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

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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

Former China’s Justice Minister gets death sentence commuted to life imprisonment for bribery

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Former China’s Justice Minister, Fu Zhenghua, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after a higher court suspended an earlier death sentence passed on him for taking bribes and “bending the law”.

Zhenghua’s death sentence was commuted to a life imprisinment term by the Intermediate People’s Court in the city of Changchun on Thursday after a two-year reprieve.

According China state media, Zhenghua’s high-profile sentencing is part of a “sweeping anti-graft campaign which is coming three weeks before a key political meeting where President Xi Jinping is expected to secure an unprecedented third term.”

During the sentencing, the Intermediate People’s Court judge said the former Minister had abused his power while in a range of senior positions from 2005 to 2021.

“He is deprived of political rights for life and all personal property should be confiscated,” the judge said.

State prosecutors were able to establish that the 67-year-old Zhenghua had accepted bribes worth over 117 million yuan ($16.5 million) during a 16 year period he served in different capacities.

The State media reports that between 2014 and 2015, when he was head of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, Zhenghua hid evidence of suspected crimes committed by his brother, Fu Weihua, and failed to handle the case in accordance with the law.

“During his tenure as Beijing’s top cop, Fu is thought to have led the corruption investigation into Zhou Yongkang, the former security chief who was jailed in 2015 in one of the anti-graft campaign’s most high-profile cases.:

Zhenghua was a member of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission and the Minister of Justice before entering semi-retirement in May 2020.

He had also served as the Deputy Director of the Social and Legal Affairs Committee on the Standing Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) when anti-graft authorities launched an investigation into his dealings last October.

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Musings From Abroad

Russia/Ukraine War: Putin threatens to use nuclear weapons, mobilises 300,000 reservist soldiers

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Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has threatened to use nuclear weapons and mobilize 300,000 reservists soldiers amidst the ongoing war with Ukraine.

Putin in a pre-recorded video announced that he was calling up reserve soldiers to help in Russia’s war against Ukraine.

He however deferred implementing a nationwide conscription drive for the time being. Reservists with training and experience would be called to join up first, he continued.

Speaking on NATO nuclear threats against Russia and claiming to be at war with the West, which is trying to “weaken, divide and destroy” Russia, Putin boasted of Moscow’s superior nuclear weapons.“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all resources at our disposal,” Putin said.

“This is not a bluff,” he added

Meanwhile, also in the video, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu revealed that 300,000 additional soldiers will be mobilized.

He added that Russia had 25 million men with military experience, saying that the current partial mobilization only covers about 1 percent of that number.

“We are not just fighting with Ukraine, but with the collective West,” Shoigu said. He added that 5,937 Russians had been killed in the war so far. This number is vastly below the country’s estimated losses, and the Ukrainians say they have “eliminated” more than 50,000 Russian personnel. Shoigu claimed that the Russians had killed 61,207 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 49,368.

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine in a major escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War that began in 2014. The invasion caused Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II with around 7.3 million Ukrainians fleeing the country and a third of the population displaced. It has also caused global food shortages.

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