Tag Archives: crackdown

Immigrants Who Escaped The Texas Camp Crackdown Are Facing Another Set Of Dire Circumstances In Mexico

Immigrants Who Escaped The Texas Camp Crackdown Are Facing Another Set Of Dire Circumstances In Mexico

Fernando Llano / AP

A Haitian immigrant wades across the Rio Grande to Ciudad Acuña, Mexico.

The 35-year-old father weighed his options: head back into the US, where he could be sent back to Haiti, or stay in Mexico as authorities closed in around him and other immigrants.

Wood, who declined to give his full name out of fear of retaliation from the US or Mexico for speaking out, said he didn’t have a plan but needed to form one if he’s to take care of his wife and two daughters.

“I’d like to stay here in Mexico, but I’m scared because I don’t have permission to be here, Wood told BuzzFeed News. “But the US may deport us. I don’t know what to do.”

Like hundreds of immigrants who left the camp in Del Rio, Texas, this week in an attempt to avoid being flown to Haiti, the walls are closing in on them, this time from the Mexican side of the border. Immigration agents, flanked by armed soldiers and police officers, conducted day and nighttime raids on the streets of Ciudad Acuña, where they have been detaining and flying immigrants to southern Mexican states. For days, immigrants have been going back and forth across the precarious Rio Grande, moving to whichever side of the border seems friendliest.

On Thursday before dawn, Mexican immigration agents drove into the camp flanked by local police and the National Guard. The immigrants, most of them Haitian, who had been living at a park in Ciudad Acuña, were startled awake. The presence of Mexican authorities was enough to scare some of them back to the US side of the border, a place they had previously abandoned after the Biden administration started to send back hundreds of immigrants to Haiti. No one was detained at the park, but the threat loomed.

The Biden administration has moved thousands of immigrants from the Del Rio area to other parts of the border, to be processed into the country or removed. It has relied, in large part, on the Title 42 policy, which cites the pandemic as the reason for allowing border agents to quickly turn back asylum-seekers, to clear the camp in Del Rio of thousands of Haitians. In a matter of days, the US flew almost 2,000 immigrants back to Haiti. On Friday, more flights were expected to the country, which has been struggling following an earthquake and presidential assassination.

Rodrigo Abd / AP

Students gather before the start of classes in the Sante Bernadette school inside Fort Dimanche, which was once a prison, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sept. 23, 2021. The sparse conditions show how far the country has to go as it rebuilds after an earthquake in mid-August.

On Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that the camp underneath the Del Rio International Bridge had been cleared and that no migrants remained there. Since Sept. 9, nearly 30,000 immigrants had been encountered in Del Rio, Mayorkas said. Another 8,000 had returned to Mexico voluntarily, and 5,000 others were waiting to be processed, which means they’ll either be expelled or allowed to remain in the country.

Mayorkas added that over 12,000 immigrants who had entered the US would have their cases heard.

He maintained that the use of Title 42 was necessary due to the pandemic and that it was not an immigration policy. He also noted that the policy allowed for exceptions.

On Thursday, a Mexican immigration agent, who only gave BuzzFeed News his last name, Rodriguez, said they, alongside the National Guard and local police, showed up at the park in Ciudad Acuña before dawn and frightened immigrants awake because the US was conducting an operation in Del Rio, and they were worried people would drown trying to get back into Mexico.

But their early morning presence had the opposite effect on some immigrants who had waded across the Rio Grande to get back into Del Rio, Texas. Mexican authorities soon blocked their access, cutting a yellow rope that immigrants had used to cross the river.

Although many Haitians had initially left their homes to go to Brazil or Chile after the 7.2 magnitude earthquake, immigration policies in those countries had become more restrictive in the last five years, according to a 2021 report on Haitian women’s migration. The report, published by the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, said the tighter restrictions led many Haitians to head to Mexico.

Jose Torres / Reuters

Immigrants from Central America, Haiti, and Cuba line up outside the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance to apply for asylum and refugee status in Mexico.

One of them was Wood, whose 12-year-old daughter fainted from dehydration last week at the camp in Del Rio.

