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Germany obligated to take back Afghan refugee it deported

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Germany on Wednesday said it would take back a refugee who was stopped on the border and deported to Greece, a Munich court has ruled.

The Pro Asyl refugee aid organisation said on Wednesday that the court’s ruling was the first of its kind, coming a year after German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, reached an agreement with Greece on returning migrants.

The ruling saw the decision by Munich police headquarters as a “provisionally illegal’’ infringement of the refugee’s rights.

The case centres on an Afghan asylum seeker who crossed the border from Austria by train in May.

However, German police immediately decided to deport the man to Greece on the basis of a hit in the EU’s Eurodac databank that identified him as having made an earlier application in that country.

According to Pro Asyl, Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) was not consulted and the man was not given access to a lawyer.

The man was flown back to Greece within 48 hours, where he had been detained for more than two months.

The court said it saw no grounds under European law for the way the police acted, adding that BAMF officials not the police were the relevant authorities to handle the case.

Pro Asyl noted that there had been conflict within the ruling German coalition ahead of Seehofer’s deal with Greece reached in August 2018.

This, they said, provided for migrants already registered in Greece to be deported back there within 48 hours. A similar deal with Spain was agreed earlier.

Pro Asyl said that up to July 26, migrants had been returned to Greece and two to Spain. (dpa/NAN)

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Schools, offices open in Indian Kashmir amid border clashes

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Schools, offices open in Indian Kashmir amid border clashes

Tensions have spiked in Kashmir, which has been the source of a long-running territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, since India’s Hindu nationalist government revoked special status granted to its part of the region on Aug. 5.

The move downgraded the region’s autonomy and divided what was once the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir into two federally-administered territories.

Deadly border clashes followed between India and Pakistan, who have previously fought two wars over Kashmir.

More than 190 primary schools in Srinagar and surrounding areas had reopened but while teachers and staff showed up in most schools, only a few students attended classes, local media reported.

“We have opened schools in some areas after reviewing security. We appeal to parents to send their children to wherever schools have reopened.

“Security is our responsibility,” Senior Official, Shahid Choudhary, said.

Parents said they were apprehensive of sending children to schools in light of the security situation. “I can’t send my children to school.

The situation is not conducive and I can’t take a risk,” Srinagar resident, Abdul Aziz, said.

Life was slowly limping back to normal in the region as government employees also returned to work with offices fully functional on Monday.

The communications blackout was also eased with two-thirds of the landline telephone services being restored. Internet and mobile services however, still remained suspended across the region.

Restrictions on movement have been relaxed in some areas amid reports of scattered violence on the weekend, according to officials and local media.

Asked about the tight lockdown in several parts which forced people in their homes, senior official K Vijaya Kumar said the decision was taken to ensure no lives were lost in protests or violence.

He referred to unrest in the region in 2010 when 110 people had died. “This time, we were sure we wanted to save as many lives as possible,” Kumar said.

The Kashmir border remained tense with at least two people killed in exchanges of gunfire between Pakistani and Indian border forces on Sunday, Pakistani police said.

Indian troops fired across the Line of Control (LoC), the de facto frontier that divides the Himalayan valley into parts controlled by the two countries

“Two people were killed when a shell landed close to the venue of a wedding ceremony in Darra Sher Khan village,” local police officer Mohammad Aziz, said.

A young boy was also wounded after being hit by splinters of a shell, he said.

Pakistan’s army retaliated after Indian forces lobbed mortars and rockets at the civilian population without any provocation, the military’s media wing ISPR said.

There were reports of the killings of at least two Indian soldiers but there was no official comment from New Delhi.

At least three Pakistani soldiers and two civilians were killed in Kashmir on Thursday in the first exchange of fire between border troops since New Delhi stripped India-administered Kashmir of its special status.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan and India control only parts of Kashmir, but each lays claim to the entire region since the countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. (dpa/NAN)

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Countries move to ban African elephants for zoos, circuses

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Countries move to ban African elephants for zoos, circuses

Daniela Freyer, a Co-founder of the Pro Wildlife Conservation Group, on Monday welcomed the decision taken by a sub-committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.

