Friday, 29 June 2018

U.S. Divers Aid Searching For The Missing Thai Soccer Team

U.S. Divers Aid Searching For The Missing Thai Soccer Team

Thailand's prime minister on Friday visited a flooded cave complex where rescuers have been searching for 12 boys and their soccer coach missing for six days and urged their relatives not to give up hope.
U.S Divers Aid
"There has to be faith. Faith makes everything a success," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the country's military ruler, told families waiting outside the cave. "Faith in the actions of officials. Faith in our children who are strong and vigorous. Everything will go back to normal."

The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their coach entered the sprawling Tham Luang Nang Non cave after a soccer game on Saturday afternoon, but near-constant rains since then have thwarted the search for them. Authorities have nevertheless expressed hope the group has found a dry place within the cave to wait, and that they are healthy enough to stay alive.

Muddy floodwaters reached near the entrance of the cave Friday despite days of efforts to drain the water. Howard Johnson, from CBS News partner BBC News, reports that some of the team of 30 U.S. military personnel who joined rescue efforts earlier this week was looking for shafts into the cave down which to rappel on Friday. Their efforts are part of a three-pronged approach to the operation, which also includes pumping water out of the cave and exploring the caverns, Johnson says.
Other crews were working to drill wells in hopes of draining the water, which could allow divers to advance into flooded passages. Despite the hard work, rescuers' progress has been fitful at best, with no guarantee the water will soon recede with months left in Thailand's rainy season.

Authorities have warned that the rising water is complicating efforts to supply electricity to the cave, raising the risk of an accident. There appeared to be a mishap Friday when workers ran out of the cave saying rescuers had been injured and to shut off the power. Several ambulances then rushed people from the site.

At least one police official initially said men had been electrocuted, but medical workers at the site along with Chiang Rai provincial Gov. Narongsak Osatanakorn said that wasn't the case. Instead, they said a man had fainted while working on a water pump, prompting the scare, and another man had a stomach ailment.
Narongsak thanked people in Thailand and abroad for their support, including a U.S. military rescue team and U.K. cave divers.

"We will keep our effort up no matter how tired we are," he said.
He said Thai navy SEAL divers had been able to work underwater Thursday but would not elaborate on their progress. The divers have oxygen tanks but still must have enough space between the water and the cave ceiling to surface for air and to ensure their safety in the muddy waters that fill rocky passages, some so tight the divers must bend their bodies to advance through them.

Above ground, four shafts have been located that might allow access to the cave and rescuers were continuing to explore them on Friday, Narongsak said. He said one shaft had showed promise, leading to a chamber below, though it wasn't clear if it connected to the main cave.

Officials said they were also dropping "care packages" into the shafts in case they reach the cave. The packages contain food, beverages, a phone, a flashlight, candles and a lighter. They also include a map of the cave.

The team trying to find a way to drain the water dug until 1 a.m. to a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) but did not find any wells, said Ekchawin Longpinit from the Thai Underground Water Department. About a dozen workers were drilling at the same spot Friday morning. "We will continue to drill today, and more drill equipment is being sent" to explore more spots to drill, Ekchawin said.
Italians First Politician Vows Mass Deportations And Challenges EU

Italians First Politician Vows Mass Deportations And Challenges EU

European Union leaders wrangled over migration policy reforms in an all-night meeting in Brussels. And one of the bloc's newest and loudest critics, the barely month-old government of Italy, is claiming a big win.
Matteo Salvini
In the early hours of Friday, EU states said they agreed on a package of plans, which included key demands from Italy: more support for "front-line" entry countries, stronger efforts to counter people-smuggling and setting up more centers for holding and processing asylum-seekers.
Italy is a front-line country for immigrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe. Its populist leaders oppose a rule that says the country where migrants first land is responsible for determining whether to let them stay.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte — in his government's first major EU summit appearance — had threatened to veto any deals if his country did not get more help with migration issues. He sounded satisfied with the outcome. "Italy is no longer alone," Conte told reporters as he left the meetings Friday.

