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Phuket Gazette World News: British PM Cameron unveils sweeping immigration crackdown

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Phuket Gazette World News: British PM Cameron unveils sweeping immigration crackdown | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

British PM Cameron unveils sweeping immigration crackdown
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Prime Minister David Cameron will unveil a sweeping immigration crackdown today aimed at discouraging migrants from Romania and Bulgaria from moving to Britain when EU restrictions on their right to travel and work there expire next year.

Under his plans, access to Britain’s National Health Service will be curbed, new migrants will have to wait up to five years for social housing, fines for employers who hire illegal workers will be doubled, and landlords who let to illegal immigrants could face fines too.

The lifting of European Union freedom of movement restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians has triggered warnings in the right-leaning press of “hordes” of welfare-hungry migrants descending on Britain at a time when the economy is stagnant and public resources are being squeezed.

Cameron’s initiative reflects a change in the political mainstream after years of politicians shying away from the issue. All three main parties now talk tough on immigration after polls showed it had become one of voters’ main worries ahead of a 2015 election and a once derided anti-immigration party surged in the polls.

In a speech that may stir controversy in Romania and Bulgaria, Cameron will say he wants to stop Britain’s welfare system being “a soft touch” for migrants, saying that access to core public services is something newcomers should earn rather than automatically receive.

“Net migration needs to come down radically from hundreds of thousands a year to just tens of thousands,” he will say, outlining measures that will apply to other EU nationals too.

The UK Independence Party or UKIP, has thrived in the polls after campaigning against “open-door” immigration, humiliating Cameron’s ruling Conservative party in a vote for a parliamentary seat three weeks ago.

Cameron is expected to say: “While I have always believed in the benefits of immigration I have also always believed that immigration has to be properly controlled.

“As I have long argued, under the last government this simply wasn’t the case. Immigration was far too high and badly out of control.”

Something for nothing culture

He will announce new measures to make it more difficult for nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes Romania and Bulgaria, to claim welfare benefits after six months. They will take effect in early 2014.

He will also promise to close a loophole that allows some people who have no right to work in Britain to claim benefits and subject newcomers to a much harder test to see if they are eligible for income-related benefits.

“Ending the something for nothing culture needs to apply to immigration as well as welfare. We’re going to give migrants from the EEA a very clear message. Just like British citizens, there is no absolute right to unemployment benefit,” he will say.

Under the plans, newcomers would also have to wait for up to five years before they could join a waiting list for social housing, and face “stricter charging” to use the health service or be obliged to have private health insurance.

“We should be clear that what we have is a free National Health Service, not a free International Health Service,” Cameron will say.

His initiative has already been criticized by David Walker, the Bishop of Dudley, who told The Observer newspaper that politicians were exaggerating the immigration problem and considering “disproportionate” measures.

Last Friday, Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister and leader of the Liberal Democrat party, the junior member of Cameron’s coalition, said Britain was considering obliging visitors from “high-risk” countries to hand over a returnable cash bond to deter them from overstaying their visas.

He also abandoned a promise to amnesty illegal immigrants after ten years.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, said on Saturday that the unexpected success of his own party had shifted the debate on immigration.

“If UKIP had not taken on this immigration debate, the others would not be talking about it at all,” he told his party conference.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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World

15,000+ Covid-19 patients in Japan on waiting list for hospitals and health care accommodations

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15,000+ Covid-19 patients in Japan on waiting list for hospitals and health care accommodations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kyodo News

Thousands of people in Japan who are infected with Covid-19 are on the waiting list for hospitals or other accommodations for those with the virus due to the rising number of cases. Kyoto News conducted a survey and reports at least 15,058 are on the waiting list for proper treatment and accommodation.

The number of new infections in Japan has been growing sharply since last November. Last Tuesday, Japan saw a rapid increase of new infections, including Tokyo. According to the WHO’s report as of yesterday, Japan recorded 4,587 new cases, 360,661 confirmed cases and 5,019 deaths.

