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55 Cubans, Haitians nabbed in US immigration sweep

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FLORIDA, USA (CMC) — The United States Coast Guard says it has detained more than 50 migrants from Haiti and Cuba during the July 4 holiday weekend from two separate interdictions in the Caribbean Sea.

The US Coast Guard said it had received notification regarding a disabled vessel with more than 20 people aboard, 130 miles north-east of Jacksonville, Florida.

“The crew of the Coast Guard cutter Seneca was diverted to the scene and interdicted 22 Haitian migrants, 17 males, four females and one child, due to safety concerns with the vessel,” the Coast Guard said.

It said that last Saturday another notification was received, indicating that a 24-foot wooden rustic vessel was found 27 miles south of Key West, Florida.

The Coast Guard said that 33 Cuban migrants, including 27 males were detained as a result.

“The Coast Guard continues to maintain a focused and coordinated effort with multiple agency assets to interdict any attempt to dangerously and unlawfully immigrate by sea to the United States,” said Commander Michael Vega, Coast Guard 7th District enforcement branch.

“Those who are interdicted at sea attempting to illegally immigrate will be repatriated to their country in accordance with existing US immigration policy,” he added.

The US Coast Guard said about 3,027 Haitian migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US since the start of the year, compared to 2,727 Haitian migrants last year.

It also said 394 Cuban migrants have attempted to illegally enter the US as compared to 384 last year.

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Bureau of Standards lauded for 50 years of service

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) has been lauded for rendering exemplary and distinguished service over the past 50 years.

“In your five-decade history, you have been an outstanding organisation, contributing significantly to standards at the national, regional and international levels,” Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Dermon Spence, said.

He was speaking at the BSJ’s 50th anniversary celebrations launch, at the agency’s Winchester Road head office, in St Andrew, on Monday (July 15).

Noting that 50 years for any organisation “is truly a significant milestone,” Spence said it  is an opportune time for the BSJ to reflect on the journey thus far, as it looks ahead to continue its work.

The Permanent Secretary, who described the BSJ’s engagements over the years as impactful, said these have been “felt by all Jamaicans.”

These people, he added, include consumers, manufacturing and retail industries and the private and public sectors.

Spence assured that quality and standards remain “matters of serious national concern” for the ministry and, by extension, the Government.

In this regard, he said a National Quality Infrastructure (NQI) Policy has been developed to provide direction and guidelines to the various activities related to quality infrastructure.

“We will continue the efforts to safeguard the interests of both the producer and consumer with the appropriate legislative framework, and will remain committed to achieving international accord on all technical matters relating to the exchange of goods and services between one nation and another, which is the ultimate goal of standardisation,” Spence said.

Noting that the ministry “remains grateful” for the BSJ’s commitment to standardisation and quality, Spence said, “we pledge to continue to work with you as we strive to build a better Jamaica.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the BSJ’s Standards Council, Senator Matthew Samuda, highlighted the passion of the agency’s management and staff, and policymakers, in driving the Bureau’s work.

This, he noted, has been most evident in the intense advocacy and strong unyielding commitment by the various people to this end.

“This passion has served the Bureau well in the almost three decades of service given by the Rev Dr Artnel Henry, who served as the first Executive Director from 1973 up to 2000. His commitment to this fledgling scientific organisation, which certainly must be acknowledged and commended, included overseeing the expansion of the Bureau’s technical capacity and building over the years,” Senator Samuda said.

The Chairman said this eventually led to the International Organization of Standardisation (ISO) ratifying the Bureau, before any other similar organisation within the Caribbean.

“This, undoubtedly, underscores the sentiment that an organisation is only as good as its people, who live and work in it… and certainly we can say that at 50, the Bureau of Standards Jamaica is no fledgling scientific organisation,” he added.

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Today’s Horoscope — July 16, 2019

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Tuesday, July 16, 2019: This year, you often feel as though a situation will go one way but then you see that situation flip to another path. You work well in flux and will need to this year. If single, you could meet someone who makes your heart do flip-flops, but this bond will take a while to form. If you’re attached, don’t lose sight of mutual goals. Keep communication open and non-judgmental. CAPRICORN can be demanding.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): At present, you could feel as though you’re carrying the weight of life’s responsibilities. A seriousness carries you through the day; at the same time, you’re eyeing a self-generated change. Tonight: Do your thing. Stay as mellow as possible.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Be willing to take the next step. If you’re having several disagreements, detach; walk in the other party’s shoes. You’ll get a better grasp of the dynamics of an issue. As a result, resolutions will be more easily achieved. Tonight: Listen, but don’t get yourself in the middle of a lively discussion.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): You seem to have an important discussion with a partner, friend, or loved one. The results might not be what you desire because others are on edge at this point in time. You might’ve wanted a change, but not of the variety that could be suggested. Tonight: Say little. Mum would be great.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Rather than getting into a discussion or overly lively talk, defer to a loved one. You might’ve come up with an unusual and creative, yet viable idea. Still, wait a day or two before presenting it. Others might not be particularly centred. Tonight: Go with the flow.

LEO (July 23-Aug 22): How you feel and what you’re able to accomplish might be major concerns at present. Currently, your energy might be fluctuating. This situation will change in several days. Do what you must; then, decide about the rest. Tonight: Soak away stress.