The Italian populists' rise to power, analysts say, came largely because of a sense among voters that Italy has been abandoned by its EU partners in handling the migrant crisis.
But it's one of Prime Minister Conte's deputies — Interior Minister Matteo Salvini — who has emerged as a powerful hard-liner shaping the country's anti-immigration stance. In office less than a month, Salvini has dominated the national spotlight and thrown down the gauntlet to the European Union. He has said Italy is ready to renegotiate its financial commitments to the EU if more is not done to help the country deal with migration.
As leader of the right-wing League party, Salvini campaigned on the slogan "Italians first" — with clear echoes of Trumpism, which he endorsed early on — and pledged to deport 100,000 undocumented migrants in his first year in office, and expel hundreds of thousands more in the rest of his term.
The government has already turned away hundreds of migrants on rescue ships this month. But kicking out people already in Italy has proved difficult.
More than 600,000 migrants from dozens of countries have landed by sea in Italy since 2014, according to United Nations data. Many have applied for asylum.
Italy rejected 42,000 asylum claims last year, according to the Asylum Information Database website. But the country expelled few more than 7,000 migrants in 2017, The Associated Press reported. The news agency said many of the migrants' home countries lack diplomatic agreements with Italy and are unwilling to take deported citizens back.

But Salvini has repeated his vow to expel undocumented migrants. He is one of Italy's deputy prime ministers as well as interior minister — a key domestic security post overseeing law enforcement.
Within days of taking office on June 1, Salvini ordered a block on docking rights to Aquarius, a humanitarian relief ship carrying more than 600 migrants rescued at sea. The ship, which was off Italian waters, ultimately found refuge in the Spanish port of Valencia after several days sailing in rough seas.
Salvini was adamant, saying earlier this month "if anyone in the EU thinks Italy should keep being a landing point and refugee camp, they have misunderstood."
Registering Roma
A few days later, Salvini was denounced by critics in and outside Italy for saying he wants a census or registry of Roma people in Italy. (The Roma are also called "gypsies," though many community members find the term derogatory.)
"The plan's aim is to care for Roma children who," Salvini claimed in a Facebook post, "are brought up into a life of crime."
Human rights activists in Italy are furious. They have pointed out about half of the estimated 120,000 to 180,000 Roma population in the country are Italian citizens.
Speaking of Roma who are Italian citizens, Salvini said, "unfortunately, we have to keep them."
The Italian Constitution bans taking a census based on ethnicity. Moderate and leftist Italian politicians said the census idea recalled late 1930s fascist-era laws persecuting minority groups including Roma and Jews.
The Roma census proposal was a step too far even for Salvini's government coalition partner and fellow deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio.
"We can't do it," Di Maio, the leader of the 5-Star Movement, said of the proposal. "Let's start working on the problems of millions of Italians who can no longer eat."
From marginal to dominant figure
Despite accusations of racism and xenophobia by critics on the left, Salvini is emerging as the dominant figure in Italian politics. Only a few months ago he was considered a marginal candidate. But in the March 4 general election, the League party won 17 percent of the vote. The 5-Star Movement scored 33 percent, but that was not enough to govern alone. So it joined forces with the League to form a government.

Since March, the League's popularity surged to more than 29 percent in a recent poll.
It has been quite a ride for Salvini since his political career began in the 1990s, in what was then called the Northern League, a secessionist group that blamed southern Italians for the country's economic problems and corruption.
In 2013, he took over the party leadership and dropped "Northern" from its name. He sought to rally all Italians and shifted the focus to negative impacts of globalization, income inequality, joblessness, resentment toward EU regulations and, most of all, fears deriving from a perceived surge in migrant arrivals. Salvini adopted slogans of the neo-fascist group CasaPound Italia, such as "Italy for Italians."
In a short time, Salvini has become one of the most prominent European champions of populist and nativist policies, euroskepticism and what is called "sovereignism," the doctrine of maintaining independence from international associations such as the EU.
His strongest allies outside Italy include Nigel Farage, the promoter of Brexit in the U.K., France's hard-right leader Marine Le Pen and Hungary's increasingly authoritarian and anti-immigrant leader Viktor Orbán.
Steve Bannon, President Trump's former chief strategist, hailed the creation of Italy's new populist government. "The Italian people have gone farther in a shorter time than the British did with Brexit and the American did with Trump. Italy is the leader," he said in March.
Salvini Tweet
On Tuesday, Salvini tweeted a photo of himself shaking hands with John Bolton, President Trump's national security adviser, and wrote that the two engaged in "sharing on issues of combating illegal immigration and terrorism."