“If you go out onto the streets of Haiti, you have to pray to come back,” he said.

Wood immigrated with his family to Chile, where he tried to make a living — but without legal status there, finding a well-paying job was difficult.

He has considered going back to Chile, but that would mean having to travel through the Darién Gap, a jungle that UNICEF describes as one of the most dangerous routes in the world. It was the most difficult part of the journey up to the US–Mexico border, Wood said, adding that criminals violently rob immigrants and rape women in the region.

“It’s something you cross once in your life, not twice,” he said.

Standing in the camp Wood had been sleeping in with his family, Rodriguez, the immigration agent, said authorities had established a shelter in Ciudad Acuña for those who wanted to leave the park they had been camping in. He also said the immigrants could continue their refugee application process with the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance, but they would need to do so in the city of Tapachula in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

But Tapachula is a prison city for immigrants who don’t have documentation to leave the state or authorization to work. If they try to leave without paying smugglers thousands of dollars, they have to contend with National Guard troops. There have also been violent confrontations for years between immigrants trying to leave and Mexican authorities, under pressure from US officials, who are trying to keep them from heading north. Last month, Mexican officials condemned the “inappropriate” actions of their agents after they violently clashed with immigrants in Tapachula.

Jose Torres / Reuters

Mexican agents detain a member of a caravan of immigrants and asylum-seekers who were hoping to reach Mexico City and obtain paperwork that would allow them to travel the country. Immigrants had grown tired of waiting for the documents in Tapachula.

When Rodriguez told a group of immigrants they would have to go back to Tapachula if they hoped to complete their refugee process, they collectively groaned and protested, knowing what was waiting for them there.

Diana, 30, of Colombia said she sold water in Tapachula in an attempt to cover her rent of about $ 200, but it was difficult. Waiting to complete the refugee process takes months, and all the while they have to find a way to make a living without work authorization, she said.

“How do you expect us to survive?” Diana asked Rodriguez. “We have nothing, and then we try to leave and the National Guard beats us up.”

Read more here BuzzFeed News

Website that offers Sky TV for just £40 a year targeted in new crackdown

Website that offers Sky TV for just £40 a year targeted in new crackdown

Premiumcccam was being run from Serbia with ACE saying that this is the first time they have closed down a service in the country. ACE executed a cease and desist operation near Belgrade, Serbia, followed by immediate cooperation from the operator.

Anyone now visiting the site will be disappointed to discover that all the content has now been replaced by the ACE logo and a message telling users the site has been closed.

ACE is backed by some of the biggest names in film and entertainment including Amazon, Apple TV+, BBC Worldwide, Fox, Netflix, Paramount Pictures, Sky, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

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This post originally posted here Daily Express :: Tech

US sanctions Chinese officials over Hong Kong democracy crackdown

The United States has imposed sanctions on seven Chinese officials over Beijing’s crackdown on democracy in Hong Kong. This is Washington’s latest effort to hold China accountable for what it calls an erosion of rule of law in the former British colony.

The sanctions, posted by the US Treasury Department on Friday, are aimed at individuals from China’s Hong Kong liaison office, used by Beijing to orchestrate its policies in the Chinese territory.

The seven people added to Treasury’s “specially designated nationals” list were Chen Dong, He Jing, Lu Xinning, Qiu Hong, Tan Tienui, Yang Jianping, and Yin Zonghua, all deputy directors at the liaison office, according to online data.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Chinese officials over the past year had “systematically undermined” Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, delayed elections, disqualified elected legislators from office, and arrested thousands for disagreeing with government policies.

“In the face of Beijing’s decisions over the past year that have stifled the democratic aspirations of people in Hong Kong, we are taking action. Today we send a clear message that the United States resolutely stands with Hong Kongers,” Blinken said in a statement.

The Treasury Department referred to a separate updated business advisory issued jointly with the departments of State, Commerce, and Homeland Security that highlighted US government concerns about the effect on international companies of Hong Kong’s national security law.

Critics say Beijing implemented that law last year to facilitate a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and a free press.

