Home' Greymouth Star : September 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
10 - Friday, September 25, 2015
EU reveals plan to end refugee crisis
European Union plans to
tackle the worst refugee crisis
since World War Two include a
push to tighten external border
controls and moves to increase
assistance to refugees outside the
There are also plans to set up
reception centres to separate
genuine refugees fleeing war
from economic migrants, who
will be sent back home.
There will be a list of “safe
countries of origin” to which
migrants can be returned because
they do not risk persecution or
war there, and therefore cannot
qualify as refugees.
EU leaders at an emergency
summit yesterday called for
tackling “the dramatic situation
at our external borders” by
strengthening controls at the
The bloc aims to ask member
States to provide extra staff
and equipment to Frontex, the
EU border control agency, the
European Asylum Support
Office (EASO) and Europol, the
European police agency.
The 28 leaders also agreed to
increase aid to Syria’s neighbours,
which will include channelling
$US1 billion ($1.57 billion)
from the United States through
United Nations agencies to help
EU foreign policy chief
Federica Mogherini says one
reason refugees headed to Europe
is because funding had been cut
in camps in the Middle East that
house people fleeing Syria.
The European Commission,
the EU’s executive, has proposed
a 1.8 billion euros ($3.18 billion)
trust fund for Africa which
would be financed by available
money in the EU budget as well
as voluntary contributions from
The goal is to have the fund
fully established in time for the
EU-African Union summit in
Malta on November 11-12.
Until now, only France and
Spain have pitched in, EU
The fund is aimed at tackling
the root causes of irregular
migration and displaced persons
Under the plan, the EU will
help front-line member States
like Greece and Italy set up
“ hot spots” — reception centres
where new arrivals are registered
and fingerprinted in order to
determine who is a bona fide
refugee and who is a migrant
seeking economic opportunity.
Those who warrant refugee
status may be relocated to other
EU countries to ease the burden
on the front-line States, while
those defined as economic
migrants will be sent back to
their countries of origin.
European Council president
Donald Tusk, who hosted the
summit, said the hot spots
should be operational by the end
The European Commission
has proposed a list of safe
and Herzegovina, the former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia,
Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and
Turkey. — AFP
Mina (Saudi Arabia)
At least 717 pilgrims from around the world
were killed overnight in a crush outside the
Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi authorities
said, in the worst disaster to strike the annual
haj pilgrimage for 25 years.
At least 863 others were injured. Saudi King
Salman said he had ordered a review of haj plans
after the disaster, in which two large groups
of pilgrims arrived together at a crossroads in
Mina, a few kilometres east of Mecca, on their
way to performing the “stoning of the devil”
ritual at Jamarat.
The disaster was the worst to occur at the
pilgrimage since July 1990, when 1426 pilgrims
suffocated in a tunnel near Mecca. Both
incidents occurred on Eid al-Adha (Feast of the
Sacrifice), Islam’s most important feast and the
day of the stoning ritual.
Photographs showed pilgrims lying on
stretchers while emergency workers in high-
visibility jackets lifted them into an ambulance.
Other images showed bodies of men in white
haj garments piled on top of each other. Some
corpses bore visible injuries.
Unverified video posted on Twitter showed
pilgrims and rescue workers trying to revive
The haj, the world’s largest annual gathering of
people, has been the scene of numerous deadly
stampedes, fires and riots in the past, but their
frequency has been greatly reduced in recent
years as the government spent billions of dollars
upgrading and expanding haj infrastructure and
crowd control technology.
Safety during haj is a politically sensitive issue
for the kingdom’s ruling Al Saud dynasty, which
presents itself internationally as the guardian
of orthodox Islam and custodian of its holiest
places in Mecca and Medina.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali
Khamenei, said the Saudi government should
accept responsibility for the crush, in which
more than 100 Iranian nationals were reported
to have died.
“The Saudi government should accept the
responsibility of this sorrowful incident.
Mismanagement and improper actions have
caused this catastrophe,” Khamenei said in a
statement published on his website.
King Salman offered deep condolences.
“ We have instructed concerned authorities to
review the operations plan (and) to raise the
level of organisation and management to ensure
that the guests of God perform their rituals in
comfort and ease,” the monarch said.
Interior Ministry spokesman Mansour
Turki said the investigation would look into
what caused an unusual mass of pilgrims to
congregate at the location of the disaster. “ The
reason for that is not known yet,” he told a news
conference in Mina.
Iran’s Tasnim and Fars news agencies reported
that 125 Iranians were among the dead. Fars
reported that Tehran summoned the Saudi
charge d’affaires to lodge an official complaint
over the disaster.
Street 204, where the crush occurred, is one of
two main arteries leading through the camp at
Mina to Jamarat, the site where pilgrims ritually
stone the devil by hurling pebbles at three large
pillars. In 2006, at least 346 pilgrims died in a
stampede at Jamarat.
Two weeks ago 110 people died in Mecca’s
Grand Mosque when a crane working on an
expansion project collapsed during a storm and
toppled off the roof into the main courtyard,
crushing pilgrims underneath. — Reuters
Over 700 die
in haj crush
The bodies of Muslim pilgrims are seen after a stampede at Mina, outside the holy Muslim
city of Mecca.