One of the administration's adversaries, meanwhile, is the government of France. President Emmanuel Macron has warned of what he sees as the dangers of populism spreading across Europe.
"You can see them rise a bit like a leprosy all across Europe, in countries where we thought that would be impossible to see them again, in neighboring countries," Macron said on June 21. Without mentioning Italy by name, he added, "They're saying the worst things, and we're getting used to it. They're making provocations, and nobody is horrified by that."
But this week in Brussels, France and Italy apparently saw eye-to-eye on some things. As talks went into the wee hours, Bloomberg even said it was "Macron's bow to Italy" that made Friday's deal happen.
For now, the populists are relishing an early victory.
"I am satisfied and proud about the results our government achieved in Brussels," Salvini said Friday in a statement.
"In contrast to nothing" achieved by previous Italian governments, he continued, "many of our requests were accepted. On others, there is still work to be done. But finally Italy has emerged from isolation and is once again a player."
Activists Preparing To Protest In UK During Trump Visit With a Gaint 'Baby Trump Balloon'

Activists Preparing To Protest In UK During Trump Visit With a Gaint 'Baby Trump Balloon'

Activists who plan to hoist a giant balloon version of President Donald Trump, shaped like a baby, have exceeded their crowdfunding target aimed at making their protest possible.
Baby Trump Balloon
“Trump Baby” was set up by a group of anti-Trump activists in London, who plan to fly the balloon in the capital Friday, July 13.
Baby Trump Balloon
The balloon is designed with the president’s trademark blond hair but also is depicted wearing a diaper, has very small hands and stands nearly 20 feet high.
“Donald Trump is a big, angry baby with a fragile ego and tiny hands …” the activists’ page says.
“Moral outrage is water off a duck’s back to Trump. But he seems to really hate it when people make fun of him. So when [he] visits on July 13th, we want to make sure he knows that all of Britain is looking down on him and laughing at him.”
The campaign has raised just over $14,000, almost three times its initial target.

But the group faces a challenge from the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, which has not given the group permission to fly the balloon because, officials say, the “Trump Baby” does not qualify as a sanctioned protest.
More than 7,000 people have signed a petition called “Let Trump Baby Fly”, calling for the mayor to allow the balloon to take to the skies above Westminster on the day of the president’s visit.
The protesters say if they are unable to secure permission to fly the balloon from Parliament Square outside the House of Commons, they “may need to be creative about finding a suitable alternative location.”
Metropolitan Police Service told reporters this week it is "preparing for a multifaceted policing and security operation, involving the protection and movement of the president. The requirements of this complex operation need to be balanced with the right of individuals to a freedom of speech."
Here Is What Donald Trump and Putin Need to Talk When They Finally Meet

Here Is What Donald Trump and Putin Need to Talk When They Finally Meet

The announcement Thursday that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold a summit July 16 in Helsinki, Finland is welcome news – though it predictably prompted immediate criticism from Democrats and other Trump opponents.
Donald Trump,  Putin
But we can discount the instant opposition. The Trump-haters criticize almost everything the president says and does, no matter what. Sometimes they sound like followers of Marx – Groucho Marx, that is – in this video clip from 1932, when he sang “Whatever it is, I’m against it.”
Meeting with Putin – the leader of a nation that can only be described as a gas station run by thugs armed with nuclear weapons – should not be taken as an endorsement by President Trump of everything the Putin government does, any more than Trump’s meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un should be viewed as giving that brutal regime America’s seal of approval.

