min 38 sec ago

DP World launches partnership to get African business moving

DP World launches partnership to get African business moving
  • The partnership aims to assist closing the gap in unmet demand for working capital in Africa

DUBAI: Dubai-based DP World has teamed up with the largest bank in Africa by assets to offer new trade finance solutions, Emirates News Agency reported on Monday. 

African businesses seeking trade finance will now be able to receive working capital from Standard Bank through the DP World Trade Finance platform.

The partnership aims to assist closing the gap in unmet demand for working capital in Africa.

DP World Trade Finance connects businesses with financial institutions while also providing trade finance facilities. Customers can apply for credit on the company's digital platform, and it will offer them with the best options from international financiers that would otherwise be out of their reach.

“DP World exists to make the world’s trade flow better and this partnership with Standard Bank is testament to that goal,” DP World’s Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said. 

“Africa is a key market for us, with this partnership complementing our ongoing investment and development across the continent. 

“Our recent acquisition of Imperial Logistics allowed us to enhance our logistics capabilities in Africa. 

“With the addition of DP World Trade Finance into our offerings, we aim to support African businesses of all sizes for their working capital needs. 

“Together with Standard Bank, we will help African businesses go from strength to strength and grow their exports to new markets.”

DP World Financial Services Senior Executive Officer Sinan Ozcan added: “Standard Bank joining the DP World Trade Finance platform is great news for businesses across Africa. 

“DP World offers Standard Bank access to data on cargo movements, enabling them to lend with confidence. 

“We in turn plan to co-lend and share risk with Standard Bank on deals made via the platform, whilst Standard Bank will be able to support the many suppliers in DP World’s ecosystem across Africa with its strong financing capabilities. 

“This ecosystem has itself been strengthened by the acquisition of Imperial Logistics by DP World in 2022. 

“Standard Bank’s strong presence across countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Mozambique will see this partnership develop further in the African market.”

Since its launch in July 2021, DP World Trade Finance has partnered with 23 financial institutions and generated more than $700 million in credit limit submissions. The company began directly lending to businesses last year.

Kenny Fihla, Chief Executive Officer, Corporate and Investment Banking at Standard Bank said: “Partnering with DP World allows us to enhance how we facilitate cross-border transactions in growing key trade corridors.”
 


French flair meets Saudi style at Riyadh event

French flair meets Saudi style at Riyadh event
Updated 37 min 47 sec ago

French flair meets Saudi style at Riyadh event

French flair meets Saudi style at Riyadh event
  • Two-day event at L’Art Pur in Riyadh opened doors for conversations and cultural exchange in the world of fashion

RIYADH: The Saudi Fashion Commission teamed up with the French Embassy and Alliance Francaise for an event in L’Art Pur in Riyadh.

The two-day France & Fashion event on Saturday and Sunday gathered fashion fans for exhibitions, panel discussions, and training workshops with leading French fashion experts.

Ambassador of France Ludovic Pouille and CEO of the Fashion Commission Burak Cakmak attended the official opening.;

“This is why the French Embassy wanted to bring to Saudi Arabia, French talents from embroidery, fashion history, creation, and training,” said Pouille.

“This is a unique moment to gather French and Saudi experts, at a very special time, when Saudi designers are now growing, and we can see their popularity inside and outside of Saudi Arabia.”

The event included workshops for aspiring fashion designers. (AN photo)

The Fashion Commission, established two years ago, has provided increased support for local designers with opportunities and initiatives to reach a global audience.

Cakmak said: “We are happy to see that our efforts in training and education are now going beyond and countries like France are very interested in supporting talent within Saudi Arabia.”

FASTFACTS

• The two-day France & Fashion event gathered fashion fans for exhibitions, panel discussions, and training workshops with leading French fashion experts.

• Saudi Arabia’s Fashion Commission, established two years ago, has provided increased support for local designers with opportunities and initiatives to reach a global audience.

The event began with a presentation by Barbara Jeauffroy, the associate curator of the Christian Dior Museum on the early years of one of French fashion’s biggest icons.

