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Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard moving to US military base | Migration News

White House condemns transfer of 50 Venezuelan migrants to wealthy US island as ‘cruel stunt’ by Republicans.

Migrants who were flown to the wealthy US island of Martha’s Vineyard this week in what critics have denounced as a “cruel political stunt” by Republican lawmakers are being moved to a military base, Massachusetts state officials announced.

Approximately 50 migrants, including about half a dozen children, boarded buses on Friday to head to the ferry to Cape Cod, where Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said they would be housed temporarily at Joint Base Cape Cod.

They will be given dormitory-style housing, food and services, including healthcare and access to counselling, Baker said in a statement, adding that 125 National Guard members will be activated to assist in the relief effort.

“We are grateful to the providers, volunteers and local officials that stepped up on Martha’s Vineyard over the past few days to provide immediate services to these individuals,” the Republican governor said.

The move left some of the Martha’s Vineyard residents who volunteered to shelter the migrants in a church for two nights in tears.

Volunteers who helped dozens of migrants who were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard hug in Edgartown, US, September 15 [Ron Schloerb/Cape Cod Times/USA Today Network via Reuters]

“I want them to have a good life,” said Lisa Belcastro, who helped organise cots and supplies at St Andrews Episcopal Church, which sits among expensive white-clapboard homes in Edgartown.

“I want them to come to America and be embraced. They all want to work.”

The group was flown to Martha’s Vineyard without warning on Thursday as part of an escalating effort by Republican governors to call attention to what they view as US President Joe Biden’s failure to secure the US-Mexico border amid record attempted crossings.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is running for re-election in November, has taken credit for transporting the migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, though the legal basis for the Florida government to round up migrants in a different state remained unclear.

The migrants said they had recently been admitted into the United States on a fast-tracked permit known as humanitarian parole after fleeing Venezuela and had been staying at a shelter in San Antonio, Texas.

Rachel Self, a Boston immigration lawyer who gave legal assistance to some of the migrants, said they had been lured onto planes under false pretences.

“They were told there was a surprise present for them and that there would be jobs and housing waiting for them when they arrived,” Self told reporters during a news conference on Thursday.

“This was obviously a sadistic lie,” she said.

“Not only did those responsible for this stunt know that there was no housing or employment awaiting the migrants, they also very intentionally chose not to call ahead to any single authority on Martha’s Vineyard so that even the most basic human needs arrangement could not be made.”

The White House called the episode a “cruel, premeditated political stunt” by Republican leaders.

“Why else would Governor DeSantis have spent the time to charter a flight to take migrants out of a different state … hire a videographer to capture footage of that flight, but not bother to let Massachusetts authorities know that migrant children in need of food and shelter were about to land on their doorstep?” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday.

She added that the Republican governors of Texas and Florida are interested in creating “political theatre”, rather than finding solutions that would help migrant families.

The flights to Martha’s Vineyard follow a bussing scheme by the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona that has sent more than 10,000 migrants to the Democrat-controlled cities of Washington, DC, New York and Chicago since April.

On Thursday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent two buses carrying approximately 100 migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s home in the US capital.

Immigration is a key concern for Republican voters, and the party has sought to focus attention on the issue in the run-up to the November 8 midterm elections that will decide control of Congress and key governorships.



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King Charles III to host South African leader in state visit

King Charles III will welcome South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. for three days of high-level talks next month, celebrating the first state visit of his reign with the leader of a Commonwealth member with close ties to the royal family

LONDON — King Charles III will welcome South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to the U.K. for three days of high-level talks next month, celebrating the first state visit of his reign with the leader of a Commonwealth member with close ties to the royal family.

Ramaphosa has accepted Charles’s invitation for a state visit from Nov. 22-24, Buckingham Palace said Monday. The South African leader will be accompanied by his wife, Dr. Tshepo Motsepe.

Charles has visited South Africa on several occasions since 1997. At Nelson Mandela’s funeral in 2013, he said the world would be a “poorer place” without the man who led South Africa’s transition from apartheid to a multi-ethnic democracy, adding that Mandela was owed “an enormous debt of gratitude” for his achievements.

The King and Camilla, the queen consort — then the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall — welcomed former South African President Jacob Zuma to the U.K. at the start of a state visit in 2010.

Charles’ sons, Princes William and Harry, have also visited South Africa a number of times.

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Follow all stories on the British royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii

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With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

With 52% of Brazil votes tallied, far-right incumbent Bolsonaro has a slight lead over ex-President Lula da Silva

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Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about another potentially catastrophic epidemic like the one that broke out a decade ago and killed nearly 10,000 people.

The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community called Dekayet in southern Port-au-Prince and in the gang-controlled seaside slum of Cite de Soleil, where thousands of people live in cramped, unsanitary conditions.

“Cholera is something that can spread very, very quickly,” warned Laure Adrien, director general of Haiti’s health ministry.

Food or water contaminated with the cholera bacteria can lead to severe diarrhea and dehydration that can be deadly.

The United Nations said in a statement that it is working with Haiti’s government to “mount an emergency response to this potential outbreak,” stressing that health teams need to be guaranteed safe access to areas where cases have been reported.

The deaths come as a lack of fuel and ongoing protests shut down the availability of basic services across Haiti, including medical care and clean water, which is key to helping fight cholera and keep patients alive.

Haiti’s most powerful gang continues to control the entrance to a main fuel terminal in the capital of Port-au-Prince, leading to a lack of fuel amid soaring prices that have unleashed widespread protests that have paralyzed the country for more than two weeks.

The absence of fuel and increasing number of roadblocks have prevented water trucks from visiting neighborhoods to provide potable water to those who can afford it. It also has prompted some companies to temporarily shut down operations.

On Sunday, Caribbean Bottling Company said it could no longer produce or distribute potable water because its diesel reserves were “completely depleted,” adding that the lack of such a vital resource would affect “all sectors of society.”

Adrien said health officials were trying to visit communities where cholera has been reported, but that his agency, too, has been affected by a lack of fuel as he called on people blocking the gas terminal and organizing protests to “have a conscience.”

“This is a real problem,” he said of how the country has virtually been paralyzed. “We’re hoping this will not spread.”

Adrien noted that all those who died were unable to reach a hospital in time.

Haiti Health Minister Alex Larsen said people have a right to protest but asked Haitians to allow potable water supplies into neighborhoods that have been cut off by roadblocks and protests.

“Water has not been in these areas for a long time, and people are not drinking treated water,” he said, adding that cholera cases could spike again. “We ask people who can afford it to add a little chlorine to the water.”

Haiti’s last cholera epidemic sickened more than 850,000 people in a country of more than 11 million, marking one of the world’s worst outbreaks of the preventable disease in recent history.

United Nations peacekeepers from Nepal were blamed for introducing cholera into Haiti’s largest river in October 2010 by sewage. The U.N. has since acknowledged it played a role in the epidemic and that is has not done enough to help fight it, but it has not specifically said it introduced the disease.

Haiti would have been declared cholera-free by the World Health Organization only after reaching three consecutive years with no new cases.

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Associated Press writer Dánica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico contributed.

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