As the late Israeli military leader and politician Moshe Dayan said in 1977: “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.”
Even before he was president, Donald Trump repeatedly said on the presidential campaign trail that he would try to forge a better relationship with Moscow, a geopolitical competitor of the first order. And you don’t need to be a grand strategist with a Ph.D. in international relations to understand the value of such a move.
Thankfully, the American people get it – they voted for Trump and elected him to the presidency because they wanted a change in foreign policy.
Think back to the long presidential campaign. Trump declared on many occasions that he would meet with foreign leaders who had very different interests than our own. He put forward the idea that it made sense to try to forge common ground in areas where we agreed and to craft a foreign policy based on shared interests.
Candidate Trump was advocating a foreign policy based on realism – something sorely needed following the years America spent promoting nation-building and regime change that have proven expensive and counterproductive.
There aren’t many areas where Washington and Moscow share perceived areas of mutual interest. But there are many areas of tension that both sides need to discuss. Right now, U.S.-Russia relations are about as bad as they were during the height of the Cold War – if not worse.
So, what should be on the agenda for the Trump-Putin summit? Here are a few ideas:

The Syrian civil war. The war has raged since 2011, with the death toll in the hundreds of thousands. Over 5.6 million Syrians have fled the country as refugees and over 6 million have fled their homes and remain in the country. With U.S. and Russian forces both operating in the nation in close proximity, both sides need to work together to bring the warring parties together and craft a lasting peace. The conflict needs to be ended for the people of the region who have suffered for far too long, and so U.S. and Russia can end combat operations and withdraw their forces. We must end the danger of an incident sparking a military confrontation between Washington and Moscow.   
Fighting in eastern Ukraine. This conflict has been on a slow burn for years. To this day, pro-Russian separatists – and surely Russian military personnel not in uniform – are battling the Ukrainian army. And Russia has absorbed Crimea after it forcibly seized it from Ukraine. While it might not make the front page of the Washington Post or New York Times, the Russia-Ukraine conflict could create a great-power showdown at any moment, just as is the case with the war in Syria. With America now arming Ukraine with deadly weapons and Russia looking to ensure Ukraine is unstable so it can never join NATO or the European Union, both sides need to come to an agreement to bring this conflict to a just conclusion.
Cyberwarfare and election interference. Washington and Moscow must begin to craft some sort of cyberwarfare rules of the road – or at least a truce, considering the stakes involved. While there is no doubt Moscow tried to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, America also has incredible cyberwarfare and information warfare capabilities that could cause havoc across the globe. In fact, many would argue – and I would say correctly – that the next major war will start in cyberspace. America and Russia must begin to work together to draft an agreement – one that hopefully other nations like China, Japan, European countries and perhaps North Korea would all sign – that limits hostile state actions in cyberspace.

No government should attack another nation’s election system, banking, infrastructure, hospitals or other critical systems that depend on the Internet. Just one false move, either by accident or on purpose, could spark a crisis where lives could be placed in harm’s way – and lead to a shooting war. In the worst case scenario this could escalate to involve nuclear weapons.
Presidents Trump and Putin must do their best to forge a better working relationship and at least try to resolve the issues above and others. A summit between the two leaders won’t settle all their differences but at least it is a step in the right direction to avert another Cold War and, even worse, a hot one.
Considering the other massive foreign policy challenges America faces in the months and years to come – a rising China that is a far bigger threat than Russia ever will be, a North Korea that still has not given up its nukes, and an Iran bent on domination of the Middle East – the Trump administration needs to remove as much from its foreign policy plate as it can.
President Trump is right to try and forge a better relationship with Putin. As he loves to say, we’ll see what happens. 

Thursday, 28 June 2018

U.S. and Japanese Agree's to The Continuation Of Joint Military Exercise

U.S. and Japanese Agree's to The Continuation Of Joint Military Exercise

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is trying to assuage an Asian ally's worries about America's commitment to the region amid the ongoing denuclearization negotiations with North Korea.
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Matts
Mattis met Friday with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who said they agreed to continue joint military exercises and reinforce the response capability of the U.S.-Japan alliance.
The U.S. and Japan, he said, agreed to work with other countries to tackle offshore ship-to-ship transfers by North Korea that may evade economic sanctions. Japan's navy has been actively watching for and submitting photographic evidence of possible sanctions violations to the U.N.
Mattis, after their meeting, told reporters that his visit represents "just how strongly we prioritize this relationship between our two militaries."

Mattis added that even as the U.S. is in "unprecedented negotiations" with North Korea, "in this dynamic time, the longstanding alliance between Japan and the United States stands firm. There is absolute reassurance between the two of us that we stand firm" and the relationship will not be affected by the denuclearization talks.
Onodera earlier this month urged the international community to keep sanctions and surveillance on North Korea, saying it has a history of reneging on agreements.
Speaking at an international security conference in Singapore, Onodera said North Korea agreed to give up nuclear weapons as early as 1994, but has continued to develop them in secret and until last year threatened surrounding countries with a series of ballistic missile launches.
On Friday, he said the U.S. and Japan must work together toward the dismantlement of "all of North Korea's weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapons and ballistic missiles of all ranges."

