David Davis, U.K. exiting the European Union (EU) secretary, left, speaks as Michel Barnier, chief negotiator for the European Union (EU), looks on during a news conference following the sixth round of Brexit negotiations in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. Barnier said no breakthrough was made in Brexit talks this week, but progress was made on citizens’ rights and both sides are aiming for a deal in December. Photographer: Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg
Britain’s Brexit minister David Davis will meet the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Monday in London to discuss Britain’s exit from the bloc. Dario Pignatelli/Bloomberg

Britain has two weeks to make progress on EU divorce bill



The European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier raised the prospect of Brexit talks failing to reach a breakthrough, saying the UK has two weeks to come up with a better offer on the financial settlement.

Mr Barnier called for “real and sincere progress” on the three divorce issues, which include the separation bill, the rights of EU citizens and the Irish border, which has erupted back onto the agenda this week.

“I have to present a sincere and real picture on those three subjects to the European Council and the European Parliament. If that is not the case, then we will continue, and that will put back the opening of discussions on the future,” Mr Barnier said at a news conference in Brussels on Friday with Brexit secretary David Davis.

Little progress had been expected in this sixth round of talks, as the focus has been on whether a breakthrough will be possible by December. Earlier on Friday, Poland’s European affairs minister, who met Mr Davis in Warsaw this week, raised the prospect that talks wouldn’t move on to trade until March.

That would narrow the available time to hash out a trade deal almost impossibly, and make the transition deal that UK companies are crying out for of limited use. Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019, with or without a deal.

The issue of the Irish border, which had taken a back seat in recent months as the UK argued it would be easier to sort further down the line, came back on the agenda, as a memo that emerged late on Thursday made clear that the EU has adopted almost wholesale Ireland’s position.

Davis said they have had “frank” discussions on the border will become the UK’s only land frontier with the EU. The EU paper called for Northern Ireland to maintain the rules of the customs union and single market after Brexit to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

The EU’s demands on Ireland in the memo are all but impossible for Britain, unless the whole UK stays in the customs union, which Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out. Allowing Northern Ireland to stay in the customs union could mean putting a border between it and mainland Britain.

With Theresa May’s Conservative government being propped up by the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland, the ruling coalition would split before the DUP accepted such a border.

MR Davis made clear that the UK would reject any such solution. He struck a sunnier tone than Mr Barnier, saying “significant progress” had been made on all three divorce issues. He continues to reject the demand that the bill is sorted before talks can move on to trade.

Britain has about two weeks to improve its offer on the bill so that trade talks can get the green light at summit in December. With the EU asking for about 60 billion euros ($70 billion) and the U.K. so far offering about a third of that, the U.K. side will need to make concessions.

That will be hard to sell at home as voters were promised more money would be made available from Brexit -- rather than being left on the hook for bills -- and several high-profile figures in May’s Conservative Party are unwilling to offer the EU a settlement.

Forced Deportations

While the Lebanese government has deported a number of refugees back to Syria since 2011, the latest round is the first en-mass campaign of its kind, say the Access Center for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization which monitors the conditions of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

“In the past, the Lebanese General Security was responsible for the forced deportation operations of refugees, after forcing them to sign papers stating that they wished to return to Syria of their own free will. Now, the Lebanese army, specifically military intelligence, is responsible for the security operation,” said Mohammad Hasan, head of ACHR.
In just the first four months of 2023 the number of forced deportations is nearly double that of the entirety of 2022.

Since the beginning of 2023, ACHR has reported 407 forced deportations – 200 of which occurred in April alone.

In comparison, just 154 people were forcfully deported in 2022.

Violence

Instances of violence against Syrian refugees are not uncommon.

Just last month, security camera footage of men violently attacking and stabbing an employee at a mini-market went viral. The store’s employees had engaged in a verbal altercation with the men who had come to enforce an order to shutter shops, following the announcement of a municipal curfew for Syrian refugees.
“They thought they were Syrian,” said the mayor of the Nahr el Bared municipality, Charbel Bou Raad, of the attackers.
It later emerged the beaten employees were Lebanese. But the video was an exemplary instance of violence at a time when anti-Syrian rhetoric is particularly heated as Lebanese politicians call for the return of Syrian refugees to Syria.

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Company Profile

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Base: Dubai, UAE
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Company profile

Company name: Letswork
Started: 2018
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Founders: Omar Almheiri, Hamza Khan
Sector: co-working spaces
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Number of employees: about 20

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

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Other key dates
  • Finals draw: December 2
  • Finals (including semi-finals and third-placed game): June 5–9, 2019
  • Euro 2020 play-off draw: November 22, 2019
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Ways to control drones

Countries have been coming up with ways to restrict and monitor the use of non-commercial drones to keep them from trespassing on controlled areas such as airports.

"Drones vary in size and some can be as big as a small city car - so imagine the impact of one hitting an airplane. It's a huge risk, especially when commercial airliners are not designed to make or take sudden evasive manoeuvres like drones can" says Saj Ahmed, chief analyst at London-based StrategicAero Research.

New measures have now been taken to monitor drone activity, Geo-fencing technology is one.

It's a method designed to prevent drones from drifting into banned areas. The technology uses GPS location signals to stop its machines flying close to airports and other restricted zones.

The European commission has recently announced a blueprint to make drone use in low-level airspace safe, secure and environmentally friendly. This process is called “U-Space” – it covers altitudes of up to 150 metres. It is also noteworthy that that UK Civil Aviation Authority recommends drones to be flown at no higher than 400ft. “U-Space” technology will be governed by a system similar to air traffic control management, which will be automated using tools like geo-fencing.

The UAE has drawn serious measures to ensure users register their devices under strict new laws. Authorities have urged that users must obtain approval in advance before flying the drones, non registered drone use in Dubai will result in a fine of up to twenty thousand dirhams under a new resolution approved by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai.

Mr Ahmad suggest that "Hefty fines running into hundreds of thousands of dollars need to compensate for the cost of airport disruption and flight diversions to lengthy jail spells, confiscation of travel rights and use of drones for a lengthy period" must be enforced in order to reduce airport intrusion.

Kandahar

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