Croatia and Serbia have traded ugly
barbs and slammed tit-for-tat border
restrictions on each other as the migrant
The face-off between Zagreb and
Belgrade, the worst since they fought a
war in the 1990s, comes as thousands
of migrants continue to stream through
the Balkans towards northern Europe,
particularly to Germany.
The unprecedented flow has put the
old enemies at each other’s throats after
Croatia closed all but one of its border
crossings to slow the tide, and accused
Serbia of doing a deal with Hungary to
send migrants its way.
Budapest sealed its border with Serbia
last week, closing the main crossing
and laying down razor wire along the
entire frontier, prompting thousands
of migrants to enter the EU through
Hungarian police said 10,046 migrants,
a new daily record, had arrived yesterday
from Croatia, and Budapest announced
it would decide “soon” whether to also
shut that border.
It has already laid a razor-wire barrier
along 40km of the frontier with Croatia
not marked by the Drava River.
On Wednesday almost 9000 migrants
entered Croatia, also a new high. O ver
the last week, more than 44,000 refugees
have entered the country from non-EU
That influx has fuelled tensions between
the two countries.
In tit-for-tat moves, Zagreb and
Belgrade further restricted traffic at
the last major crossing point still open
between them, with each side stopping
vehicles with plates from the other
country. — AFP
Hungary says it has started to roll
out barbed wire along its border with
Slovenia, after it set up similar barriers
along its frontiers with Serbia and
Croatia to keep refugees out.
This is the first such known measure
to take place in countries belonging to
the EU’s cherished Schengen passport-
free zone, which has already come under
intense pressure as States reintroduce
border checks to stem the flow of
“ We have started setting up a barbed-
wire barrier at the Slovenian border
too,” Hungarian government spokesman
Csaba Rigo said overnight, according to
State news agency MTI.
Budapest sealed its border with Serbia
last week, closing the main crossing
after laying down razor wire along the
entire frontier, prompting thousands of
migrants to divert their route and enter
It has also laid a razor-wire barrier
along 40km of the frontier with Croatia
not marked by the Drava River, and
announced overnight it would decide
“soon” whether to in turn close its border
with its neighbour.
“The effective protection of Schengen
borders can only be ensured with
a complete closure,”
Hungarian leader Viktor Orban’s right-
hand man, said.
The closure of its border with Croatia
could divert the flow of refugees further
towards Slovenia, as they trek to northern
In a three-minute story, Hungary’s M1
television showed three rows of barbed
wire laid out at the Slovenian border over
several hundred metres, near the M70
highway which crosses the frontier to the
town of L endava in Slovenia.
It also took shots of mobile steel gates
that could potentially be used to close
Slovenia’s foreign ministry said it was
aware that Hungary had started laying
down a barrier at its border.
“ We have been in touch with the
Hungarian side and we expect additional
information or explanation,” it said. —
Springvale mine to go ahead
A coalmine has been approved with conditions
imposed to address fears the project would
send salty mine discharge water into Sydney ’s
The Springvale mine extension, near Lithgow
west of Sydney, has received final approval
from the independent Planning Assessment
It will add 13 years to the life of the mine,
which had exhausted its coal supplies.
Mine owner Centennial Coal has stood down
230 workers while waiting for the approval.
The PAC had recommended approval of the
extension in June despite concerns from the
New South Wales Environment Protection
Authority about the impact of mine water
carrying 7500 to 13,000 tonnes of salt being
discharged into the Coxs River each year.
The river ultimately feeds into Sydney ’s main
water supply, Warragamba Dam.
Planning Minister Rob Stokes ordered
a second PAC review in August following
a change to State planning laws and the
commission gave its final approval on Tuesday.
In a statement the PAC said it was “satisfied
that the projects benefits outweigh its potential
It recommended conditions that include
Centennial consider transferring mine water for
use in the Mount Piper power station, which
takes coal from the mine. Conditions were also
recommended for monitoring sensitive swamps
that will be undercut by the mine.
A Centennial Coal spokeswoman said
the company was hoping to secure federal
government approval in October, allowing the
stood-down miners to return to work. — AAP
Papal plea over immigrants
Pope Francis beseeched Americans to end
hostility toward immigrants in a historic speech
before the United States Congress overnight,
weighing in forcefully on a divisive issue that
is stirring debate in the 2016 presidential
Bringing a message that America’s power and
wealth should be used to ser ve humanity, the
Argentinian Pontiff said the US must not turn
its back on “the stranger in our midst ”.
“Building a nation calls us to recognise that
we must constantly relate to others, rejecting a
mindset of hostility,” the 78-year-old Pope Francis
told the Republican-dominated legislature.
Francis, born to an Italian immigrant family
in Argentina, delivered a wide-ranging speech
that addressed issues dear to liberals but also
emphasised conser vative values and Catholic
teachings on the family.
The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics
called for a more equitable economy, greater
effort against climate change, and an end to the
death penalty globally.
The Pope flies to New York today, where
he will attend prayer ser vices at St Patrick’s
Cathedral. He will address the United Nations
General Assembly tomorrow and celebrate an
open-air Mass in Philadelphia on Sunday.
& Herbert Sts,
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