Mattis said the two discussed "the opportunities to increase our alliance capabilities, to deepen our cooperation and to enhance regional security."
Noting the small, blue ribbon-shaped lapel pin the minister was wearing, Mattis offered support for efforts to secure the release of 12 Japanese citizens who were abducted by the North Koreans four decades ago. The pin commemorates their abductions, and Japan has argued for their release to be part of the ongoing negotiations with Pyongyang.
Mattis said such humanitarian issues are always present in the deliberations.
On Thursday, Mattis met with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo, assuring him the U.S. will maintain its current number of troops on the Korean Peninsula.
Speaking alongside Song, Mattis read a lengthy statement reinforcing America's "ironclad" commitment to Seoul, adding that "the U.S. will continue to use the full range of diplomatic and military capabilities to uphold this commitment."
During the Tokyo meeting, Onodera presented Mattis with a paddle resembling those used by sumo wrestlers. It was emblazoned with his name. Mattis presented Onodera with a blue tie with small images of the Pentagon on it.
Longstanding sensitivities over the presence of American troops in Japan also came up. Onodera said Mattis agreed to work on the realignment of U.S. troops in Japan as well as increased safety of aircraft used by American military in the country.

Under realignment, the U.S. would transfer several thousand Marines from Okinawa to the American territory of Guam and elsewhere as part of efforts to reduce the impact of the large U.S. military presence on Okinawa residents.
The U.S. also plans to move a Marine Corps air station to a less populated part of Okinawa, but the move has been delayed for years by local opponents who want the facility moved off Okinawa completely
Aircraft safety has been an increasing issue. A series of mishaps involving U.S. military aircraft have inflamed opposition to American bases in Japan in recent months, particularly in Okinawa, the southern island that is home to half the U.S. troops in Japan.
Why We Postponed The 2+2 Discussion With India - U.S.

Why We Postponed The 2+2 Discussion With India - U.S.

It was the sudden “classified travel” of US secretary of state Mike Pompeo that resulted in the last-minute deferral of the so-called 2-plus-2 dialogue between India and the US originally scheduled for July 6, senior Indian officials involved in talks with the US said.
Donald Trump, Narendra Modi
Indeed, the US is keen on the talks and could even be open to shifting the venue for the discussion between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries to India, they added.
The officials, none of whom wished to be identified, said the dialogue had been postponed because Pompeo has to travel either to North Korea or Russia.

They dismissed theories that it was US concern over Iran (and India’s oil purchases from that country), the purchase of S-400 missiles from Moscow, or bilateral trade issues that resulted in the deferment. A report in the Financial Times said Pompeo was likely to travel to North Korea to discuss the country’s denuclearisation plans.
The Indian embassy in Washington was informed about the postponement of the dialogue by the state department on Wednesday morning with an assurance that secretary Pompeo would himself conveys his regrets to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj later over phone. Before the state department communication, both countries were preparing for the meeting, with US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster meeting foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale on Tuesday afternoon.
Indian diplomats in the US echoed these views. They, and the Indian officials, pointed to US ambassador Nikki Haley’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which she said the US would not tolerate Pakistan becoming a safe haven for terrorists. They also pointed to the fact that a US trade delegation led by assistant US trade representative Mark Linscott is currently in Delhi negotiating the way to address bilateral trade concerns. India,for its part, the officials said, has decided to address the Trump administration’s concerns by buying oil and gas worth $4 billion a year from the US and also facilitating the purchase of 300 civilian jets worth $40 billion.
During his meetings with US trade representative Robert Lighthizer and secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross in Washington this month, commerce minister Suresh Prabhu agreed with his hosts that the only way to address trade concerns was through a comprehensive dialogue.

