FILE  - In this Saturday, June 30, 2018 file photo, an Open Arms lifeguard gives a thumbs-up to a migrant at the other end of a rubber boat in the middle of a rescue operation some 30 nautical miles off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea. The U.N. refugee agency says people smugglers are taking greater risks to ferry their human cargo toward Europe as Libya’s coast guard increasingly intercepts boats carrying migrants, increasing the likelihood that those on board may die on the Mediterranean journey. That’s one of the key findings from the latest UNHCR report about efforts to reach Europe. (AP Photo/Renata Brito, File)
The far-right politician suggested the idea at a press conference. AP

UN agency: Trips across Mediterranean fall but risks rise



The UN refugee agency said people smugglers were taking greater risks to ferry their human cargo towards Europe as Libya’s coastguard intercepts more and more boats carrying migrants, increasing the likelihood that those on board may die during the Mediterranean journeys.

The latest UNHCR report about efforts to reach Europe, released early Monday and titled "Desperate Journeys", said that even though the number of crossings and deaths had plunged compared to recent years, the voyage was more deadly in percentage terms for those who ventured across.

The report said 2,276 people died last year while trying to cross, or one death for every 42 arrivals.

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This year, it’s 1,095 deaths, or one out of every 18 arrivals. In June alone, the proportion hit one death for every seven arrivals.

On the Central Mediterranean route so far this year, there have been 10 separate incidents in which 50 or more people died — most after departing from Libya. Seven of those incidents have been since June alone, UNHCR said.

“The reason the traffic has become more deadly is that the traffickers are taking more risk, because there is more surveillance exercised by the Libyan coastguards,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s special envoy for the central Mediterranean. “They are trying to cut the costs: it costs them more to keep those people here longer in their warehouses, under captivity.”

Libyan authorities intercepted or rescued 18,400 people between August last year and July this year — a 38 per cent increase from the same period of 2016 and 2017. Arrivals by sea from Libya to Europe plummeted 82 per cent in those comparable periods, to 30,800 in the more recent one.

UNHCR said a growing worry these days was deaths on land by people trying to get to Libya in the first place, or getting stuck in squalid, overcrowded detention centres. Many are sent back there after failing to cross by sea to Europe.

“The problems after disembarkation [is that] those people are sent back to detention centres, and many disappear,” Mr Cochetel said. “Many are sold to militias, and to traffickers, and people employing them without paying them.”

He said the drop in departures meant that traffickers attempt to “monetise their investment, which means they have to exploit more people. That results in more cases of slavery, forced labour, prostitution of those people — because they [smugglers] want to make money on those people.”

Would-be workers and migrants are still pouring into Libya. Some are fleeing injustice, abuse or autocrats in their home countries further south in Africa. Others are looking for work in the oil industry or agriculture.

“I think you have more deaths on land,” Mr Cochetel said, referring to treks across the desert in Sudan, Algeria, Chad and Niger. “Many people in Libya are reporting having seen people dead in the desert on the way to Libya.”

Mr Cochetel said Europe — where some countries have shown “appalling” squabbles about who would take in rescue ships carrying migrants — should look at the root causes of such journeys. European populations need to shun anti-migrant rhetoric and realise that figures are down sharply, and migrant flows are clearly manageable at current levels, he said.

“Europe has to show the lead, has to be exemplary in its response, but it’s quite clear that it’s already too late when the people are in Libya,” he said. “We need to work downstream in country of first asylum, in country of origin, and that takes time.”

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

23-man shortlist for next six Hall of Fame inductees

Tony Adams, David Beckham, Dennis Bergkamp, Sol Campbell, Eric Cantona, Andrew Cole, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Les Ferdinand, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard, Roy Keane, Frank Lampard, Matt Le Tissier, Michael Owen, Peter Schmeichel, Paul Scholes, John Terry, Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic, Patrick Viera, Ian Wright.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

The 10 Questions
  • Is there a God?
  • How did it all begin?
  • What is inside a black hole?
  • Can we predict the future?
  • Is time travel possible?
  • Will we survive on Earth?
  • Is there other intelligent life in the universe?
  • Should we colonise space?
  • Will artificial intelligence outsmart us?
  • How do we shape the future?
TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

AUSTRALIA SQUAD

Aaron Finch, Matt Renshaw, Brendan Doggett, Michael Neser, Usman Khawaja, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine (captain), Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Jon Holland, Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle

Know before you go
  • Jebel Akhdar is a two-hour drive from Muscat airport or a six-hour drive from Dubai. It’s impossible to visit by car unless you have a 4x4. Phone ahead to the hotel to arrange a transfer.
  • If you’re driving, make sure your insurance covers Oman.
  • By air: Budget airlines Air Arabia, Flydubai and SalamAir offer direct routes to Muscat from the UAE.
  • Tourists from the Emirates (UAE nationals not included) must apply for an Omani visa online before arrival at evisa.rop.gov.om. The process typically takes several days.
  • Flash floods are probable due to the terrain and a lack of drainage. Always check the weather before venturing into any canyons or other remote areas and identify a plan of escape that includes high ground, shelter and parking where your car won’t be overtaken by sudden downpours.

 

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

'Manmarziyaan' (Colour Yellow Productions, Phantom Films)
Director: Anurag Kashyap​​​​​​​
Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Taapsee Pannu, Vicky Kaushal​​​​​​​
Rating: 3.5/5

Profile of Whizkey

Date founded: 04 November 2017

Founders: Abdulaziz AlBlooshi and Harsh Hirani

Based: Dubai, UAE

Number of employees: 10+

Sector: AI, software

Cashflow: Dh2.5 Million+ 

Funding stage: Series A

Sheikh Zayed's poem

When it is unveiled at Abu Dhabi Art, the Standing Tall exhibition will appear as an interplay of poetry and art. The 100 scarves are 100 fragments surrounding five, figurative, female sculptures, and both sculptures and scarves are hand-embroidered by a group of refugee women artisans, who used the Palestinian cross-stitch embroidery art of tatreez. Fragments of Sheikh Zayed’s poem Your Love is Ruling My Heart, written in Arabic as a love poem to his nation, are embroidered onto both the sculptures and the scarves. Here is the English translation.

Your love is ruling over my heart

Your love is ruling over my heart, even a mountain can’t bear all of it

Woe for my heart of such a love, if it befell it and made it its home

You came on me like a gleaming sun, you are the cure for my soul of its sickness

Be lenient on me, oh tender one, and have mercy on who because of you is in ruins

You are like the Ajeed Al-reem [leader of the gazelle herd] for my country, the source of all of its knowledge

You waddle even when you stand still, with feet white like the blooming of the dates of the palm

Oh, who wishes to deprive me of sleep, the night has ended and I still have not seen you

You are the cure for my sickness and my support, you dried my throat up let me go and damp it

Help me, oh children of mine, for in his love my life will pass me by. 

Not Dark Yet

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Four stars

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

EVIL DEAD RISE

Director: Lee Cronin
Stars: Alyssa Sutherland, Morgan Davies, Lily Sullivan
Rating: 5/5

Real Madrid 1
Ronaldo (87')

Athletic Bilbao 1
Williams (14')