“Dior, a museum, a story” revisited the designer’s childhood and explored his parents’ grand villa and the influence it had on his designs.

The event included workshops for aspiring fashion designers. (AN photo)

Panel discussions were led by Saudi fashion designers including Mona Alshebil, Arwa Alammari, Haifa AlHumaid and Bander Hawsawi, and leading French fashion experts including professors and directors from the Institut Francais de la Mode, and Nadia Albertini, the French embroiderer and historian.

Panelists considered the Kingdom’s place in the global fashion industry, its cultural influence on local designs, female participation and the future of fashion. Challenges and opportunities for designers, technology and social media were also topics.

“I believe this is the perfect place, the perfect timing for anybody, especially women to be in Saudi Arabia,” said Alshebil. “Everybody is rooting for us, everybody is helping us, the government, the Fashion Commission, the population.”

This is a unique moment to gather French and Saudi experts ... when Saudi designers are now growing, and we can see their popularity inside and outside of Saudi Arabia.

Ludovic Pouille, Ambassador of France

Alammari said: “For a fashion industry to succeed, there should be an ecosystem, and this has started two years ago, with fashion schools, and the updated curriculum of fashion majors in universities, like in PNU.

“We need more know-how. We have the minds, we have the vision, but we need to learn more about the know-how and the new technology in the industry.”

We are happy to see that our efforts are now going beyond and countries like France are interested in supporting talent within Saudi Arabia, says
Burak Cakmak CEO of the Fashion Commission

Speaking on the international perception of the Saudi fashion industry, IFM associate professor Jean-Marc Chauve said: “We can see now in magazine articles the Saudi fashion designers and their collections and brands, which didn’t exist five years ago … we didn’t hear about Saudi fashion designers then.”

The event offered training for designers, including how to structure a fashion collection, creating a brand and embroidery.

As part of its ongoing efforts to support the local designers and the Saudi fashion industry, the Fashion Commission will be exhibiting 100 Saudi brands to Paris on June 20.

“We will have a big moment that is going to spread for two weeks, with pop-ups, fashion shows, and other experiences highlighting the best out of Saudi Arabia in the heart of the fashion capital in Paris to a global audience,” said Cakmak.

Nodah, a visitor, said that the event was well organized and the talk on the Dior museum “full of useful information.”

 


Desert wells help Iraq harvest bumper wheat crop as rivers dry

Desert wells help Iraq harvest bumper wheat crop as rivers dry
Updated 6 min 30 sec ago

Desert wells help Iraq harvest bumper wheat crop as rivers dry

Desert wells help Iraq harvest bumper wheat crop as rivers dry
  • Drilling the desert for water could provide immediate relief in a country that the UN says is among the five nations most vulnerable to climate change in the world

KARBALA: Amin Salah used to grow wheat near the banks of Iraq’s Euphrates River, but persistent droughts have led him to switch to farming unlikely new grounds deep in the harsh desert of Najaf.

Watered by sprinklers fitted to wells dug more than 100 meters under the sun-bleached earth, his land now produces double what it did compared to when he relied on ancient methods that flood fields with river water, he said.

“It’s a golden year, a golden season,” said Salah, wearing a traditional white robe and reflective sunglasses as he walked his field and noted the benefits: less money and water spent, as well as a bigger and quality harvest.

Iraq’s government says this officially supported shift has allowed the country to double areas cultivated with wheat this year to some 8.5 million dunams (850,000 hectares) compared to roughly 4 million (400,000 hectares) last year.

Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Mohammad Al-Khuzai said that has translated into a harvest of around 4 million tons of wheat — the largest in years and 80 percent of the needs of a country with a 43 million population who eat bread at almost every meal. The shift in methods is driven by necessity: Iraq’s two main rivers, along which civilization emerged thousands of years ago, have lost more than half of their flow due to reduced rainfall, overuse and upstream dams.

Drilling the desert for water could provide immediate relief in a country that the UN says is among the five nations most vulnerable to climate change in the world, and where climate-induced migration has already begun. However, heavy use of the wells could bleed desert aquifers dry, agricultural experts and environmentalists warn. Some farmers have already noted a drop in the water table.

