The issue of migration into Europe has been in the news lately, and now there’s a controversy in France after police seized a teenage girl who was on a school field trip and expelled her along with her family to their native Kosovo.
The French government says the Dibrani family’s application for asylum was rejected – and they had refused to leave. Le Monde reported that several teachers at the school in Pontarlier published an open letter of protest over the manner in which the 15-year-old girl was taken on Oct. 9.
The family, who are Roma, a group that often faces discrimination across the continent, entered France illegally in January 2009. Their initial application for asylum was rejected that August; a subsequent appeal was rejected January 2011. Two months later, their request for review was rejected again. In September of that year, they were told to leave France, an order reaffirmed in February 2013.
The girl’s father was detained first and expelled Oct. 8. Police then detained the rest of the family, but one of the girls was away on a field trip. Police met the school bus as it was returning and took the girl and expelled her, along with the rest of her family, from France.
The government of Socialist President Francois Hollande is coming under fire for the manner in which the expulsion was handled.
There’s been much said in the U.S. about the impact of the suspension of some aid to Egypt, and the impact it has on U.S. standing in Egypt and the wider Arab world.
But what do Egyptians think?
In an interview with state-owned Al-Ahram, Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy says the strain in relations between the two countries will affect U.S. interests in the region. He said:
“At the same time, I am not very worried about this unrest in relations. The Egyptian people will not hesitate to bear the consequences of such a situation in order to preserve their freedom of choice after two revolutions.
“In addition, this unrest will equally serve Egypt and the U.S. because both will reconsider and better estimate their relationship in the future.”
Fahmy told the paper the U.S. will continue to maintain contact with Egypt because it is “the heart and mind of the Arab world” and, similarly, in the words of the newspaper, “Egypt realizes that the U.S. is a key world power.”
We’ve told you about Kenya’s current tussle with the International Criminal Court. That story continues to make waves in the East African nation, as both its president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, faces charges at The Hague-based ICC of instigating and financing deadly tribal violence in Kenya after that country’s disputed 2007 election.
Naturally, this has not gone over well in Kenya – or in the continent as a whole. As NPR’s Gregory Warner reported, leaders of the African Union asked the U.N. Security Council to suspend the case, and instructed Kenyatta to boycott his own trial if the U.N. doesn’t answer its request to delay the trial by at least a year.
But that case at the ICC names another Kenyan, radio journalist Joshua Sangm, and the AU says it won’t take up his case, the Kenya TV network reports.
The reason, according to Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed, is: “that case is personal and until that situation changes … it cannot be subject of discussion of the African Union.” She noted that when Kenyatta and Ruto were charged they too were private citizens, but the situation changed upon their election victory in April.
It’s an odd problem for politicians to have (and one that members of the U.S. Congress might have trouble understanding): You’re so popular that your constituents don’t want you to run for president. But that’s the dilemma in Indonesia facing Jakarta Gov. Joko Widodo.
The Kompas newspaper says Jakarta residents find the governor friendly and willing to hear the complaints of citizens. They worry that if he’s named as a presidential candidate, his replacement won’t be as good.
The governor, widely known in the country as Jokowi, is seen as a front-runner in the 2014 general election, though he hasn’t personally committed to running.
More politics, this time from New Zealand – and this time a story we’re more used to seeing.
Television New Zealand reports on the resignation of government minister John Banks who was ordered to stand trial for alleged electoral fraud. Here’s more from the channel:
“The charges relate to donations from internet millionaire Kim Dotcom and SkyCity Casino towards Mr Banks’ Auckland mayoral campaign against Len Brown in 2010.”
Prime Minister John Key said Banks made the right decision to resign from his positions as associate commerce minister, associate education minister, regulatory reform minister and small business minister.
“He could have argued that he was going to gut it out because he claims strongly that he’s innocent,” Key said. “But realistically for a minister to be in the Government and defending potentially a fraud charge, I think, you know, he made the right decision to offer his resignation.”
More background on the case:
“John Banks may well be wishing he had never met Kim Dotcom, a man he was once seemingly close to, and who donated $50,000 to Mr. Banks’ failed 2010 mayoral campaign.
“It is alleged Mr Dotcom’s donation and a $15,000 one from SkyCity were recorded on Mr Banks’ electoral return as anonymous when in fact he knew who they were from – an offence under the Local Electoral Act. …
“The nub of the case will be is proving John Banks knowingly filled in a false return. The onus is on the candidate to make sure the form is correct. But Mr Banks’ lawyers will strongly argue that even if the report was false, which they dispute, Mr Banks had no knowledge of that.”
In Brazil, O Globo reports on 56 arrests following protests that turned violent in Sao Paulo.
The newspaper’s website said the protest, which was called by the students of the University of Sao Paulo, began peacefully but “ended with vandalism and trespassing.”
The Associated Press said masked members of the anarchist Black Bloc threw gasoline bombs, rocks, bottles and wood at police.
Four police were injured. The newspaper said authorities did not record the cases of injured demonstrators.
The students were demanding better pay for teachers and affordable housing.