Clean up 'inhumane' migrant fruit-picker camps, U.N. official tells Spain after fires
MADRID (Reuters) - A U.N.
MADRID (Reuters) - A U.N. official censured Spanish authorities for allowing seasonal strawberry pickers to live in "inhumane" and potentially deadly conditions, after three fires broke out in migrant shanty towns in Andalusia.
The fires hit camps around the town of Huelva within five days last week, injuring at least four people, the southern region's emergency situations department said on Twitter.
Local governments needed to urgently improve the "deplorable conditions" endured in the strawberry townships before people died, U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Olivier De Schutter, said in a statement.
"This reality of fires and inhumane conditions in the shanty towns cannot be tolerated any longer."
Often dirty and dangerous, and lacking water, sanitation and electricity, such camps have been used as accommodation for Spain's seasonal fruit-pickers for many years.
"The situation is deteriorating alarmingly each day, made worse amid the COVID-19 pandemic," de Schutter said.
On Thursday, the health ministry acknowledged that their living and working conditions made fruit-pickers especially vulnerable to catching the coronavirus.
Spain is one of the European countries hardest-hit by the pandemic with more than 28,000 fatalities.
Since ending a three-month lockdown in June it has registered 281 new isolated outbreaks, over a quarter of which began in work environments.
(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; editing by John Stonestreet)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.