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Too much money: UK signs multimillion pounds deal to send asylum seekers to Rwanda for processing 



The United Kingdom parliament has reached an agreement to sign a deal that would send asylum seekers who cross the English Channel in small boats, to Rwanda while their claims are processed in the UK.

The move which was proposed two weeks ago by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was put on hold as the parliament could not come to an agreement on how the deal would be handled.

But after a lot of deliberations, the agreement which will be worth millions of dollars to the African country, is to be announced on Thursday and will target people trying to reach England in small boats and claim asylum.

Home Secretary Priti Patel will sign the 120 million pound ($158m) agreement for a “migration and economic development partnership” in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

According to Patel, the cost would be funded by UK taxpayers.

As part of the deal, crossing the English Channel in small boats will be made a crime, and those who are allowed to stay will have to live in strictly-controlled camp-like environments while their cases are considered.

Last year alone, more than 28,000 people crossed from Europe to the UK, many in small dinghies, with many losing their lives after their boats sank.

“Before Christmas 27 people drowned, and in the weeks ahead there may be many more losing their lives at sea, and whose bodies may never be recovered.

“Around 600 came across the Channel yesterday. In just a few weeks this could again reach a thousand a day,” Johnson said, while justifying the deal with Rwanda.

Johnson who has been under renewed pressure by the British press after being fined by police for breaking COVID-19 lockdown rules at a number of parties in his office, is also set to announce new plans to tackle people-smuggling gangs in the Channel.

But his critics say Johnson is trying to “divert attention from his own behaviour amid calls for his resignation over the repeated lockdown breaches.”

Musings From Abroad

Biden thanks Ruto for Kenya’s role in new Haiti mission



US President, Joe Biden has thanked Kenyan President, William Ruto for his country’s role in the multinational security mission in gang-ridden Haiti.

Speaking with Ruto on Tuesday night, Biden thanked him for Kenya’s agreement to lead a UN-backed mission in Haiti.

The conversation took place at around 8 pm, according to sources close to the Kenyan presidency. Biden was also reported to have congratulated President Ruto on the successful hosting of the recent Africa Climate Summit, where the continent found a unifying voice on climate change that will be at the forefront of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Dubai in November.

Kenya, an East African powerhouse, is active in Haiti, and recently announced it was ready to be part of a multinational force. It committed to deploying 1,000 police officers to the country and  “accepted to positively consider leading a Multi-National Force to Haiti.”

Ruto, during his address at the United Nations 78th General Assembly last month, maintained that the Caribbean country “deserves better from the world.” “Kenya is ready to play its part in full, and join with a coalition of other nations of goodwill – and there are many— as a great friend and true sibling of Haiti”, he said.

The US White House also confirmed the meeting between the two leaders in a statement which partly reads: “President Joe Biden spoke today with Kenya’s leader William Ruto to thank him for responding to Haiti’s call to serve as the lead nation for the Multinational Security Support (MSS) mission. They also welcomed a successful vote at the UN Security Council authorising the MSS to bring relief to the people of Haiti who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals.

“The two presidents talked about alternative methods to advance regional security and mutual prosperity through new investment, jobs, and sustainable growth, in addition to the Haiti mission and the Africa Climate Summit”.

“We will continue to work on regional security, conflict resolution and counterterrorism to ensure that the Horn of Africa has the space to focus on social and economic progress,” Ruto said after the talks.

Since January, Haiti has been without elected officials, and nations around the world have been hesitant to back the unelected government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has stated that the current state of unrest makes it impossible to hold fair elections.

Children have been impacted by the violence in Haiti, as well as those on missions from other countries who have been kidnapped.

The two leaders welcomed the successful vote at the UN Security Council to approve Kenya’s request to lead the mission.

Ruto had earlier pledged at the UN General Assembly that Kenya was more prepared to restore peace and stability to the people of Haiti who have suffered for far too long at the hands of violent criminals.

The US has promised to support the mission financially and in other ways, a pledge made in a recent agreement between Kenyan Defence Cabinet Secretary Aden Duale and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin Lloyd J. Austin III.

Kenya said it was ready to send 1,000 troops to Haiti by January, to be joined by other troops from other countries who will join the mission.

The Haitian government led by Prime Minister Ariel Henry is under severe threat from organised gangs that have taken over the capital, Port-au-Prince.

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Musings From Abroad

WHO announces second malaria vaccine



The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu has called for the use of a second malaria vaccine to curb the life-threatening disease spread to humans by some mosquitoes.

Tedros made the recommendation during a briefing in Geneva on Monday, recalling that “almost exactly two years ago, WHO recommended the broad use of the world’s first malaria vaccine called R21/Matrix-M.”

Malaria remains one of Africa’s deadliest diseases, killing nearly half a million children under the age of five every year. In July, WHO and some of its partner agencies revealed that around 18 million doses of the first malaria vaccine would be delivered to 12 African countries. The road is now cleared by WHO for the second use of the vaccines.

“Today, it gives me great pleasure to announce that WHO is recommending a second vaccine called R21/Matrix-M to prevent malaria in children at risk of the disease,” Tedros said. R21/Matrix-M, created by the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, will be accessible by the middle of 2024, with doses costing between $2 and $4.

“WHO is now reviewing the vaccine for prequalification, which is WHO stamp of approval, and will enable GAVI (a global vaccine alliance) and UNICEF to buy the vaccine from manufacturers,” Tedros said.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said it had already produced more than 20 million doses in anticipation of WHO’s recommendation.

“We will ramp it up as per what the demand requirements are,” he said in an interview. “We hope that by the end of 2024, there will be zero mismatches of demand and supply, with our supply coming into the system.”

By 2026, 40–60 million doses of the malaria vaccine will be required annually, and by 2030, 80–100 million doses will be required, according to estimates from the WHO, UNICEF, and Gavi.

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