In Japan, local public health officials are in charge of arranging hospital stays and treatment for people infected with the virus as well as the appropriate accommodation for people with mild symptoms. The process of making those arrangements is taking longer, and the newly infected people are forced to stay home because of bed shortages. Some are reported dead in their houses.

A survey by Kyodo News found Tokyo had the most infected people waiting to be hospitalised or accommodated at other facilities, jumping 4.8 times from 1,563 as of December 19 to 7,539. Every prefecture has reported a similar rise.

On January 7, Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga declared a state of emergency for 11 prefectures out of a total of 47 prefectures until February 7. Under the state of emergency, people are asked to stay home and restaurants are urged to shorten their opening hours.

SOURCE: Kyodo News

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Anti-lockdown protests in the Netherlands turn violent, Covid-19 testing centre burnt down

Caitlin Ashworth

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Anti-lockdown protests in the Netherlands turn violent, Covid-19 testing centre burnt down | The Thaiger
Screenshot via The Independent

Violence broke out in the Netherlands and a Covid-19 testing centre was burnt down after a nationwide curfew was imposed over the weekend to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. In Eindhoven and Amsterdam, riot police deployed water cannons to disperse the crowds of anti-lockdown protesters.

The Netherlands has been under a tough lockdown since mid-December, leading to clashes between anti-lockdown protesters and police. Just last week, police in Amsterdam used the water cannon on hundreds of protesters. Local officials say the riot police had been called to break up the crowd because people weren’t abiding by social distancing measures.

On Saturday, a new 9pm to 4:30am curfew was imposed, tightening the already tough restrictions. As the curfew went into effect that night, rioters set fire to a portable coronavirus testing facility by a harbour in Urk, a fishing town around 80 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam. That night and early the next morning, 3,600 people in the Netherlands were fined for breaching the new curfew. Police say 25 people were arrested for breaching the curfew and violence.

Local officials say the riots in Urk were a “slap in the face, especially for the local health authority staff who do all they can at the test centre to help people from Urk.”

The next day, in the southern city Eindhoven, rioters threw rocks at police and set fires in the centre of the city. Riot police used water cannons and tear gas to break up the crowds. Rocks and shattered glass littered a central square in the city. At least 55 people were arrested, according to the Associated Press.

In the capital of Amsterdam, police used a water cannon to break up a group of anti-lockdown protesters. The Associated Press says more than 100 people were arrested.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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Crime

Asia’s biggest drug kingpin arrested in Netherlands

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Asia’s biggest drug kingpin arrested in Netherlands | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sky News

Asia’s biggest drug kingpin is under arrest in the Netherlands after years of authorities chasing him worldwide. 57 year old Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian citizen, was arrested by Dutch police acting on a request by Australia’s federal police.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime named him as the suspected leader of the Asian mega-cartel known as “Sam Gor”, a major producer and supplier of methamphetamines worldwide. Tse is commonly compared to the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Sam Gor is suspected of laundering billions in drug money through businesses such as casinos, real estate and hotels in Southeast Asia’s Mekong region. Australia’s federal police said Friday’s arrest came after a 2012 operation that arrested 27 people linked to a crime syndicate spanning five countries. The groups was accused of importing large amounts of heroin and methamphetamine into Australia, according to police.

“The syndicate targeted Australia over a number of years, importing and distributing large amounts of illicit narcotics, laundering the profits overseas and living off the wealth obtained from crime.”

The arrest of Tse Chi Lop almost 10 years after that operation’s launch is a major break for Australian authorities. The country’s attorney-general will now begin preparing a formal extradition request for the alleged drug lord to face trial.

Most of Asia’s meth comes from “Golden Triangle” border areas between Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and southwest China. The production of methamphetamine, either in tablet form or the highly potent crystalised “ice” version, take place in Myanmar’s eastern north Shan state. Ketamine and fentanyl are also produced there as well, mostly in ‘portable’ labs that hide underneath the thick rainforest canopy.

In 2018 alone, Thailand netted more than 515 million methamphetamine tablets, a number 17 times the amount for the entire Mekong region 10 years ago. Traffickers are constantly finding more creative ways to ship their products as drug busts are featured daily on the news in those regions.

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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