On US concerns over India buying the S-400 missile systems from Russia, South Block officials agreed that “this was not an ideal situation” but said that both sides were open to having a candid discussion given India’s legacy issues.
Although US sanctions against Iran will kick in on November 4, senior Indian diplomats said the US is not threatening India over purchase of crude oil from Tehran; Washington is aware that New Delhi had already cut down its oil intake from the Islamic Republic to 6% of the total oil it imports before the sanctions were lifted when Iran signed its deal with the US when Barack Obama was in power.
Even now, India imports only 18% of its crude oil from Iran. Before the dialogue was postponed, the talks on Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) had recorded forward momentum towards closure by the end of this year and hardware acquisition through the foreign military sales route had been finalized with the two countries involved in advanced Malabar and RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) naval exercises.
It has also been decided that both India and the US will closely collaborate on a maritime security architecture through the Indo-PAC Command of the US Navy.
“ India-US relations are multi-faceted and on a vast canvass. It is normal to have differences over some issues. But saying US is threatening India (and that the postponement of the talks is one embodiment of this) is an overexaggeration of the facts on ground,” said a top Indian diplomat dealing with US.
Put More Effort To Stop Migrants From Entering U.S. - Pence Tells Central American Leaders

Put More Effort To Stop Migrants From Entering U.S. - Pence Tells Central American Leaders

Mike Pence demanded more from Central American leaders on Thursday during a meeting about the growing number of migrants being detained at the U.S. border, a situation that has flared into a political and humanitarian crisis for the Trump administration.
Mike Pence, Jimmy Morales
Pence's visit came at the conclusion of a swing through Latin America during which he has warned migrants not to risk their lives by trying to enter the United States illegally. He met Thursday evening with the leaders of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, the home countries of the majority of the migrants detained on the southwest U.S. border.
Speaking at a press conference following a round-table meeting, Pence said, "I told the presidents I met here that this exodus has to end. It is a threat to the security of the United States, as we respect your sovereignty and your borders, we demand you respect ours."

A technical error allowed journalists to listen in on part of the meeting where Pence called on the use of technology in border areas to track human traffickers. He asked Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández to select a "stable" and "independent" attorney general and complained that the United States was "seeing real threats that we have to secure our borders from."
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heard saying, "We know that family separation is a difficult issue, but that would not be a problem if [migrants] seek asylum correctly."
A follow-up meeting in Miami next week to discuss the Alliance for Prosperity was also considered.
Pence called on the three Northern Triangle presidents to be more active and had a message for people considering the journey north. "Our nations need your countries to do more [on the issue of migration]," he said. If you want to come to the United States come, but come legally. Don't risk your lives or your kids' lives, don't leave them in the hands of human traffickers or drug traffickers."
In reply, Hernández said, "The trafficking of arms, people and narco-trafficking are the problems that we must strike at the root of. To put into context, we face a monster of several heads and faces and one of those faces is drug trafficking."

Some Central American leaders have been criticized domestically for their lukewarm initial reactions to the crisis as migrant parents have been separated from their children under the Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy. While Trump has since suspended the family separations, at least 2,500 children are still being kept in shelters as their parents frantically try to find them.
Guatemala's president, Jimmy Morales, sacked his spokesman for initially saying his government agreed with the zero-tolerance policy, which seeks criminal prosecution of people illegally crossing the border. El Salvador's deputy foreign minister, Liduvina Magarin, has publicly called on citizens to not travel illegally across the U.S. border, and complained that conditions in shelters were "totally inadequate."
On Tuesday, during a stop in Brazil on his tour, Pence told migrants in the nation to "build their lives in their home countries."
At least 465 of the more than 2,500 children who were separated from their parents at the border are from Guatemala. However, this figure is not believed to include those in Border Patrol custody, which could add many more to the total.
Fernando Carrera, a former Guatemalan foreign minister, said that merely warning migrants not to travel illegally to the United States would have little effect.

