Refugee crisis addressed at Brussels Summit
European leaders began meeting on Oct. 25 in Brussels, Belgium to discuss how to assist refugees making their way through Turkey, Greece and the western Balkans on their way to Germany and Scandinavia. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, put together a plan which sees refugees make their way through a safe corridor which passes through central and eastern Europe. The hope is that increased border surveillance will be put in place and refugees will be properly registered and accounted for. Transportation will be stopped at borders if consent from the bordering country has not been given. Nearly 670,000 people seeking refuge from conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Afghanistan have arrived in Europe this year.
Historic coast-guard deal to be signed
Eight Arctic nations have come together to sign a historic deal which will facilitate a partnership between their coast guards. The creation of the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is a significant demonstration of co-operation between the nations that has not previously been seen in the region. The catalyst for the development of the forum was concern from the Arctic council over the “increasing need to ensure safety, security and stewardship of Arctic waters,” according to a document by the United States Coast Guard. The Canadian government said that the forum will also aim to address emergency response, icebreaking and collaboration.
Hurricane Patricia hits Mexican shores
Hurricane Patricia hit southwestern Mexico late Friday. The class-five hurricane hit a stretch of relatively unpopulated land in the Jalisco state. Residents in Puerto Vallarta took precaution for the incoming storm by reinforcing their homes with sandbags and boarding up windows. The government declared a state of emergency. Schools were closed in many states, and hundreds of emergency shelters were opened in preparation. Electricity was turned off as a safety precaution in many states, including Colima, Nayarit and Jalisco. According to a 2010 census, the Jalisco state is home to more than 7.3 million inhabitants, and another approximately 1 million people reside in the surrounding states affected by the hurricane.
Bus and truck collide in France, kill 43
A crash between a truck and a bus full of retirees killed 43 individuals, with another four critically injured. The crash occurred on Oct. 23, 50 km east of Bordeaux, France. The two vehicles were immediately engulfed in flames, allowing for only eight passengers to exit the burning bus. Investigation into the cause of the crash is underway. Experts have begun collecting evidence from the scene of the crash, as well as testimonials from the survivors. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the crash an “immense tragedy” and one of France’s deadliest road accidents in nearly 30 years.
Papua New Guinea to house resettled refugees from Australia
Papua New Guinea has begun to resettle asylum-seekers from offshore Australian detention centres. Australia has been increasingly criticized for how it handles incoming asylum-seekers, as the centres are known for their unsafe conditions. Papua New Guinea will be resettling only individuals who have been classified as refugees—those who have fled from war or persecution. Australia has spent approximately $700 million (U.S.) on aid and infrastructure-spending in Papua New Guinea in accordance with a 2013 agreement which stipulated that the country would process and house asylum-seekers.