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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Venezuelan military personnel named to oversee food distribution
by Staff Writers
Caracas (AFP) Sept 4, 2016


Europe 'close to limits' on refugee influx: Tusk
Hangzhou, China (AFP) Sept 4, 2016 - Europe is "close to limits" on its ability to accept new waves of refugees, EU President Donald Tusk said Sunday, urging the broader international community to shoulder its share of the burden.

"The practical capability of Europe to host new waves of refugees, not to mention irregular economic migrants, is close to limits," he told a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

A steady stream of refugees has flowed into Europe over the last year, largely fleeing from the civil war in Syria.

The issue has become a political hot potato for leaders in the region as a series of Islamist terror attacks and rising anti-globalisation sentiment have combined to create an increasingly inhospitable environment for refugees from the brutal conflict.

The highly publicised drowning of a three-year-old Syrian boy last year temporarily softened hostility to migrants, after pictures of his corpse lying on a Greek beach rapidly became an emblematic image of the suffering involved in their journeys.

Germany threw open its borders and volunteers across Europe flocked to train stations and frontier crossings to welcome those fleeing war and poverty.

But a major backlash swiftly followed. The EU's outer borders have since come back down hard, the so-called Balkan migrant route has shut and anti-migrant sentiment has soared.

Tusk said there were 65 million displaced people around the world, and "the G20 community should scale up its share of responsibility".

"We have enough space for all parties to discuss these problems including China," he said, calling for financial assistance and development aid for migrants' countries of origin. "Only global efforts will be able to bear fruits."

Recent comments from leaders in Germany and Italy have signalled a hardening of attitudes about how to resolve the migrant crisis reshaping politics across Europe.

In March, the EU and Turkey signed a controversial deal aimed at stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.

Venezuela on Saturday named publicly 18 military commanders to oversee the production and distribution of food and basic goods in an effort to alleviate severe shortages affecting the country.

Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez selected the military personnel for the "Great Mission of Sovereign Supply and Security," appointments formalized in the state newspaper.

"We will have thorough, precise control of the strategic areas," Padrino Lopez told journalists Saturday.

"This semester we will record supply levels greater than what we presented in the first semester, and next year, we will already have a structure to increase projection and improve distribution."

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro created the plan to combat severe shortages -- which private firms say have hit 80 percent -- of basic products like rice, sugar and toilet paper that has fueled mounting unrest.

The embattled Maduro blames the crisis on the collapse of oil prices and an "economic war" by businesses backed by US "imperialism."

The country's opposition seeks to unseat the leftist president with a referendum, staging this past week a mass demonstration in favor of holding a recall vote.

Venezuelans line up at dawn or even overnight outside the nation's supermarkets, guarded by heavily armed police to battle the growing problem of looting.

Many people resort to purchasing scarce products from "bachaqueros" -- black-market sellers who buy subsidized products and sell them at a mark-up.

The government launched in July a new plan against the shortages, putting the military in control of food distribution, the country's key ports, and of companies and factories.

According to state television, 660 private companies, 133 public companies and 2,467 food outlets have been audited since then, leading to 102 individual arrests.

Maduro says the military will make things right, arguing that the private sector controls 93 percent of distribution of basic goods and is killing the economy with hoarding and scalping.

But the opposition and entrepreneurs say the problem is low production, which they blame on price controls and a lack of dollars to buy imported goods.

Francisco Martinez, president of the business association Fedecamaras maintains that operating companies are working between 30 and 40 percent of their capacities because of challenges acquiring raw materials.


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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
Europe 'close to limits' on refugee influx: Tusk
Hangzhou, China (AFP) Sept 4, 2016
Europe is "close to limits" on its ability to accept new waves of refugees, EU President Donald Tusk said Sunday, urging the broader international community to shoulder its share of the burden. "The practical capability of Europe to host new waves of refugees, not to mention irregular economic migrants, is close to limits," he told a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 summit. A ... read more


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