The advisory said companies face risks associated with electronic surveillance without warrants and the surrender of corporate and customer data to authorities, adding that individuals and businesses should be aware of the potential consequences of engaging with sanctioned individuals or entities.

The actions were announced just over a year after former President Donald Trump ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special status under US law to punish China for what he called “oppressive actions” against the territory.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on other senior officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and senior police officers, for their roles in curtailing political freedoms in the territory.

Hong Kong officials previously called those US sanctions “hostile acts of hegemony”.

Earlier on Friday, Xia Baolong, the director of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, was quoted by Hong Kong Free Press as saying that sanctions will “only evoke our anger”.

“You would only lift a rock and drop it heavily on your own feet. The long river of history has proven countless times that victory must belong to the indomitable Chinese people!” Xia said in a speech.

Also on Friday, Hong Kong’s national security police searched the University of Hong Kong’s student union, after the government and university officials denounced students for allegedly sympathising with a man who stabbed a police officer in early July.

Broken commitment

President Joe Biden said at a news conference on Thursday that the Chinese government had broken its commitment on how it would deal with Hong Kong since it returned to Chinese control in 1997.

China had promised universal suffrage as an ultimate goal for Hong Kong in its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which also states the city has wide-ranging autonomy from Beijing.

Since China imposed the national security law to criminalise what it considers subversion, secessionism, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces, most pro-democracy activists and politicians have found themselves ensnared by it or arrested for other reasons.

Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s most vocal pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to end a 26-year run in June amid the crackdown that froze the company’s funds.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a news conference in Beijing before the actions were formally announced that the US should stop interfering in Hong Kong and that China would make a “resolute, strong response”.

US sanctions Chinese officials over Hong Kong democracy crackdownThe US has already imposed sanctions on other senior officials, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and senior police officers, for their roles in curtailing political freedoms in the territory [Isaac Lawrence/AFP]

A source told the Reuters news agency on Thursday that the White House was also reviewing a possible executive order to facilitate immigration from Hong Kong but that it was still not certain to be implemented.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is preparing a visit to Japan, South Korea and Mongolia next week. The State Department’s announcement of her trip made no mention of any stop in China, which had been anticipated in foreign policy circles and reported in some media.

A senior State Department official told reporters on Friday that Washington was still in talks with Beijing over whether Sherman would visit China.

The US government on Tuesday also strengthened warnings to businesses about the growing risks of having supply-chain and investment-links to China’s Xinjiang region, citing forced labour and human rights abuses there, which Beijing has denied.

“We hope that any additional US actions related to Hong Kong will remain targeted, and that Washington will avoid policy choices detrimental to Hong Kong’s people,” Anna Ashton, the vice president of government affairs at the US-China Business Council, said about the advisory issued on Friday.

The South China Morning Post newspaper also said that the latest decision was greeted with a “collective shrug” from analysts.

The Hong Kong-based news publication quoted former US Consul General in Hong Kong Richard Boucher as saying: “Every time there’s some news of China putting more pressure on Hong Kong, there’s commensurate pressure on the US side to do something. But they’re running out of things to do.”

Other analysts were also reported as saying that the move is more symbolic, as the US is “caught between pressure to respond to Beijing’s clampdown and a business community still seeking market access.”

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This post originally posted here Al Jazeera – Breaking News, World News and Video from Al Jazeera

Binance crackdown widens in Europe and Hong Kong

Binance crackdown widens in Europe and Hong Kong

Regulators in Lithuania and Hong Kong on Friday became the latest to crack down on Binance, further complicating one of the largest global cryptocurrency exchange’s efforts to do business in key jurisdictions around the world.

Lithuania’s central bank said a Vilnius-based Binance payments affiliate was providing “unlicensed investment services” in the country. Hong Kong’s markets regulator also issued a warning over the exchange’s stock tokens trading programme, which had earlier in 2021 faced scrutiny in the UK and Germany. Binance said it would shut down the tokens scheme for “commercial” reasons.

The latest censures, which follow similar moves from Italy on Thursday and from the UK last month, may further limit Binance’s ability to link up with the traditional financial system.

