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Migrant clashes in port city leave 4 people shot, 18 others injured

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…As 4 Ukrainians return home after 6 years captivity in Libya***

Four people were shot and 18 others injured Thursday in clashes among dozens of migrants in the northern port city of Calais, according to French authorities.

The brawl broke out around 3 p.m. local time between migrants from Afghanistan and Eritrea, and gunshots ensued. The four migrants who were shot were transported to a local hospital. They remained hospitalized Friday, a spokesperson for the Pas-de-Calais prefecture told ABC News.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb arrived in Calais on Friday night to meet with local authorities in the aftermath of the fight. He praised the police officers who intervened in the brawl, noting that 84 officers have been wounded in Calais in the past two years.

Some 9,000 migrants lived in the infamous “Jungle” makeshift camp in Calais before authorities dismantled it in October 2016. Around 500 migrants still live in the area, according to authorities, though charity groups put the figure closer to 800.

French President Emmanuel Macron has made clear he will not tolerate another such camp being constructed in Calais, which in recent years has hosted thousands of migrants attempting to gain access to the United Kingdom.

“In no case will we allow another ‘Jungle’ here,” Macron said in a speech during a visit to Calais last month.

Authorities routinely dismantle smaller camps built by migrants in the Calais area, and there have been reports from charity groups and migrants that abuse has occurred in the process. Police officers have allegedly used pepper spray on the migrants and confiscated their blankets, shoes and food — accusations which authorities have repeatedly denied.

The migrants have the option of going to reception centers where they can apply for asylum in Calais or elsewhere around the country. But many refuse to go to the centers and instead set up small camps near Calais, with hopes they’ll be able to use the port city as a gateway to cross the English Channel to the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, four Ukrainian citizens have returned home after being held hostage in Libya for over six years, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

“The four men were released by the joint efforts of Ukrainian diplomats and the country’s Foreign Intelligence Service,’’ the ministry said in a statement, without giving further details.

According to local media, the men were oil industry workers.

Since the 2011 uprising that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government, Libya has been plagued by escalating violence and unrest as well as political division.

Additional report from ABC

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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’

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The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin

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Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel

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A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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