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US agents fire tear gas at asylum seekers across Mexico border | Mexico News





US authorities fired tear gas into Mexico on Tuesday as about 150 asylum seekers tried to breach the border fence. 

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement that tear gas was used to target rock throwers, not those attempting to cross the border south of San Diego, California.

A photographer of the Associated Press (AP) news agency saw at least three volleys of gas launched onto the Mexican side of the border near Tijuana’s beach that affected the migrants, including women and children, as well as journalists. The photographer said rocks were thrown only after US agents fired tear gas. 

For asylum seekers, wait continues on US-Mexico border (2:37)

CBP said “no agents witnessed any of the migrants at the fence line, including children, experiencing effects of the chemical agents, which were targeted at the rock throwers further away.”

The agency also said agents saw “toddler-sized children” being passed over concertina wire with difficulty. It said its agents could not assist the children because of the rocks being thrown. Agents responded with smoke, pepper spray and tear gas, it said.

About 25 people were detained by CBP. The incident is being reviewed by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility. 

Amnesty International called the use of tear gas “cruel and inhumane”. 

“The Trump administration is defying international law and orchestrating a crisis by deliberately turning asylum-seekers away from ports of entry, endangering families who see no choice but to take desperate measures in their search for protection,” Justin Mazzola, Amnesty’s deputy director of research, said in a statement. 

Migrants and refugees run as tear gas is thrown by US Border Protection officers to the Mexican side of the border fence [Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP Photo]

Migrants and refugees who spoke to the Associated Press said they arrived in Tijuana last month with a mass exodus from Honduras, initially dubbed a caravan. 

The exodus, which left Honduras in mid-October, grew to more than 6,000 members during its month-and-a-half trek north. It has been a constant target of US President Donald Trump, who has falsely labelled it an “invasion” and has sought to use it to sow fear and drum up support for his proposed border wall. 

Many Central Americans have told Al Jazeera they are fleeing violence, political persecution and extreme poverty. 

‘Where there’s life, there’s hope’ 

Those who have arrived in Tijuana to seek asylum in the United States have been told they may have to wait months before being allowed to make their claims. Rights groups and asylum seekers have accused the US government of stalling the asylum process, an allegation the US denies. 

The long process has prompted many to attempt to cross the border between official ports in hopes of making their asylum claims sooner. Others have found jobs in Tijuana while they want to apply at an official port. And others have made the journey home. 

Migrant caravan: Many struggling to cross into US (2:59)

“I haven’t seen my family in two months, but right now, God willing, we’ll reach our dream,” Marvin Ceballos, a Honduran asylum seeker, told Al Jazeera.

“If I’m caught, I can plead and fight for asylum. If I’m deported, I guess I’ll keep moving forward,” he said.

“Where there’s life, there’s hope.”

Last month, the Trump administration announced that it would send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait out their immigration proceedings. Details regarding the new policy, including when it would take effect, have not been disclosed. 

In November, US agents launched tear gas across the border after some migrants tried to breach the border following a peaceful march in Tijuana. Hundreds of migrants and refugees who were downwind of the gas were affected.

Trump is currently locked in a fight with congressional Democrats over funding for the border wall that he wants to build. The stalemate has led to a partial government shutdown.

On Friday, Trump threatened to seal the US-Mexico border “entirely” if Congress did not approve billions of dollars in funding for the wall.

Al Jazeera and news agencies


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Ottawa announces new funding to combat online child abuse





Ottawa has announced $22 million in funding to fight online child abuse.

Noting that police-reported incidents of child pornography in Canada increased by 288 per cent between 2010 and 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale made the announcement Tuesday.

It follows a London meeting last week that focused on the exploitation of children between Goodale and his counterparts from the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, collectively known as the Five Eyes intelligence group.

Major internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft, were also at the meeting and agreed to a set of rules the members of the group proposed to remove child pornography from the internet quicker.