“Catching wild elephant babies from their herds traumatiSes them and is completely unacceptable,” she said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Some 183 countries have signed on to the convention.

According to the decision taken, wild elephants can only be traded to be placed in animal conservation programmes within Africa.

Zimbabwe has been especially active in selling elephant babies to Asia and other regions, according to Freyer.

The ban has yet to be formally adopted at the end of the conference, which will on Aug. 28.

Due to procedural problems, the EU was not able to cast its vote in the committee.

As the bloc opposes to the proposal, it is unclear whether the necessary two-thirds majority will be reached for the ban to be approved.

On Thursday, participants are expecting the conference to decide whether to loosen or restrict trade with elephant tusks. (dpa/NAN)

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S/Africa urges India, Pakistan to resolve differences through peaceful means

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Appeal

The department added that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir should be resolved bilaterally.

The country’s Spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, said South Africa is voicing concern over the escalation of tensions surrounding the developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

Monyela said Pretoria calls on both countries to exercise restraint and refrain from actions that could further exacerbate the situation and potentially destabilise the region.

He further stressed the urgent need for both parties to tone down their rhetoric.

South Africa further appeals that the freedom and rights of citizens be respected in line with international humanitarian and human rights laws.

He added that “given South Africa’s history of a peaceful and democratic transition, we strongly believe that meaningful dialogue and consultations are the only way to sustainably resolve disputes’’.

Monyela, further stressed that the future of Jammu and Kashmir should be settled by peaceful means through inclusive dialogue.

He said demonstrations had taken place in parts of South Africa in relation to Jammu and Kashmir.

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South African woman arrested with heroin worth $2.86m at Delhi airport

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Arrest

A local media reported that the woman, name withheld, arrived at Terminal-3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on Saturday from South Africa via Doha by Qatar Airlines flight.

The woman was intercepted by the Customs officers at IGIA, and after checking her personal baggage, the authorities discovered a white coloured powdery substance with granules found to be heroin.

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Oil rises after drone attack on Saudi field

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Oil

London, Aug. 19, 2019 Crude oil prices rose on Monday following a weekend attack on a Saudi oil facility by Yemeni separatists and as traders looked for signs that Sino-U.S. trade tensions could ease.

Price gains were, however, capped to some degree by an unusually downbeat OPEC report that stoked concerns about growth in oil demand.

Brent crude LCOc1, the international benchmark for oil prices, was up 55 cents, or about 0.9 per cent, at $59.19 a barrel at 0820 GMT.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures CLc1 were up 57 cents, or one per cent, at $55.44 a barrel.

A drone attack by Yemen’s Houthi group on an oilfield in eastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday caused a fire at a gas plant, adding to Middle East tensions, but state-run Saudi Aramco said oil production was not affected.

“The oil market seems to be pricing in against a geopolitical risk premium, following the weekend drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

“But the premium might not sustain if it does not result in any supply disruptions,’’ said Giovanni Staunovo, an oil analyst for UBS.

Concerns about a recession also limited crude price gains.

Traders were also looking for signs of progress in U.S.-China trade talks.

White House Economic Adviser, Larry Kudlow, said trade deputies from the U.S. and China would speak within 10 days and could advance negotiations over ending a trade battle between the two countries if those talks pan out.

But U.S. President Donald Trump appeared less optimistic than his aides on striking a trade deal with China, saying that while he believed Beijing was ready to come to an agreement, “I’m not ready to make a deal yet’’.

Meanwhile, China’s announcement of key interest rate reforms over the weekend has fuelled expectations of an imminent reduction in corporate borrowing costs in the struggling economy, boosting share prices on Monday.

U.S. energy firms this week increased the number of oil rigs operating for the first time in seven weeks in spite of plans by most producers to cut spending on new drilling this year.

“WTI, in recent weeks, has performed relatively better than Brent… Pipeline start-ups in the U.S. have been supportive for WTI, while the ongoing trade war has had more of an impact on Brent,’’ said Warren Patterson, Head of Commodities Strategy at Dutch bank ING.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) cut its forecast for global oil demand growth in 2019 by 40,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.10 million bpd and indicated the market would be in slight surplus in 2020. (Reuters/NAN)

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