Iraq has more than 110,000 wells, but only a fraction, some 10,000, are fitted with modern systems that prevent water waste, said Karim Bilal, an agricultural engineer and former director of Najaf’s agriculture directorate.

Hadi Fathallah, director of public policy at consultancy Namea Group who has researched agriculture in Iraq said: “It’s very desperate to go to desert wells.

“You are plugging into aquifers that have been gathering water for thousands of years and will disappear in a few years if used this way,” he said.

Iraq should focus on modernizing agriculture, engage in water diplomacy with its neighbors to increase river flows and revitalize agricultural areas that have not recovered from war, Fathallah said.

Al-Khuzai said the government was focused on sustainable use, supporting the installation of drip and sprinkler systems.

Large institutions have bought into the shift to desert wells: The body that oversees the Imam Hussein Holy Shrine now farms 400 hectares of wheat in the desert — 55 km from the shrine — up from 100 hectares in 2019.

“We have turned the desert into a green oasis,” declared Qahtan Awaz, an agricultural official with the shrine, though he noted that the water table had sunk between 12 to 15 meters since last season.

Behind him, a pair of large green US-made harvesters pulled in wheat grown in large circles, then funneled processed grain into waiting trucks for delivery to government silos.

From there, much of the grain enters one of the largest government-run food programs in the world, which provides most families with monthly rations. 

Crop failures in 2021 and 2022 driven by drought, and a surge in food prices due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put the scheme under pressure, which the government wants to avoid.

“The government are trying to alleviate a lot of pain,” Fathallah said. 

“But this is not adaptation to climate change. It’s a kind of morphine.” 


Egypt’s El-Sisi, Turkiye’s Erdogan agree on reinstating ambassadors

Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File/AFP)
Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 min 6 sec ago

Egypt’s El-Sisi, Turkiye’s Erdogan agree on reinstating ambassadors

Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (File/AFP)

CAIRO: Egypt President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on “the immediate start of upgrading diplomatic relations, exchanging ambassadors,” Egypt’s presidency said in a statement on Monday.
El-Sisi spoke with Erdogan in a phone call to congratulate him on his presidential win.


Turkiye’s foreign policy under scrutiny as Erdogan takes power

Turkiye’s foreign policy under scrutiny as Erdogan takes power
Updated 50 min 54 sec ago

Turkiye’s foreign policy under scrutiny as Erdogan takes power

Turkiye’s foreign policy under scrutiny as Erdogan takes power
  • President has to navigate US push for Russia sanctions, NATO enlargement, say analysts
  • Energy, arms deals, immigration likely to be govt’s key focus

ANKARA: It is perhaps no secret in which direction Turkiye’s foreign policy will be moving with the incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdogan winning another five-year term this past Sunday – which means a continuation of strategies the long-serving leader has championed in the past.

According to Ozgur Unluhisarcikli, Ankara office director of the German Marshall Fund of the US, Erdogan’s main priority would be to ensure the continued flow of much-needed cash from Russia and Gulf countries, while avoiding friction with Europe and the US so that he can attract investments from the West.

“While Turkiye’s relations with neither Europe nor the US can be expected to be put back on track, they can at least be stabilized as both Erdogan and his Western counterparts would benefit from this,” he told Arab News recently.

“The congratulatory messages from Europe and the United States suggest that this is also the tendency in the West.”

President Joe Biden congratulated Erdogan on his reelection, and tweeted: “I look forward to continuing to work together as NATO Allies on bilateral issues and shared global challenges.”

For Unluhisarcikli, Erdogan will also need to make tough decisions early on in his third term as president.

“The US, which has shown restraint so far due to the elections in Turkiye will press its points on Russia sanctions and NATO enlargement more strongly in the period ahead. Erdogan’s decisions on these issues and developments in the US about Turkiye’s request to purchase new F-16s could pivot the Turkiye-US relationship in any direction,” he said.

The administration of Donald Trump removed Turkiye from the F-35 fifth-generation jet program in 2019 over its acquisition of the Russian S-400 missile system.

