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Asylum seekers waiting in Mexico shaken by delays in entering the United States | Migration news



President Joe Biden has vowed to cancel the Trump-era program that required migrants to stay in Mexico pending US hearings.

The United States abruptly canceled plans to bring asylum seekers to Texas at two ports of entry, dashing the hopes of hundreds of people who have waited months in Mexico under a policy of the United States. Trump era, President Joe Biden has vowed to relax.

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in a statement Monday that “given current operational considerations” it could no longer say when it would begin bringing in migrants through the ports of Brownsville and El Paso, TX. .

The department said last week it would begin accepting asylum seekers with active cases at those locations on Monday and Friday, respectively. Texas is recovering from a winter storm that shut down electric and water services statewide.

A DHS spokeswoman did not give a specific reason for the delay, but said the agency would start using these sites once international partners implemented certain measures to ensure safety, health and safety. adequate treatment systems.

Biden has pledged to cancel the Trump-era program known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which has forced more than 65,000 asylum seekers from Central America, most of them, through the border pending the hearings of the US immigration court.

Most have returned home but some have remained in Mexico in sometimes squalid or dangerous conditions, vulnerable to kidnappings and other violence.

The Biden administration said it would first seek to treat around 25,000 people with active cases and the United Nations has set up a website for people to register.

“We’re really confused because we don’t see any change. We’re just looking for help, ”said Josue Cornejo, a migrant from Honduras who has been stuck in a makeshift camp in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, for more than a year.

“They don’t tell us anything,” he said in a video message.

The effort to reverse the program started slowly Friday at a port of entry in San Ysidro, Calif., where so far 50 asylum seekers have been processed, according to Democratic Representative Nanette Barragan who traveled to the border.

In recent days, several hundred migrants have gathered across the border in Tijuana, many of them not part of the MPP program but hoping to be allowed entry into the United States. Migrants include families with young children and people setting up tents.

U.S. officials say anyone who seeks entry and does not have an active case of MPP will be immediately deported under COVID-19 era rules.

A UN official said on Monday that the organization had registered more than 7,700 migrants with active cases since Friday. The official said asylum seekers in Matamoros camp could be treated in the coming days.

The body is also responsible for testing migrants for COVID-19 in Mexico before they arrive at U.S. ports of entry, while nonprofits on the U.S. side are providing shelter for migrants for them to do. they quarantine them when they arrive.

Mark Manly, a UN official in Mexico, told Reuters news agency on Friday that the website was sometimes running slowly, but called it “startup problems.”





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Latest coronavirus: new US infections fall to their lowest level in 4 months



Peter Wells in New York

The United States on Monday reported its smallest daily increase in new coronavirus cases in more than four months, extending recent glimmers of hope for the country’s handling of the pandemic.

States reported an additional 52,530 infections, up from 58,702 on Sunday, according to Covid Tracking Project. It was the smallest one-day increase in cases since October 18.

Over the past week, the United States has recorded an average of 64,034 new cases per day, the lowest rate since the end of October. This is a 74% drop from a peak rate in early January of more than 247,000 cases per day.

However, Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned during the White House coronavirus response briefing Monday afternoon that while the average has been down for five weeks, it is still “high” and on par with the summer thrust when solar belt states were among the most afflicted.

Cast a shadow over Monday’s numbers, the US death toll exceeded 500,000 for the first time, according to Johns Hopkins University. Covid Tracking Project, whose data used by the Financial Times for analysis, put the death toll at 490,382.

“Since our dataset uses [New York State] reported deaths that do not include the more than 8,000 deaths reported by [New York City], our total death tally lags behind other trackers who scored 500,000 deaths today, “Covid Tracking Project said in a Twitter post, adding that it recognizes coronavirus deaths in the United States” are an undercoverage “.

Authorities attributed 1,235 more coronavirus deaths on Monday, the smallest one-day increase in seven days.

The number of patients currently hospitalized in the United States with coronavirus has fallen to 55,403, the lowest level since early November.

Monday’s numbers tend to be lower than other days of the week due to weekend delays in reporting. Harsh winter conditions can also have a moderating effect on state data due to trial and vaccination site closures and power outages.



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Biden-Trudeau meeting: a “return to stability” after Trump | United States News



Montreal, Canada – In 1969, then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau described Canada’s proximity to the United States as a kind of sleeping with an elephant: “It doesn’t matter how friendly or in the mood the beast is. equal … we are affected by every jerk and growl.

Decades later, with Joe Biden in the White House, the “elephant” of southern Canada will be at least more predictable than it was under Donald Trump, said Daniel Beland, director of the McGill Institute for study of Canada at McGill University in Montreal. .

