19 Oct

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective


Croatian police hold back migrants as Slovenian efforts to limit the number of arrivals and Hungary’s move to close its border prompts knock-on effects

A Croatian police officer clashes with migrants, who had spent a cold and muddy night at the border.

A Croatian police officer clashes with migrants, who had spent a cold and muddy night at the border. Photograph: Darko Vojinovic/AP

More than 10,000 migrants are currently in Serbia, stranded by limits imposed further west in Europe, the UN refugee agency said on Monday, and warned of shortages in aid.

Thousands of people clamoured to enter Croatia from Serbia on Monday after a night spent in the cold and mud, their passage west slowed by a Slovenian effort to limit the flow of refugees into western Europe.

“We can only say that there are more than 10,000 refugees in Serbia,” UNHCR spokeswoman Melita Sunjic said. “It is like a big river of people, and if you stop the flow, you will have floods somewhere. That’s what’s happening now.”

“There is a lack of food, lack of blankets, we are missing everything,” Sunjic said.

The refugees were held back by Croatian police, where refugee camps are full to capacity. In western Croatia, up to 2,000 more spent the night on a train stranded near the border with fellow EU member Slovenia, which was refusing entry.

With Hungary closing its border with Croatia to migrants at midnight on Friday, the unrelenting flow has been diverted to Slovenia en route to Austria and Germany, the favoured destination for many refugees from the Syrian war.

But Slovenia has imposed a daily limit of around 2,500 arrivals, saying it will only take in as many people as can then exit into Austria.

Slovenia said Austria was accepting a maximum of 1,500 people, far fewer than were previously entering from Hungary, although the Austrian interior ministry said it could not confirm this.

Upwards of 5,000 people are crossing the Serbian-Croatian border daily, from Greece where they arrive by boat from Turkey, into Macedonia and Serbia, which barely the capacity to cope……………..


Police say father knowingly stored loaded gun on top of refrigerator where kids could access it and has been charged with felony child endangerment

police tape

The father knowingly stored the loaded revolver on top of a refrigerator, police said. Photograph: Marty Bicek/Zuma Press/Corbis

Chicago police said a three-year-old boy died after being accidentally shot in the head by his six-year-old brother.

Authorities said the boy was carried by a relative to a hospital after being shot about 9.05pm on Saturday, and was later pronounced dead at a different hospital.

Police said the father knowingly stored a loaded revolver on top of a refrigerator where children could access it. He has been charged with felony child endangerment.

Police said the father would appear in bond court on Sunday. A police spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, said the father told told investigators he was a former gang member and felt he needed the gun to protect his family.

Guglielmi said the older boy and his younger brother wanted to play “cops and robbers” when one of them retrieved the loaded gun.

Guglielmi said police were trying to trace the gun.


Women come forward to tell of attacks by colleagues worldwide, and accuse NGOs large and small of failing to protect them

Women carry maize flour sacks during a food distribution to refugees and displaced people in Juba, South Sudan’s capital.

Women carry maize flour sacks during a food distribution to refugees and displaced people in Juba, South Sudan’s capital. Photograph: Samir Bol/AFP/Getty Images

Women working for international aid agencies are facing a hidden threat of sexual violence and harassment which their employers routinely ignore or sweep under the carpet, according to testimonies gathered by the Guardian.

While exact statistics on the scale of sexual assault in the sector are hard to come by, many working for humanitarian groups worldwide say sexual predation is an unreported and growing evil that needs to be addressed by those at the top.

Women have told the Guardian that organisations – from major international non-governmental organisations and UN agencies to smaller charities – are failing to support and protect their workers from sexual abuse. Victims who speak out are often labelled troublemakers.

One American aid worker, Sarah Pierce, said she was sacked this year by the Atlanta-based Carter Center after being raped by a colleague from a local NGO while working in South Sudan.

“I received little justice and no support,” said Pierce (not her real name). “It wasn’t ‘Are you OK? Do you need medical attention?’ After I continued to speak out about what had happened and the organisation’s failure to meet the basic duty of care to its staff, I was fired.”

The Carter Center insists it supported Pierce, adding: “She was provided medical treatment and encouraged and supported to seek counselling.” It refused to comment on why her contract was subsequently terminated, citing the need to maintain confidentiality in such cases………………


Commitment to setting a carbon price dropped and green groups remain critical that the statement amounts to little more than hot air

Oil and gas industry leaders arrive to attend a news conference during the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative summit in Paris

Oil and gas industry leaders arrive to attend a news conference during the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative summit in Paris. Photograph: Jacky Naegelen/Reuters

The heads of 10 major oil and gas companies have denied they are paying lip service to climate change initiatives while conducting business as usual.

Eight of the 10 companies’ CEOs met in Paris on Friday and issued a joint statement saying they would “play their part” in battling climate change, ahead of the United Nations climate summit which opens in November.

They also pledged their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the hope of limiting global warning to 2C.

But they dropped a commitment to putting a price on carbon that originally brought most of the group together. Six of the ten companies wrote an open letter earlier this year calling for governments to impose a price on carbon dioxide emissions.

Critics said the pledges by the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative were little more than hot air.

“The oil companies behind this announcement have spent years lobbying to undermine effective climate action, each and every one of them has a business plan that would lead to dangerous global temperature rises, yet suddenly they expect us all to see them as the solution, not the problem,” Greenpeace campaigner Charlie Kronick said.

“The world should thank them for their offer of advice but politely turn it down. Arsonists don’t make good firefighters.”

The oil and gas company chiefs gathered in Paris, however, insisted their commitment to reducing harmful emissions was sincere and said it was a unique occasion in which the companies, more used to competing, had decided to collaborate…………………

Ted Cruz says conservatives’ ‘volcanic rage’ fires rise of Trump – and him



Since I was a child I’ve endured treatment that goes way beyond prejudice and discrimination. Now I want the police to enforce the law

Victoria Wright

‘Three years on, I sometimes find myself feeling tense when using public transport, especially when it’s dark.’ Photograph: Victoria Wright

On Tuesday, Home Office statistics revealed that reported incidents of hate crime towards disabled people had risen by 25% , yet less than 4% of disability hate crime is actually reported to the police. For those of us who experience disfigurement-related hate crime, these statistics just scratch the surface of a much wider problem.

Severe facial disfigurement is considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010. Thanks to the campaigning efforts of the charity Changing Faces, the law recognises that people like me frequently experience prejudice, discrimination and hostility because of our facial disfigurements.

Since I was a child I’ve experienced bullying, threats of violence, intimidation, and verbal abuse on the street and on public transport. That this is because of the way my face looks, owing to a genetic condition doesn’t mean it should be dismissed as just “mocking”. It’s a disability hate crime. And three years ago, I finally decided to report it to the police.

“You can shut the fuck up, you ugly big-chinned bitch,” said the man on the bus, his grin as flashy as the ring on his left hand. Five minutes earlier, I’d been sitting quietly on the bus with my baby daughter asleep in her pram, when I’d overheard him making racist comments to two black women. I watched with horror as they left the bus in distress. So when I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I thought he was a racist scumbag and should get off the bus, his aggression turned to me.

This man wasn’t some dishevelled drunk (and I’ve experienced a few of those in my time). He was handsome, arrogant, sober and hateful. Being the big-chinned bitch that I am (technically accurate, I give him that) I took his photo on my mobile phone to use as evidence. He smiled for the camera.

Eventually, he left. I got off at the next stop and called the police. Two police officers came and I explained, in floods of tears, that I wanted to report it as a disability hate crime and a race hate crime (I felt it was important to acknowledge what he’d said to those two women as well). I showed them the photo on my phone………………….




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