Experts also underline that with Erdogan winning, Turkiye will continue its recent efforts to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees to zones under Turkish control in compliance with international law.

Although being met with suspicion by Washington, the normalization efforts with Syria’s President Bashar Assad are also expected to continue as Erdogan, and his new ultranationalist and anti-immigrant allies in the parliament, consider the restored ties with Syria as the only solution to send back Syrian refugees in Turkiye to their homeland.

Erdogan’s new ally, Sinan Ogan, who ran as the third presidential candidate in the first elections, then endorsed Erdogan’s candidacy in the runoff, said during his campaign that he would consider repatriating refugees by force if necessary.  

Karol Wasilewski, an analyst for 4CF The Futures Literacy Company and a founder of Krakow-based Institute for Turkiye Studies, expects continuity in Turkish diplomacy and decision-making in the short run, on the economy and foreign policy.

“Erdogan would, most likely, continue his ambiguous foreign policy in which Turkiye, on the one hand, gives its Western allies arguments that it still can be considered an ally — that’s why I won’t be surprised if Erdogan finally agrees on Sweden’s membership — while, on the other, decisively pushes for its interests, even when it harms NATO internal cohesion,” he told Arab News.

Following the support he received in Sunday’s elections, and having regained flexibility for his political and diplomatic maneuvers, Erdogan is also expected to make some U-turns without risking any major backlash from his constituency.

While Sweden’s accession bid has yet to be approved by Ankara, Stockholm’s membership — which has long been rejected by Erdogan, who accused the country of harboring terrorists — may also be used as a trump card for securing a commitment from the US for F-16 fighter jets ahead of NATO’s next summit this July when Erdogan and Biden are expected to meet.

The admission of Sweden by Turkiye would help the US administration in pushing for F-16 sales through Congress.

But Erdogan’s uneasiness with the US support for Syrian Kurdish militia — People’s Protection Units or YPG — is unlikely to change under his third term as his government considers the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party in Turkiye.

On Friday, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said that after the elections, “whoever pursues a pro-American policy in Turkiye will be labeled a traitor,” hinting at a possible transactional relationship with Washington in the post-elections period.

For Wasilewski, Erdogan’s win may serve as another chance for Euro-Asianist segments in Turkiye to strengthen themselves in the security apparatus.

“In (a) five-year perspective, this may be something that would cast (an) even bigger shadow over Turkiye’s relationship with the West,” he said.

Another dimension of the post-election process would be the Western allies’ position toward Turkiye now that the election dust has settled.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the US decided to increase pressure on Turkiye on areas that seems vital to their interests, such as sanctions on Russia,” he said.

“The way that Erdogan responds to this possible pressure will be one (other) factor determining Turkiye’s relations with the West,” he added.

In terms of Turkish-Russian relations, Ankara is expected to continue its current political and economic relations with the Kremlin as well as deepen its cooperation in the energy field, with the help of the personal rapport between the two leaders.

Close ties with Russia as well as the Gulf will also help Erdogan in achieving his goal of rendering the Turkish economy more independent from Western markets. Ankara has not joined Western sanctions against Russia, but continues to provide military support to Kyiv.

Turkiye’s $20 billion first nuclear power plant, that will be owned for the first 25 years by the manufacturer, Russian energy company Rosatom, was recently inaugurated in a virtual ceremony. And being the largest nuclear construction project in the world, Russian leader Vladimir Putin said the plant deepened Turkish-Russian ties.

Russia also delayed a portion of Turkiye’s natural gas payments in early May ahead of the general elections.

Attracting high numbers of tourists from Russia are also required to help the Turkish economy keep afloat during summertime, while Erdogan will also remain in campaign mode before Turkiye’s next polls, the municipal elections scheduled for March next year.

“Putin is well aware that close ties between Russia and Turkiye are vital to his interests, especially after Russian aggression on Ukraine, and will continue to put a great effort to preserve them in a good shape,” said Wasilewski.

“Feeding Turkiye’s dreams of being the gas hub serves Erdogan’s narrative of Turkiye as a great power,” said Wasilewski.