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UK PM’s plan to push back refugee boats

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The UK has vowed to forge ahead with refugee boat pushbacks in the English Channel – despite warnings it would lead to more drownings

Ticker’s UK correspondent Simon Anderson

Just last week – 27 migrants died trying to cross the English Channel after the their boat capsized, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson says distinctions will be made between legal and Illegal migrants

Boris Johnson doubled down on the plan to push back refugee boats coming across the English Channel – even as the proposals face multiple legal challenges.

New laws would make it illegal “facilitate the entry of Asylum seekers” by bringing them on shore – even if not done for payment or criminal gain. In effect, making the act of rescuing someone illegal.

However, the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has bowed to public pressure and has tabled an amendment to protect the Royal National Lifeboat Institute and other charities from prosecution.

Footage taken several weeks ago has emerged purporting to show a lifeboat launch being prevented by a protester shouting anti-immigrant slogans

Recently a witness named only as Zoe called a radio station to say she saw fishermen preventing the lifeboat from leaving to attend a rescue.

However, local fishermen in the area told a local newspaper that the incident was being blown out of proportion.

One of them told a local newspaper they were throwing undersized fish back into the water when the lifeboat crew yelled at them to move – which the fishermen thought was rude and an argument broke out.

The same fishermen also said that the anti-immigrant chants were being shouted by a single passerby, unconnected to the group of fishermen.

The RNLI has become a bit of a polarised symbol in political discussions about asylum seekers crossing the channel.

Some anti-immigrant spokespeople, including Nigel Farage have labelled the lifeboat service ‘taxi service’ for migrants in the past

In response, the RNLI says it rescues anyone in distress at sea without judgement.

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Tonga welcomes more foreign aid as recovery continues

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Aid is trickling into Tonga from around the world, as more governments deploy ships and flights to the island nation following the massive tsunami on Saturday

The underwater volcano explosion triggered tsunami waves across the Pacific, claiming the lives of at least three people in Tonga.

The wild weather event caused significant damage and crippled communications – the true extent of the damage is still unknown.

A New Zealand vessel which is expected to arrive on Friday is the first major supply ship to pending to dock.

The captain of the HMNZS Aotearoa had earlier told ticker NEWS partner Reuters that the ship was carrying 250,000 litres of water, along with other supplies. The UN says clean water supplies are the top priority for the Pacific nation.

Australia has also deployed its largest ship, the HMAS Adelaide.

The vessel set sail bound for Tonga on Friday. The ship can carry helicopters which can be deployed from the ship to bring supplies to Tonga’s smaller outer islands.

That vessel is due to arrive mid-next week.

The UK also announced on Friday it was also redeploying its HMS Spey to the Tongan response and had sent aid supplies ahead with the Australian ship.

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17 dead after immense explosion rocks western Ghana

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17 people have died in Western Ghana after a truck carrying mining explosives collided with a motorcycle sparking an explosion

The explosion has left hundreds of buildings destroyed, many feared to be trapped among the rubble.

The accident happened around midday, near the mining city of Bogoso, 300km west of the West African country’s capital of Accra.

The exact number of casualties so far stands at 17, with authorities on the ground confirming another 59 are in hospital.

However, the head of the Prestea Huni-Valley municipal government where the explosion took place, Isaac Dsamani, told local media that officials had counted “about 17 dead bodies” so far.

According to reports, at least 57 who were injured had been taken to local hospitals.

More than 500 buildings have been destroyed.

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Ivanka Trump to be investigated

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The US House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots is now requesting to speak with Ivanka Trump

Ivanka is Donald Trump’s daughter and was a senior White House advisor during the insurrection.

The request marks a major step forward in the investigation, as the panel closes in on the former president and his inner circle.

The committee publicly released a letter addressed to Ivanka… seeking “voluntary cooperation”.

The letter also includes testimony regarding Trump’s efforts to pressure former Vice President Mike Pence on the morning of the attack.

A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump has refused to respond as to whether the former president’s daughter will cooperate.

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