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Coast Guard vital for coastal trade, maritime security: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu

PANAJI: Union minister for railways Suresh Prabhu[1] on Tuesday asserted that in the next 10-15 years, India would be one of the top three economic powers in the world but for India to achieve that goal, a multi-modal coastal transport remained a vital cog. Speaking while commissioning Indian Coast Guard[2] ship Shaunak[3] at Goa Shipyard Limited[4], Prabhu[5] said that coastal security was key to India’s security and economic prosperity.

“I believe that in the days to come, based on the way our economy is growing currently, in 10-15 years, India will be the second or third largest economy in the world. Trade has always been an important factor for the economic development and international trade will be equally important,” Prabhu said while interacting with the media.

Most of India’s import and export trade passes through the country’s major shipping ports along the country’s eastern and western coast. “If you see, quite a large part of the rail network runs along the coast and in a way, the coast guard[6] helps protect this rail network. Multi-modal transportation is going to be an important thing… Rail infrastructure is susceptible and the Coast Guard helps in its protection,” Prabhu said. Stay updated on the go with Times of India News[7] App. Click here[8] to download it for your device.

References

  1. ^ Suresh Prabhu (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  2. ^ Indian Coast Guard (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  3. ^ Shaunak (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  4. ^ Goa Shipyard Limited (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  5. ^ Prabhu (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  6. ^ coast guard (timesofindia.indiatimes.com)
  7. ^ News (play.google.com)
  8. ^ here (get.timesofindia.com)

Canada-US border the final frontier for refugee-seekers

SAINT-BERNARD-DE-LACOLLE, QUE. Security officials scrambled on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border Monday morning when two men, a young woman and an infant made their way to the busiest hole in the frontier.

On the American side, the group was flagged to the U.S. Border Patrol. Agents intervened and brought them in for questioning and verifications to ensure that they were legally in the country, said Norman Lague, an officer with the agency.

When they passed the inspection, the group loaded their three backpacks, the baby s diaper bag, a stroller and car seat into a silver taxi van and continued along Roxham Road, a dusty dead-end street, on their way to Canada.

It is a version of the scenario that happens now several times a day every day here near the Quebec town of Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle a taxi arrives, a family emerges, luggage is hauled across a border that is nothing more than a ditch, the RCMP arrests the asylum seekers, and takes them to be processed into an already overloaded system.

Read more:

Montreal becomes third Canadian sanctuary city for non-status refugees[1]

Toronto not truly a Sanctuary City, report says[2]

How Canada should react to Trump and refugee crisis: Opinion[3]

But despite the heartwarming photos of police officers helping with young children, or offering an arm to negotiate the slippery snowbanks, it appears that the status quo is starting to stress Canada s border protection and refugee-intake system.

From corporals to a staff sergeant to an inspector, the Mounties who spoke to reporters during a media tour Monday were too stoic to admit such a thing. But Brad Cutris, an acting division chief with the U.S. Border Patrol said it loud and clear from the American side of the border in response to questions lobbed at him a few feet away in Canada.

A solution would be great, he said.

Like what? a Radio-Canada journalist asked, while teetering on the snowy bank of a creek running between the two countries.

I wish I knew, ma am. I m not a policy-maker.

Monday s group of stunned and likely frightened border crossers was greeted in Canada by many of the nation s media outlets, plus a few American journalists who were visiting to better understand that the U.S. is not alone in having people streaming across its borders.

The tour for reporters began at the RCMP s emergency operations centre in downtown Montreal, where the force showed off its remote surveillance capabilities, including high-resolution cameras and regular helicopter patrols.

Cpl. Fran ois Gagnon, a media spokesperson with the force, told reporters that the increase in illegal border crossings into Canada has been the greatest in Quebec. It has meant more work for patrol officers but not more than the force can handle, he emphasized.

But when the tour moved on to Roxham Road a once-unknown country street that has become Canada s version of Ellis Island for some migrants Gagnon was among the dozen RCMP officers thrust into action when unexpected border-crossers arrived.

The 13 dramatic minutes from the time that the migrants taxi pulled up to the border in the U.S. to the time they were driven away in Canada was captured by frenzied photographers and television cameras.

Unlike other asylum seekers who obtain tourist visas to travel to the U.S. and make their way directly to Canada upon arrival, this group appears to have been living south of the border for some time.

One of the men who had pulled his black toque down to hide his face told Cpl. Gagnon that he was from Eritrea and had been living in the U.S. since 2013. Another RCMP officer who seized the border-crossers passports held a Minnesota drivers licence and what appeared to be a Sudanese passport in his hands.

At Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec s largest border crossing, Canada s newest refugee claimants would have been taken to the basement of a decommissioned building that has been set up with couches, offices, computers and vending machines to process the elevated number of refugee claimants.

Normally, the Canada Border Services Agency sees between 10 and 20 claims per day, said Dominique Fillion, an enforcement officer with the agency. Last month there were 452 asylum seekers who made claims at that particular border crossing. The agency will not say how many of those people crossed into Canada illegally.