On Tuesday, Goodale warned internet companies they had to be better, faster and more open when in comes to fighting child abuse on line.

In this Friday, Jan. 12, 2018 photo, detectives use the Cellebrite system to extract information from cellphones at the State Police facility in Hamilton Township, N.J. “Operation Safety Net,” the results of which were announced in December, netted 79 people suspected of exploiting children. (Thomas P. Costello/Asbury Park Press/Canadian Press)

“If human harm is done, if a child is terrorized for the rest of their life because of what happened to them on the internet, if there are other damages and costs, then maybe the platform that made that possible should bear the financial consequences,” Goodale said.

The government plan includes $2.1 million to intensify engagement with digital industry to develop new tools online and support effective operating principles, $4.9 million for research, public engagement, awareness and collaboration with non-governmental organizations and $15.25 million to internet child exploitation units in provincial and municipal police forces across the country.

Goodale said the strategy recognizes that technology is “increasingly facilitating the easy borderless access to vast volumes of abhorrent images.”

That, he said, makes investigations increasingly complex,

“This is a race where the course is always getting longer and more complicated and advancing into brand new areas that hadn’t been anticipated five years ago or a year ago or even a week ago,” Goodale said.

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Gas prices expected to dip in Ottawa





If you can wait an extra day to fill up the gas tank, your bank account might thank you.

Roger McKnight of Enpro is predicting a five cent dip in gas prices Wednesday night at midnight.

This comes after a four cent drop this past Friday, just ahead of the August long weekend.

McKnight said the reason for the drop, both last week and this week, is due to comments made by US President Donald Trump. 

He says after the drop, the price will be, on average, 118.9 cents/litre in the Ottawa region.

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Oka asks Ottawa to freeze Mohawk land deal, send RCMP to Kanesatake





The town of Oka is asking the federal and provincial governments to slap a moratorium on a proposed land grant to the local Mohawk community in Kanesatake and to establish an RCMP detachment on the First Nations territory to deal with illegal cannabis sales outlets.

The requests were contained in two resolutions adopted Tuesday night by the Oka town council.

The administration of Oka Mayor Pascal Quevillon held its first public meeting since the start of the controversy that pitted the town council against the Kanesatake band council over a decision by a local promoter to give local lands to the Mohawk community.

The three resolutions are addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Quebec Premier François Legault’s government and the Kanesatake band council led by Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon.

As each resolution was read into the record, Quevillon stressed that the town of Oka was only looking to live in peaceful cohabitation with the Mohawk community.

The town also called upon Ottawa to establish a consultation process that would take into account the concerns of residents in Oka and  Kanesatake.

Quevillon’s administration also wants access to the plans detailing what lands are at the centre of negotiations between the federal government and the Mohawk community for purchase, suggesting the talks are simply a disguised form of expropriation.

“They’re giving money to (the Mohawks) to buy our land and annex it to their territory,” Quevillon said.

Despite its demands, the Oka council adopted an official statement addressed to the Kanesatake band council saying the town’s population wanted dialogue and peaceful cohabitation, with Quevillon citing the 300 years of close links between the two communities.

During the council meeting’s question period, some residents suggested that the council deal with other groups that say they are speaking for Kanesatake, including Mohawk traditionalists. Mayor Quevillon replied that the town would only deal with the band council and did so out of respect for Grand Chief Simon.

The mayor also argued that the RCMP, a federal police force, was best suited to be deployed in Kanesatake, where it would ensure the law would be respected, particularly on the issue of illegal cannabis shops.

Quevillon contended such a deployment was the only way for both communities to work together toward their mutual economic development.

Meanwhile, the apology Grand Chief Simon has said he is expecting from Quevillon for remarks he made earlier this summer about the Mohawk community in Kanesatake does not appear to be coming any time soon.

Asked by a resident if he would apologize, Quevillon left the answer to those citizens who attended the meeting, the vast majority of whom replied, “no.”

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