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  • Israel to make massive push to promote Ethiopian integration

    PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu participates in a ministerial committee meeting aimed at promoting the integration of Ethiopian immigrants. (photo credit:AMOS BEN GERSHOM, GPO)

    The ministerial committee to promote the integration of Ethiopian citizens into Israeli society today approved three hundred million shekels in spending toward the goal of bridging the gap between Ethiopians and the rest of Israeli society.

    According to plans presented by Prime Minister’s Office director-general Eli Groner, programs for Israeli-born Ethiopian citizens will be moved to the relevant ministries from the Immigrant Absorption Ministry.

    The government will seek to improve Ethiopians’ access to education and healthcare, and to provide services at a higher level, the government announced.

    The number of Ethiopian teachers will be increased, and the number of students who graduate from high school will be raised, the government said. Schools in which there is a high proportion of Ethiopian students will receive budget increases.

    Many of the changes will be overseen by a committee whose members will be at least half Ethiopian.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chastised Welfare and Social Services Minister Haim Katz for showing up only shortly before the end of the meeting.

    “Where is he, in the protest tent?” Netanyahu said in a reference to Katz’s participation last week in a demonstration held outside the prime minister’s residence organized by settlement leaders who have set-up a protest tent outside his home.

    “It is a disgrace that the welfare minister does not come to this discussion,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying.

    Ethiopian MK Avraham Neguise said that while he approved of the effort, he was concerned about its implementation, stating that he wanted to see ”detailed plans rather than just lines and rules presented.”

    MK David Amsalem, chairman of the Knesset Interior and Environment Committee, on Sunday connected the issue of Arab unrest in Israel to that of immigration from Ethiopia.

    “I am currently in Gondar, Ethiopia in order to regulate the emigration of thousands of Ethiopian Jews so desperate to reach their homeland and reunite with their families.

    The solution to terrorism is to encourage the immigration of Diaspora Jews and massive construction in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria communities,” the lawmaker said.


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  • EU plans 1.8 billion-euro migrant, border fund for Africa

    BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is planning to set up a 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) fund to help Africa nations better manage their borders and help reduce the number of migrants heading for Europe.  

    The EU's executive Commission is also expected to publish on Wednesday a list of "safe countries" including Albania and Kosovo, from where thousands of people have fled this year. A safe country endorsement would mean that few asylum applications by people originating from those countries are likely to succeed, as their nationals would be hard pressed to justify violence or persecution against them. 

    "The aim is to improve stability and address root causes of irregular migration flows," the Commission says of the fund, in a draft text obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday. 

    The money would focus on northern Africa and Horn of Africa countries like Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia. 

    Around 100,000 migrants have been rescued so far this year crossing the central Mediterranean from northern Africa. 

    The draft text says the EU also expects the 28 member states to provide money for the plan. 

    The full list of "safe countries" is Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey. 

    Almost 50,000 people from Kosovo applied for asylum in the EU in the first three months of this year. More than 21,000 did so in Germany, which is welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees. 

    Thousands of Albanians have also sought asylum in recent months. 

    The Commission is also set on Wednesday to propose sharing 120,000 people in need of international protection between EU countries, as well as an additional, permanent plan obliging countries to share refugees in times of future emergency. 

    A large majority of member states would have to accept the plans. 

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  • Eritreans protected after Ikea attack - BBC

    The Ikea store in the Eikslund shopping centre re-opened on Wednesday but police surveillance continued

    Police in central Sweden have increased security at refugee accommodation centres after two Eritrean asylum seekers were arrested on suspicion of murdering two people at an Ikea store.

    Local officials feared a backlash from "dark forces" who wanted to exploit the case, police chief Per Agren said.

    A mother and son died in the knife attack which took place inside an Ikea store in Vasteras on Monday.

    The store has temporarily stopped selling knives following the killings.

    It re-opened on Wednesday and manager Mattias Johansson said he hoped staff and customers could return to "as normal a day as possible".

    Security around the store was stepped up, while police officers also strengthened surveillance at refugee camps in the region, including at the centre where the two suspects live.

    Read more from BBC

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  • Rescue hopes fade for migrants after boat capsizes in Mediterranean

    Seven ships and three helicopters were said to be involved in the rescue

    Search teams in the Mediterranean say they don't expect to find any more survivors from a boat carrying around 600 migrants which sank off Libya.

    Officials initially feared hundreds had drowned but the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said 400 people were rescued.

    The Italian coast guard said 25 bodies have been recovered so far but it is unclear how many people are missing.

    More than 2,000 migrants are said to have died in 2015 trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe.

    Wednesday's incident occurred when the packed fishing boat ran into rough weather about 15 miles (25km) from Libya's coast.

    A distress call was picked up in Sicily and one of the first ships on the scene was an Irish navy vessel, the LE Niamh. But as she launched her boats, the migrants apparently moved to one side of the fishing boat, causing it to capsize.

    "Those that were on deck would have managed to jump, some of them drowned and some of them were saved," said Martin Xuereb of the Migrant Offshore Aid Station in Malta, one the groups involved in the rescue effort.

    "I think it's unlikely that any additional survivors will be picked up."

    Seven ships as well as helicopters have been involved in the search operation.


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  • WHO: Ebola Vaccine 'Promising'

    World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Margaret Chan addresses the media on WHO's health emergency preparedness and response capacities in Geneva, Switzerland, July 31, 2015.

    Researchers said an experimental Ebola vaccine has shown to be "highly effective" at preventing the deadly disease.

    The World Health Organization said Friday that the vaccine has so far been 100 percent effective in trials conducted in Guinea. The British medical journal Lancet has published preliminary results and analyses.

    The new vaccine "may be the silver bullet against Ebola," said Børge Brende, the foreign minister of Norway, one of several countries involved in the trials.

    The Ebola outbreak that swept through West Africa last year has killed more than 11,000 people, most of them in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

    Ebola is one of a number of highly dangerous viruses known as hemorrhagic fevers. There are hopes the new vaccine may be a breakthrough in combating all such diseases.


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