Global financial watchdogs have expressed concern over issues including securities rules and consumer protections. At the same time, Binance has struggled to keep its compliance function on a par with its rapid growth, people familiar with its operations have said.

The warning from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority in June, while limited in scope, proved to be the first in a string of major regulatory and private-sector responses to one of the world’s biggest crypto market participants.

It prompted high-street banks Barclays and Santander to restrict their customers from sending funds to the Cayman Islands-incorporated company. Clear Junction, a UK payments group that had connected Binance to major euro and sterling money transfer networks, also cut the exchange off this week.

“We take a collaborative approach in working with regulators and we take our compliance obligations very seriously,” the exchange said on Friday.

Most of the group’s trading is in crypto assets and sophisticated derivatives connected to them, but Binance relies on traditional and generally regulated companies to allow customers to put hard currency on to the exchange.

Lithuania’s intervention could damage this connection to payments entities in Europe. The affiliate Binance UAB, which is owned by chief executive Changpeng Zhao, acts as a payment “agent” for the group, according to the exchange’s website.

The exchange told the Financial Times that Binance UAB “does not provide investment services and it does not operate or control Binance.com”. However, the articles of association for the entity, filed last year, say its main activities include “investing in virtual assets” and the “establishment of funds to invest in virtual assets”. The exchange’s terms of service had also described the company as a Binance “operator” — which it defines as “parties that run Binance” — up until at least July 5.

The group said Lithuania’s warning “does not directly impact the services provided on Binance.com”.

Binance also has ties to Lithuania through Contis, which issues the group’s Visa-branded debit card. The card is available throughout the European Economic Area, a bloc that includes EU members and other countries in the region.

Contis says on its website that cards in the EEA are issued through an affiliate licensed by the Lithuanian central bank. Contis declined to comment on its relationship with Binance.

Also on Friday, Binance said it would shut down its stocks platform, which lets users buy and sell tokens reflecting the share price of companies such as Tesla and Apple. The announcement came at roughly the same time as Hong Kong’s warning about the programme.

The FT first reported in April that European regulators were scrutinising Binance’s stocks tokens. Germany’s financial watchdog, BaFin, said the tokens probably violated securities rules. Binance told the regulator its view was based on a “misunderstanding” of the product and called on BaFin to retract its notice. However, BaFin declined to comply.

Adam Samson can be reached at [email protected] or on Telegram @adamsamsonFT.

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This post originally posted here International homepage

LGBTQ in China lament ‘dark day’ after social media crackdown

Chengdu, China – A week ago without warning, WeChat, a popular social media platform in China, permanently suspended the official accounts of more than a dozen college LGBTQ groups, igniting a new round of debate on the country’s already threatened community.

The suspensions largely affected groups almost entirely run by students, including at prestigious academic institutions such as Tsinghua and Peking universities. The groups’ missions, according to their brief introductions, were “advancing gender equality and sexual minorities’ rights.”

Several students who run the LGBTQ group accounts told Al Jazeera that they had not previously received any warnings from the relevant authorities about any possible suspension.

Mary, a student who was involved in one of the suspended groups, says that while there had been “chatter” on campus on regulating “groups that advocate for sexual minorities’ rights” for a few months before, nothing had materialised.

“It came as a surprise, but at the same time, not so much,” said Mary, who preferred not to use her real name for security reasons. “We knew the LGBT rights movement was hitting obstacles one after another in China, but we thought at least by being university-affiliated, we could be exempt from any overt crackdown.”

Like Mary, everyone else who spoke Al Jazeera did so on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity surrounding LGBTQ issues.

These accounts now carry the tag “unnamed official account,” with a single message appearing beneath – “all content has been censored for the account’s violation of ‘internet official account information service management regulations.’” All the articles previously published on the platforms, mostly on gender issues and LGBTQ rights, have disappeared.

As in previous crackdowns in China, any effort to try and document the move was soon snuffed out, too. Some accounts were suspended simply for compiling a list of the accounts that had been deleted.

Neither the government nor Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, has given an explanation for the suspension.