Fillion said the CBSA has been redeploying agents from others posts and duties to help fingerprint, photograph and process the increased number of refugee claimants.

Every day we get more officers coming in, she said.

Like the RCMP, Fillion would not, or could not say if the agency is looking at any long-term solutions to ease the demands on the system.

Refugee advocates in Canada and the U.S. have urged the federal government to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, which forces refugees to make their claim in whichever country they first reach. That would remove the need for asylum seekers to sneak into Canada in order to exploit a loophole in the deal.

Ottawa has so far rejected such calls, but there is increasing pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau s Liberals to develop a plan that will reduce the illegal and sometimes dangerous crossings.

Illegal crossings are unsafe and a burden on local communities, MP Tony Clement, the Conservative party s public safety critic, wrote on Twitter over the weekend. Our laws should be enforced.

References

  1. ^ Montreal becomes third Canadian sanctuary city for non-status refugees (www.thestar.com)
  2. ^ Toronto not truly a Sanctuary City, report says (www.thestar.com)
  3. ^ How Canada should react to Trump and refugee crisis: Opinion (www.thestar.com)

Jordan confronts protesters, finds no common ground

Jordan Confronts Protesters, Finds No Common GroundChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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FREMONT, Ohio (CNN) – Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan acknowledged protesters outside two events in his home district Monday — a break with many other Capitol Hill colleagues who have largely avoided such scenes — but was met with shouts of disapproval. The Ohio Republican, a 10-year veteran of the House and one of its most ardent conservatives, spoke with what his staff and protesters estimated were upward of 150 demonstrators in Marion, Ohio, at the historic home of former President Warren G. Harding. He then headed about an hour north where he talked briefly with a much smaller group of protesters at the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio, before heading into a presidential trivia contest for children (which prompted his former Democratic opponent to claim he was using the kids as “human shields”).

Jordan’s tour of his sprawling Ohio district Monday showed the dilemma for lawmakers eyeing up a repeat of the tea party protests which swept Democrats out of power in Congress in 2010 — but with the fire and the threat coming from the left this time. And it also shows how deep the anger has bled into staunchly conservative territory. Jordan beat his Democratic opponent 68 percent-32 percent last year and President Donald Trump won the district by a similar margin. The first hint of trouble for Republicans came two weeks ago, when Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz was confronted by hundreds of angry protesters at his town hall. Since then, Republican lawmakers have canceled town halls, while others have split town entirely — heading on Congressional delegation trips to spots like the Mexican border and Europe. Meanwhile, some Republicans have fully embraced the fury: Rep. Mark Sanford huddled hundreds of protesters at his South Carolina town hall this past weekend, even walking outside to address an overflow crowd.

Jordan didn’t give it the “Full Sanford” Monday, but he did attempt some outreach — with varying success.

“They may not agree with me, we may share different perspectives,” Jordan said, as a group of protesters laughed outside the Hayes Library. (“No, we don’t agree with you,” yelled one woman, interrupting Jordan.)

“But they’re allowed under the first amendment to speak up, and my job is to listen and tell them where I’m at,” Jordan said, which resulted in one man mocking him: “Listen and give the party line, no real reasons, no in-depth analysis.”

The sight of hundreds of protesters packed outside the Harding presidential home earlier in the day was compelling enough, Jordan said, for him to take questions from the angry crowd. But protesters claimed they had to force him to address them. As Harding Home director Sherry Hall attempted to read through a history of Harding from the wraparound porch, with Jordan by her side, angry protesters chanted at the “Stop Reading!” and yelled “Hold a town hall!” according to video of the event taken by one group of protesters. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell implored his Republican colleagues last week to face protesters and address them (even though he isn’t hosting any town halls himself — opting instead for a trio of closed-door fundraisers).

But the House of Representatives’ chief security officer urged House lawmakers to coordinate police protection for their public events while they were back in their home states. (A pair of Fremont police cars pulled up to Jordan’s second event, but the small number of police just watched while a few dozen protesters milled around outside.)

The showdowns are likely to be a common sight this week — with town halls in Arkansas, New Jersey and Florida acting like magnets for irate Democrats and even some independents who stayed out of politics until Trump took the White House.

Cheryl Laugherty, 62, a retired librarian from Fremont, Ohio, said she didn’t get active in protesting until Trump emerged as a force last year. Since his election, she’s been organizing with other women in northwest Ohio, and stood with a small group protesting Jordan in Fremont.

“It’s been off and on through the years, but his (Trump’s) behavior on the campaign trail this year just clinched it for me. I could not tolerate the way, like he made fun of the handicapped columnist, just things he said,” Laugherty said. “And it hasn’t changed, the belittling of people and the nicknames. It’s juvenile. It’s juvenile bullying.”

Jordan said Monday that it’s up to other Republicans to decide what they want to do, but suggested they honor the First Amendment and hear out the protesters. But Laugherty and others gathered outside the Hayes home Monday quickly pointed out that Jordan has yet to schedule any town halls himself.