VIRGO (Aug 23-Sept 22): You might have been wanting a more dynamic, creative opportunity. What might pop right now could look like the opposite. Know that you’re in a state of flux. Nothing that happens is written in stone. Tonight: Keep it light and easy.

LIBRA (Sept 23-Oct 22): Your focus surrounds your personal and domestic life. You inevitably have an agenda about what you desire. You might feel somehow threatened by today’s happenings, yet you just opened the window to possibilities. Tonight: Home is where the heart is.

SCORPIO (Oct 23-Nov 21): Even if you find that a disagreement arises, keep a conversation open. You want to stay fluid because more changes are likely; ultimately, they’ll be far better for you. Even if you want to, don’t close someone off! Tonight: Catching up on news at a favourite spot.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22-Dec 21): You could be able to see a personal matter in a different light because of what might be happening around you. Try not to get too attached to a certain path for a certain outcome. Know that there are many ways to reach that goal. Tonight: On the way home, buy a treat.

CAPRICORN (Dec 22-Jan 19): You might feel highly energised or totally drained. Today’s eclipse is in your sign and could drain you. What occurs today might not be as important as what happens in a month. Tonight: Remain upbeat.

AQUARIUS (Jan 20-Feb 18): You might not be comfortable with your feelings. You would be well-advised to do nothing and try to remain non-reactive. Given time, your perspective could change considerably. Tonight: Get as much R and R as possible.

PISCES (Feb 19-March 20): Keep your focus on a goal. You might note that friends could be volatile or extremely busy. You may choose to be there for them, but at the same time, complete what you want. Tonight: Where your friends are.

 

(c) 2019 by King Features Syndicate Inc.

 

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Trump moves to end asylum at southern border

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WASHINGTON, (AP) — Reversing decades of US policy, the Trump Administration said yesterday that it will end all asylum protection for most migrants who arrive at the US-Mexico border — the president’s most forceful attempt to block asylum claims and slash the number of people seeking refuge in America.

The new rule, expected to go into effect today, would cover countless would-be refugees, many of them fleeing violence and poverty in Central America. It is certain to face legal challenges.

According to the plan published in the Federal Register, migrants who pass through another country — in this case, Mexico — on their way to the US will be ineligible for asylum. The rule also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.

The vast majority of people affected by the rule are from Central America. But sometimes migrants from Africa, Cuba or Haiti and other countries try to come through the US-Mexico border as well.

There are some exceptions, including for victims of human trafficking and asylum-seekers who were denied protection in another country. If the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties governing how refugees are managed (though most Western countries signed them) a migrant could still apply for US asylum.

Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said yesterday that his country “does not agree with any measure that limits access to asylum”. Mexico’s asylum system is also currently overwhelmed.

Trump Administration officials say the changes are meant to close the gap between the initial asylum screening that most people pass and the final decision on asylum that most people do not win.

Attorney General William Barr said that the United States is “a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed” by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of migrants at the southern border.

He also said the rule is aimed at “economic migrants” and “those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States”.

But immigrant rights groups, religious leaders, and humanitarian groups have said the Republican Administration’s policies amount to a cruel effort to keep immigrants out of the country. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador are poor countries, often wracked by violence.

“This is yet another move to turn refugees with well-founded fears of persecution back to places where their lives are in danger — in fact the rule would deny asylum to refugees who do not apply for asylum in countries where they are in peril,” said Eleanor Acer of Human Rights First.

ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt, who has litigated some of the major challenges to the Trump Administration’s immigration policies, said the rule was unlawful and the group planned to sue.

“The rule, if upheld, would effectively eliminate asylum for those at the southern border,” he said. “But it is patently unlawful.”

US law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the US, regardless of how they arrive or cross. The crucial exception is for those who have come through a country considered to be ‘safe’, but the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined safe.”

Right now, the US has such an agreement, known as a “safe third country”, only with Canada.

Mexico and Central American countries have been considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided. Guatemalan officials were expected in Washington yesterday, but apparently a meeting between Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was cancelled amid a court challenge in Guatemala over whether the country could consent to a safe-country agreement with the US.

The new rule also will apply to the initial asylum screening, known as a “credible fear” interview, at which migrants must prove they have credible fears of returning to their home country. It applies to migrants who are arriving to the US, not those who are already in the country.

The treaties that countries must have signed according to the new rule are the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. But, for example, while Australia, France and Brazil have signed those treaties, so have Afghanistan and Libya — places the US does not consider safe.

Along with the Administration’s recent effort to send asylum seekers back over the border, Trump has tried to deny asylum to anyone crossing the border illegally and restrict who can claim asylum, and the attorney general recently tried to keep thousands of asylum seekers detained while their cases play out.

Nearly all of those efforts have been blocked by courts.

Tens of thousands of Central American migrant families cross the border each month —many claiming asylum. During the budget year for 2009, there were 35,811 asylum claims and 8,384 were granted. During 2018 budget year, there were 162,060 claims filed and 13,168 were granted.

Immigration courts are backlogged by more than 800,000 cases, meaning many people won’t have their asylum claims heard for years despite more judges being hired.

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