All 28 European Union member countries and Canada have reached a deal on the “Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.” Under CETA 99 percent of all tariffs will be removed. It is estimated that the deal will save agricultural and industrial exporters €500 million annually. The deal concluded in February after seven years of negotiations, but whether or not it would be enacted was temporarily in question after the Belgian region of Wallonia presented opposition. CETA will be officially ratified in December by the European Parliament and will be enacted provisionally by regional governments until then.
The world’s largest marine reserve will be established in Antarctica’s Ross Sea. The proposal was unanimously supported by 24 countries and the European Union during an international meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources in Hobart, Australia. The Ross Sea sanctuary is twice the size of Texas and represents the second such marine-protected area. The first was established in the Orkney Islands in the South Atlantic in 2009. Signatories to the agreement, which will take effect in December, include the U.S., Russia and China. The agreement has widespread support from both conservationists and fishermen. Some sections of the sanctuary will permit limited harvesting of fish and krill for scientific research with the remaining 72 percent forbidding harvesting all together.
The process of clearing and demolishing France’s Calais “Jungle” began on Monday after 17 years of intermittent moving and rebuilding of the informal refugee camp. The Jungle was located on France’s northern coast near the commercial truck entrance for the Channel Tunnel. Many of those living in the camp were refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Syria and Eritrea, who would attempt to board trucks passing through the Chunnel in order to get to Britain. French President Francois Hollande declared in September that the Jungle would be demolished by the end of the year with refugees being moved to reception and orientation centers around France. The Help Refugees Agency has estimated the total population ahead of demolition was 8,143, with approximately 1,500 being isolated minors currently housed in a container camp. The U.K. has agreed to take in about 250 children, but French officials are pushing for more commitment from Britain.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration and Border Protection Minister Peter Dutton announced new legislation to prevent “irregular maritime arrivals” from making valid applications for Australian visas. Asylum seekers in detention centers on Nauru and Manus Island will also be subject to the new legislation. The law would affect those who tried to reach Australia by boat since July 2013 and would block them from even obtaining business or tourist visas. Refugee advocates fear this new policy will push people, many of whom have been in limbo at the detention centers for over three years, over the edge. Of the 410 people held on Nauru, 15 percent reported to Amnesty International that they had either attempted suicide or contemplated self-harm. There are approximately 900 asylum seekers still detained on Manus Island.