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100,000 visas revoked under Donald Trump’s travel ban

Over 100,000 visas have been revoked since US President Donald Trump's temporary travel ban a week ago

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USA, Feb 4, 2017: Over 100,000 visas have been revoked since US President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban a week ago, media reports said.

According to the Washington Post on on Friday, the attorney revealed the data during a hearing in a lawsuit filed on behalf of two Yemeni brothers who arrived last Saturday at an Dulles airport near Washington D.C. but were sent back to Ethiopia due to the controversial order issued.

“The number 100,000 sucked the air out of my lungs,” Xinhua news agency quoted Simon Sandoval-Moshenberg of the Legal Aid Justice Center, who represents the brothers.

For people like the Yemeni brothers, the US administration appears to be attempting a case-by-case reprieve. They and other plaintiffs in lawsuits around the US are being offered new visas and the opportunity to come to the US in exchange for dropping their suits.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer, when asked about the case during his daily briefing, said he had no information about it.

The White House has downplayed the order’s effects on people in transit after chaos and protests erupted at airports around the country last Friday.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Under the executive order Trump signed on January 27, refugees from all over the world will be suspended US entry for 120 days while all immigration from so-called “countries with terrorism concerns” will be suspended for 90 days.

Countries included in the ban are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

Last Sunday, thousands of protesters rallied before the White House, at more than 30 US airports and in big cities including Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago. (IANS)

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Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran Hold Meeting To Counter Trafficking of Opiate

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts.

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Opium
An Afghan man works on a poppy field in Jalalabad province. VOA

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran have pledged to increase cooperation and information-sharing for effectively combating the trafficking of Afghan opiates.

War-shattered Afghanistan remains the world’s largest producer of opium, though the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime noted in its latest survey the opium cultivation decreased by 20 percent in 2018 due to a severe drought and reduced prices.

The illegal opiates are largely smuggled to international markets through Pakistan and Iran.

Need for more initiatives 

Afghan, Pakistan and Iranian counternarcotics officials concluded their two-day UNODC-facilitated interaction Wednesday in Islamabad, where delegates underscored the need for more efforts against the massive flow of illicit drugs.

Participants at the “Triangular Initiative” meeting called for timely sharing of information and conducting simultaneously interdiction operations along their shared largely porous borders.

oPIUM CULTIVATION
In this April 11, 2016, photo, farmers harvest raw opium at a poppy field in the Zhari district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan. VOA

The forum was established in 2007 with a mission to promote regional cooperation to reduce the poppy cultivation, trafficking, and consumption of drugs in the region and beyond.

Officials acknowledged that despite Afghanistan’s political tensions with Pakistan and Iran anti-drugs cooperation largely continues.

Renewed attitude 

Cesar Guedes, UNODC representative in Pakistan, noted the three countries attended the Islamabad meeting with “a revived attitude and role”, raising prospects for more effective counternarcotics efforts in 2019.

“More needs to be done because the level of [Afghan opium] production has also increased. They need really to coordinate closer in their joint efforts,” he told VOA

Guedes also called for increased international assistance, saying Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran alone cannot curb the menace of drugs.

opium
FILE – Afghan farmers collect raw opium as they work in a poppy field in Khogyani district of Jalalabad east of Kabul, Afghanistan, May 10, 2013. VOA

“This has to be done in the framework of shared responsibility. All the countries, producers, consumers and transit need to join the effort,” he said.

Despite many challenges facing the government, the head of the Afghan delegation said authorities have taken significant steps to eradicate drug trafficking.

US assistance 
Director General for Policy Planing at the Afghan Ministry of Narcotics, Mohammad Osman Frotan, said 89 percent of poppy cultivation this year has taken place in the Afghan provinces most hit by insurgent activities. He said counternarcotics authorities during 2018 have seized more than 433 tons of different types of drugs, and arrested and prosecuted almost 4,000 suspects.

Also Read: Pakistan In U.S. Blacklist For Religious Freedom Violations

The United States has spent more than $8 billion in the past 17 years to assist Afghanistan in eradication efforts. But the effort has failed to stop opium production, which increased to record highs and stood at an estimated 9,000 tons in 2017. Critics blamed insecurity, rampant corruption and patronage by influential Afghans for the unprecedented growth. (VOA)