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Musings From Abroad

UK PM Boris Johnson plans to send migrants to Rwanda to be processed in secret deal worth millions to African country

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United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has announced plans to send thousands of migrants to Rwanda to be processed in a secret deal said to be worth millions of pounds for the African country.

The deal has been described as ‘secretive’ with ministers only allowed to refer to ‘country X’ during meetings.

The plan, if it sees the light of day. would see the UK government fly asylum seekers, irrespective of their nationality, out to Rwanda for processing while the UK pays the African country millions of pounds.

There had been similar attempts to send migrants to Ghana and Albania in the past but these plans fell due to international outcry.

The plan, which is still in the pipeline and not fully clear how it would be carried out, was to be announced last week following a new surge in the number of migrants crossing the channel into the UK in the past few weeks.

Officially, the number of migrants that have so far crossed the Channel this year have passed 4,500, according to statistics from the Home Office, prompting the plan by Johnson.

In 2021, a total of 28,526 people crossed the Channel, but the record is expected to be broken this year.

However, the bill has met resistance in the House of Commons where an MP, David Davis, tabled an amendment to scrap the measures.

Speaking during the debate, the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, was deeply critical of such a move, saying enabling the offshoring of asylum seekers to overseas processing centres was evil and should not be condoned.

“When people arrive on our shores seeking protection we have a responsibility to treat them as we would wish to be treated if we indeed had to flee for our lives.

“If we move them to other countries for the process of their asylum claims, I very much fear a blind eye will be turned to their treatment.

“The inhumanity of this part of the Bill is my primary concern. There are however significant practical and financial concerns,” Butler said.

However, supporters of the plan believe it was the only way to profile asylum seekers.

Home Office Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “Asylum processing overseas is one part of a system-wide reform designed to break the business model of people smugglers and disincentivise unwanted behaviours.”

Musings From Abroad

Months after acquisition, Tata Group to spend $400 million to refurbish Air India

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Following the acquisition of Air India by the conglomerate, Tata Group, the airline will spend more than $400 million to refurbish the interiors of its entire wide-body fleet.

The company on Thursday said the overhauling and upgrade to part of plans to attract more flyers.

“Air India has committed to attaining the highest standards of product and service befitting of a world-class airline. We know that, at present, the cabin product on our 40 legacy widebody aircraft falls short of this standard,”

The refurbishment will involve the introduction of a premium economy cabin, it said in a statement, adding that the first aircraft with refurbished interiors will enter service in mid-2024.

In November, Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines (SIA) revealed that they will merge Air India and Vistara to create India’s second-biggest carrier in a deal where SIA will hold a 25.1% stake in the entity with an equity infusion of Rs 2,058.50 crore. Tata will hold the rest.

The Tata Group paid nearly $2.4bn (£1.7bn) to take over debt-ridden India’s national carrier, Air India in January 2022.

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Musings From Abroad

25 far-right group supporters arrested as Germany foils coup attempt

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Germany on Wednesday foiled a violent overthrow of the state to install as national leader a prince who had sought backing from Russia.

German authorities have detained 25 members and supporters of a far-right group.

The attempted coup was according to the prosecutor influenced by the deep state conspiracy theories of Germany’s Reichsbuerger and QAnon, whose advocates were among those arrested after the storming of the US Capitol in January 2021.

An Interior Ministry spokesperson said security agencies were looking closely at any possible contact with Russia.

The Kremlin said there could be no question of any Russian involvement in an alleged far-right plot to overthrow the German state, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that it “appears to be a German internal problem”.

The group had emulated the structure of the government, creating a “council” that had regularly met since November 2021 as an administration-in-waiting with different departments, such as foreign affairs and health, prosecutors said.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser assured Germans that authorities would respond with the full force of the law “against the enemies of democracy”.

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