People at groups that escaped the crackdown told Al Jazeera they were preparing for the worst.

One worker at a prominent LGBTQ group said he had started making copies of all articles published on their platform, currently numbering more than 1,000. Another went on Taobao, China’s e-commerce platform and paid someone to download all the articles, with topics ranging from health to political rights advocacy, on a number of accounts that she feared could be officials’ next targets.

LGBTQ in China lament ‘dark day’ after social media crackdownStudent-led accounts for the LGBTQ community were erased from China’s online platforms overnight on July 7 [File: How Hwee Young/EPA]

For now, it is only the groups’ online presence that has been smothered but many groups are concerned that authorities could be preparing for a broader crackdown on campus events and activities by LGBTQ groups. People such as Mary say they are working hard to ensure “other activities go on as scheduled.”

“This is a dark day for us, and I don’t know if there’s anything I could do other than reaching out to my friends and comforting them,” Kevin, a gay man in Chengdu, told Al Jazeera, after hearing the news.

The online crackdown on the community caused an outcry on China’s social media.

Many voiced their support for the groups, even as they worried about the further encroachment into civil society.

“After years of having worked at this organisation and seeing my colleagues being interrogated, censored, forced to delete articles, I will never forgive this [country],” said a person who worked at another group that had fallen victim to the censorship.

Some others expressed their concern about the all-encompassing state censorship machine.

“What I fear most about this place is its ability to wipe out something just by snapping its finger,” wrote one user on Douban, another Chinese social media platform. “The something being a person, a group of people, an organisation, or even an ethnic group.”

Low-key Pride

Chinese government’s attitude towards the LGBTQ community shifts frequently. From time to time, the government has equated homosexuality with violence and obscenity, censored depictions on television and allowed books to refer to homosexuality as a kind of mental illness. However, at the same time, the government’s attitude towards the community is not always overtly hostile and Beijing has, by and large, left the community alone.

Since 2009, Shanghai has been marking Pride Month, which normally falls in June in most countries, with film screenings and public talks, although without the parade that is central to the celebrations elsewhere. Last year, the organisers were forced to halt the celebration due to COVID-19 restrictions.

But not everyone is supportive of the community.

LGBTQ in China lament ‘dark day’ after social media crackdownThe online crackdown singled out student groups at universities including the prestigious Peking University [File: Roman Pilipey/EPA]

There are many who fully endorse the government’s crackdown. Some people with big followings on Weibo are quite content with, if not ecstatic about, the latest development. “So glad that the government is finally taking some action on the LGBT organisations,” wrote Ziwuxiashi, a Weibo account with more than 500,000 followers. “The grief from [the supporters of the community] is our song of triumph!”

China’s more conservative forces have often exhibited a vehement hatred towards homosexuality or gender nonconformity for an alleged “agenda to destroy traditional values,” according to some vocal opponents of the movement, including some that brand themselves as science writers such as Vaccine and Science, an account with more than five million followers.

There remains no legal recognition of same-sex relationships or marriage but as people have become more socially liberal in recent years, those hostile to the LGBTQ community have shifted away from their “traditional values” argument.

A sampling of conversations happening on- and offline makes clear that another viewpoint is gaining traction: a suspicion that the LGBTQ community, especially on college campuses, is the pawn of a so-called “foreign hostile force” that could disrupt Chinese society and therefore needs to be carefully regulated.

“To target these groups is a good move because these students have learned so many bad things from foreign powers and are becoming their agents,” one user commented on Weibo.

‘Go-to tactic’

In recent years, the idea that feminism and LGBTQ equality are all products of Western ideology and their mere existence in China will destroy society has been widely shared, and as Beijing warms to the idea of assigning domestic discontent to meddling by foreign powers, their voices are being amplified.

“To advocate for equality is to stage colour revolution, to support feminism is the infiltration of Hong Kong independence movement, and to be pro-LGBT community is to receive monetary support from [US President Joe] Biden,” Wu, an organiser for an LGBTQ rights advocacy group in Shanghai, told Al Jazeera, describing some of the accusations levelled at them. “To label ordinary people with political marks, and then persecute them – that’s [the government’s] go-to tactic.”