"You have to increase resources massively to reduce poverty and violence" that push people to leave their homes, he said. But he added that many children seek to reach the United States because they have family members there.
Morales is hoping the Trump administration will provide temporary legal status for Guatemalans who are living in the United States, following the eruption earlier this month of the Fuego Volcano, which left at least 109 dead and hundreds missing. However, the Trump administration has recently ended similar programs it had established years ago for Salvadorans and Hondurans, making it unlikely a new one will be approved.
The U.S. government has provided billions of dollars in aid to the three Central American countries over the past decade. But they suffer from extreme violence, poverty and political instability.
In the past couple of months, violence has grown in Guatemala, with signs emerging that gangs have even infiltrated Guatemala's military. That may help to explain a spike in migration. Other experts point to traffickers who tell their clients they are more likely to be allowed to stay in the United States if they arrive with children.
There has been a 71 percent year-on-year increase in deportations from the United States to Guatemala in the first five months of 2018.
"Many small communities from rural areas in Guatemala have already migrated to the U.S. and that will always lead to the desire of many people to travel and reunite no matter what the conditions are in the country of origin," said Pedro Pablo Solares, who works for Puente Norte, a nonprofit that assists Guatemalan migrants.
Merkel Got a Respit at Home as EU Leader Reach Immigration Deal

Merkel Got a Respit at Home as EU Leader Reach Immigration Deal

A migration deal patched together by European Union leaders early Friday appeared to have won German Chancellor Angela Merkel a respite in the toughest battle of her political career.
Angela Merkel
EU leaders after nine hours of negotiations agreed to help coastline countries, notably Italy, by redistributing some of the migrants rescued in the Mediterranean, provided they are placed in detention.
In parallel, the EU said it would seek to set up reception centers in North African countries where most migrants rescued at sea would be sent back to. Those centers, called “disembarkation platforms,” will be run together with United Nations agencies that will ensure that people are housed in humane conditions while awaiting repatriation or resettlement to European countries.
This effort is aimed at curbing the migrant influx that fueled the rise of populist parties across Europe, reshaping the political landscape and putting mainstream leaders such as Ms. Merkel under severe pressure.

“Italy is no longer alone,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said at the end of the meeting at which at one point he held up other decisions until an agreement on migration was found.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who played a significant role in brokering the deal, said that the agreement was an important milestone.
“Many had predicted that no agreement would be found and national measures would prevail. Tonight we managed to reach a European solution,” he said.
The deal was held up by Central and Eastern European governments, which opposed any form of migrant quotas and insisted that the system of distribution of migrants brought to EU’s shores be voluntary, according to diplomats familiar with the talks.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he was pleased with the agreement, because migrants would be distributed on a “voluntary basis” and any decisions on the bloc’s asylum system will be taken by consensus among all EU countries.
“It was a long and difficult discussion. I am happy that there are many countries in Europe who insist that the flow of people is reduced,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, one of the proponents of sending people back to North African shores.
As part of Friday’s agreement, Ms. Merkel obtained pledges from around a dozen countries, including Greece and Spain, to speed up procedures to take back migrants who were first registered on their soil but then moved and applied for asylum in Germany.
“No asylum seeker has the right to choose in which country he will apply in,” said Ms. Merkel. She said there was still “a lot to do to bridge the various points of view” on the bloc’s asylum overhaul.
The agreement is expected to placate the chancellor’s critics from her own conservative bloc at home, headed by the interior minister, Horst Seehofer.

Mr. Seehofer, chairman of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Ms. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, handed her an ultimatum that expires Monday. He demanded that the chancellor broker a European deal to keep immigrants at bay, or he would order the unilateral closure of Germany’s borders to some newcomers—a move that would force Ms. Merkel to fire him and trigger a collapse of her fragile coalition.
Ms. Merkel was due to speak to Mr. Seehofer later Friday and their parties are scheduled to meet separately in Berlin and Munich to assess the deal and decide the fate of their fragile coalition.
But even as it is likely that Ms. Merkel will calm the rebels and retain her post, her authority has been eroded during the weeks of acrimony. She called an emergency migration summit of EU leaders who were willing to meet her in Brussels last Sunday, to prevent the collapse of her chancellorship.
The weakening of Ms. Merkel’s position as the bloc’s pre-eminent leader has boosted Mr. Macron, who has styled himself as the continent’s new pro-European voice and deal maker.
Ms. Merkel’s woes began with her 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders to Syrian refugees, which, according to her critics at home and abroad, contributed to a spike in the already large migratory movements from the Middle East and Africa.
Over 1.4 million people have sought asylum in Germany since then, a development that fueled the surge of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany, which won nearly 13% at last September’s general election that saw the worst results for Ms. Merkel’s and Mr. Seehofer’s parties.