Displaying items by tag: France

Thursday, 21 October 2021 21:17

Channel smugglers are outwitting France and UK

People-smuggling networks in migrant camps are slick and organised. It took little more than a week for Hamid to find a people-smuggler in Calais. Within a couple of days, he was hiding near the beach with 75 others, waiting to cross the Channel in a small inflatable boat. Over 18,000 people so far this year have crossed the twenty miles of sea between Britain and France in small boats. Despite significant investment on both sides of the Channel, that's more than double the number last year. France's northern coastline is covered with dunes, foliage and hundreds of old WW2 bunkers where migrants can hide. High-security fencing and surveillance cameras now successfully protect the ports and Eurotunnel terminal, but surveillance is difficult among forested dunes. Hamid’s crossing cost £2,500, on top of the £7,275 he had paid to leave Afghanistan and cross Europe to France.

Published in Europe

A report has shown that the Church prioritised protecting the institution over victims who were urged to stay silent. The number of abused minors rises to an estimated 330,000 when including victims of people with other links to the Church, like Catholic schools and youth programmes. Between 2,900 and 3,200 abusers worked in the Catholic Church between 1950 and 2020, out of a total of 115,000 priests and other clerics. ‘The Church is the place where the prevalence of sexual violence is at its highest, other than in family and friend circles’, said the report, which found that children were also more likely to be abused within Church settings than in state-run schools or summer camps. This report follows similar ones from other countries.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 30 September 2021 22:39

France: fishing in UK waters

Three-quarters of small French fishing boats could be denied access to British waters under a post-Brexit regime in a move that risks further damaging Anglo-French relations. The UK government had granted only 12 out of a total of 47 applications for licences for the French vessels under 12 metres long to fish the UK’s inshore waters. France’s maritime minister, Annick Girardin, condemned the decision. ‘It is a new refusal by the British to implement the conditions of the Brexit agreement despite all the work we have done together. French fishing should not be taken hostage by the British for political ends.’ In May, France’s response to post-Brexit fishing restrictions around the island of Jersey was described as ‘pretty close to an act of war’ by fishing community leaders in St Helier. This week Jersey refused licences to 75 French fishing boats. The UK said it would consider further evidence to support remaining bids for fishing rights See

Published in Europe

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) star Neymar will receive €6.2 million (£5.28 million) a year if he avoids any ‘political or religious propaganda that could damage the image and unity of the club’. It is understood that Neymar will receive this money as part of an 'ethical clause' included in his contract with the Parisian club. The 29-year-old has previously made several references to his Christian faith. He grew up going to Peniel Baptist church in his native Sao Paulo, whose lead pastor Newton Lobato has revealed the footballer tithes around €18,000 every year. Neymar once said, ‘Life only makes sense when our highest ideal is to serve Christ’. He has received trophies wearing a headband stating ‘100% Jesus’.

Published in Europe
Thursday, 16 September 2021 21:30

France: Covid deadlines and demos

French healthcare workers now face suspension if they are not vaccinated against Covid-19. The demand affects all medical professionals and those working with vulnerable people (including nursing homes' non-medical staff). 86% of healthcare workers are fully inoculated, suggesting many are risking sanctions. Also a phased roll-out of a Covid pass has been introduced - attesting its holder had either been vaccinated, tested negative or recently recovered from Covid - to visit cultural and leisure venues, bars, restaurants, large events or use long-distance public transport. On 14 September 'Infringement of freedom' protests were held in Paris over these rules. Over 9,000 Covid-related hospitalisations did not deter protesters, whilst others showed up to vent their overall frustration with the tenure of President Emmanuel Macron. Over last weekend, in Paris alone, three different Covid-related demonstrations took place. See

Published in Europe
Thursday, 19 August 2021 21:38

France: new wildfires - thousands evacuated

Strong winds and hot weather are making it difficult to quell two fires in Aude and Vaucluse, causing the evacuation of 130 people. 300+ hectares have been burnt, in new breakouts injuring 132 firefighters. Forest fires covering 210 hectares have hit the south of France as a 7,000-hectare blaze near Saint-Tropez continues. People have died and others are missing in the blazes. On 17 August a fire restarted overnight in Beaumes-de-Venise, fanned by strong winds. Over 1,000 firefighters tackled a blaze in Var, where a man died in his house. A woman is reported missing after calling her family while surrounded by fire. Blazes have erupted in Bizanet and Narbonne, with 70-80kph wind gusts threatening more outbreaks.

Published in Europe

On 6 July Tehran informed the International Atomic Energy Agency that it was enriching uranium to 20% at its research reactor. Uranium metal is used to make a nuclear warhead core. The development immediately prompted Berlin, London and Paris, which are all parties to the 2015 nuclear deal - along with the USA, Russia, and China - to issue a damning joint statement accusing Iran of a ‘grave breach’ of its obligations. ‘Iran has no credible civilian need for uranium metal R&D and production, which are a key step in the development of a nuclear weapon,’ the statement said. According to Iran’s foreign minister, this enrichment is needed for ‘peaceful, medicinal and humanitarian uses.’ The three countries urged Tehran to stop the violations and return to Vienna’s negotiating table where the original signatories to the deal have been working for months to mediate indirect talks between Iran and the USA.

Published in Worldwide
Friday, 07 May 2021 10:03

Royal Navy ships withdraw

Two Royal Navy ships are returning home after a protest by French fishermen over post-Brexit rights in Jersey’s territorial waters ended. Sixty French boats had been blockading the port of St Helier, which is why the two warships were deployed. The fishermen said their rights were being unfairly restricted by licences issued under the new system, but after ‘positive’ discussions between the two sides they returned home. The French government expressed the hope that the dispute would be swiftly resolved and that the new trade deal would be fully implemented.  Boris Johnson said he was pleased the situation had been resolved for now, but the Government is still ‘on standby’ if Jersey needs further assistance.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 07 May 2021 09:34

France / Norway: Covid passports

France’s parliament has given the green light for so-called Covid ‘health passes’ which people will have to carry when attending crowded events and venues. Some MPs have said it may lead to discrimination. The law committee of the National Assembly, the lower house of France’s parliament, has approved a bill on health passes which citizens will be required to carry in order to attend gatherings of more than 1,000 people. According to this proposal, the pass will prove that a person has been vaccinated, has tested negative for Covid-19, or has recovered from the virus. See The Norwegian prime minister has said the country will bring in Covid vaccine passports, which will allow holders to attend events, before the government brings in EU-compliant certificates later that month. The certificate means Norway can open society more quickly. It can be used for public events, cruises, and package tours.

Published in Europe

The governments of the UK, Germany and France have expressed ‘grave concern’ over Iran’s move to boost uranium enrichment to 60% in response to what Tehran says was an attack by Israel against its key nuclear facility at Natanz. The three European countries say the announcement is ‘particularly regrettable’ at a time when talks in Vienna have resumed, including the United States, to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. They also said this was showing Iran to be on the path to a nuclear weapon, adding, ‘Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level’.

Published in Europe
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