Since Xi Jinping became president in 2012, political power has become even more centralised and the Communist Party increasingly sensitive to groups and organisations – from religion to culture and community – that could potentially pose as threats to its grip.

LGBTQ in China lament ‘dark day’ after social media crackdownDespite the crackdown, people in the LGBTQ community retain a sense of optimism. ‘Love and hope are not that easy to take away,” they said [File: How Hwee Young/EPA]

A report on China’s LGBTIQ movement published this month by ILGA Asia, the regional arm of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, found “limited visibility of LGBTIQ issues in social media and online activism is in a vulnerable state due to strict censorship by the authoritarian government.”

On social media, for example, instead of being called “couples” or “boyfriends,” same-sex partners are described as “roommates” to deliberately make the “gayness” less visible.

“This is [the government’s] implicit tactic of including homosexuality into the heteronormative narrative, thus ridding the LGBT group of their political voice,” wrote one WeChat user.

What awaits the group’s struggle for civil liberties in one of the world’s most tightly controlled countries remains uncertain. ILGA says that despite the “bleak scenario” there remain “opportunities” particularly in areas of violence and discrimination against the gay community and in legal rights advocacy.

And within the world’s largest LGBTQ community, people retain a sense of optimism.

“There are many things that could be stripped off of us, but love and hope – they are not that easy to be taken away,” said one person who works at an LGBTQ-focused NGO in Wuhan.

England fans pepper-sprayed by Spanish police -brutal crackdown on jubilant Euro 2020 fans

England fans pepper-sprayed by Spanish police -brutal crackdown on jubilant Euro 2020 fans

Armed police marched down Magaluf’s popular Penta Ballena strip in order to tame British tourists cheering on their semi-final victory. Dozens of armed officers, some holding truncheons, patrolled the neon-lit strip in an attempt to quell the raucous celebrations and ensure tourists kept to the pavement and remained clear of the road. One police officer was spotted using his pepper-spray on a bare-chested Brit. The man was pushed to the curb as his friends chanted: “Football’s coming home”.

After the spray was used, several partygoers could be seen pulling up their T-shirts to cover their mouths and rubbing their eyes in obvious discomfort as they left the area.

This wasn’t the only clash with the police, as one Brit could be heard shouting “I’ve just been hit by a baton” as the patrol officers cleared the street.

No arrests or reports of injuries were reported.

The Civil Guard was joined by the local town hall-employed police to try to maintain order, as the Brits celebrated another great performance by the Three Lions.

England fans appeared to ignore Spain’s Covid restrictions, with supporters celebrating without face masks or adhering to social distancing rules.

Fans also threw drinks over each other just moments after the final whistle blew, securing England’s place in the final on Sunday.

The show of strength by the police followed a regional government decision to extend special restrictions in place in popular party resorts in Majorca to Magaluf following the UK’s decision to put the Balearic Islands on its green travel list.

The new rules, which also to San Antonio in Ibiza, mean pubs and restaurants in these areas must shut at 2am unless the local council brings forward closing times.

JUST IN: Euro 2020 poll: Should Boris announce Bank Holiday to celebrate win?

Regional governors and local authority officials whose remit includes Magaluf have been urging UK holidaymakers to behave responsibly since the Balearic Islands went on the green list last week.

Police are expected to be mobilised in even greater numbers at the weekend for the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy.

The final will be watched by a home crowd at Wembley, with kick off commencing at 8pm.

Tourism bosses are keen to reinvent the reputation of the Balearics Islands, which are famed for some of its rowdy late night bar crawls and extravagant boat parties.

Young Brits often flock to the islands for week-long benders during the summer months.

Data released on Friday suggested tourist arrivals to the Spanish islands almost doubled from April to May, although they remained 83 percent below the number seen in May 2019.

Police estimate around 2,500 tourists made the trip to Magaluf over the weekend, much less than the 12,000 it normally attracts during the peak season.

Additional reporting by Natalia Penza

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