“The Trump years have been very tough in terms of Canada-US relations. It was a roller coaster, ”Beland told Al Jazeera. “With Biden, it’s a return to more stability in Canada-US relations.”

Biden’s decision to hold his first official meeting with a foreign head of government – with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – Tuesday is part of this return to a more predictable relationship between the two neighbors, Beland said.

Most US presidents stay close to home on their first trip abroad, with many heading to Ottawa, the Canadian capital, in the first few months of their tenure – although Trump avoided this tradition when he made his first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

While Biden and Trudeau will meet virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beland said choosing Canada sends a message. “It’s Biden who is sticking to the tradition and I think that sends the signal that Canada is still an important partner of the United States,” he said.

Former US President Donald Trump called Justin Trudeau ‘double-sided’ in 2019 after the Canadian prime minister was caught on camera laughing with other world leaders over a Trump press conference during of a NATO summit [File: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

Economic recovery

The two countries share the longest land border in the world, and bilateral trade between them totaled $ 725 billion in 2019, or nearly $ 2 billion per day, according to US Department of State figures.

The relationship was tested under the Trump administration – which forced Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel .

As Trudeau made sure to maintain cordial relations with Trump, the ex-president called Trudeau “two-sided»In 2019 after the broadcast of a video showing the Canadian Prime Minister laughing with other world leaders on a Trump press conference at a NATO summit in London. The two leaders were quick to downplay the petty public argument.

Nonetheless, Canada-US relations remained strong during the Trump years. But now Trudeau has more in common with Biden than with Trump, said Donald Abelson, director of the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

He pointed out that the two leaders have met in person before – when Biden was US vice president – and they got along well.

“It is very important when you focus on the bilateral relationship between the two countries to have a Prime Minister and a President who get along, and who are able to identify common concerns and find constructive ways to move forward. forward, ”Abelson told Al Jazeera.

Ahead of their Tuesday meeting, leaders said they looked forward to deepening relations between countries, and Trudeau said they would discuss ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, create jobs and to fight against climate change.

The United States and Canada are working to secure COVID-19 vaccines to bring the pandemic under control, and are looking for ways to help boost their hard-hit economies. The Canada-U.S. Border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least March 21 due to the coronavirus, however, Canadian officials said this week.

Abelson also said the two leaders would discuss energy policy, as well as the Biden administration’s willingness to re-engage with multilateral institutions, such as NATO and the United Nations – something which suffered under Trump.

Policy differences

However, close ties don’t mean Biden and Trudeau will agree on everything.

Trudeau expressed disappointment last month, when Biden nixed Keystone XL, a controversial 1,947 km (1,210 mile) pipeline that was to stretch from the Canadian province of Alberta to the US state of Nebraska. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was particularly angered by the move.

Trudeau will also be keen to ensure that trade with Canada remains a priority for Biden amid a growing “Buy America” movement that seeks to put American producers first.

“Prime Minister Trudeau wants to make sure Canadian producers are not left out of the equation,” Abelson told Al Jazeera.

Beland added that Trudeau will have to exercise caution as he tries to create an economic recovery.

“We have to be diplomatic because we realize that if the relationship between the two countries is spoiled… it can be really expensive,” he said. “In this time of a pandemic like this, we really need to work with the United States on border control and public health issues, but especially on economic issues.”

Chinese tensions

China will also be a topic of discussion on Tuesday, Beland said.

Tensions have intensified between Ottawa and Beijing since 2018, when Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians after law enforcement arrested Huawei leader Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request.

The United States has charged Meng with fraud – a charge she denies – and her extradition case is still in Canadian court, while Canada has alleged China’s detention. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in retaliation for Meng’s arrest. Beijing, which has accused the spy pair, rejects this accusation.

Canada, the United States and 56 other countries last week signed on a non-binding resolution denouncing arbitrary detention for political purposes. While the signatories said the measure applied to countries around the world, it was seen as a rebuke from China.

“The Huawei case is directly related to an extradition order from the United States, so I think the United States could do a little bit here to facilitate the release of the two Michaels, or at least help with the situation because they have much more weight than [Canada has], Ended up saying.

Tensions between Canada and China are likely to escalate after Canadian Parliament past a non-binding motion on Monday describing Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur Muslim minority in western Xinjiang province as genocide.

Before the motion was passed, Cong Peiwu, the Chinese Ambassador to Canada, dismissed the genocide charge and urged Ottawa to “stop interfering in China’s internal affairs” to avoid aggravating the relations between countries.





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Why Spotify Wants To Work With Joe Rogan, Barack Obama, And Ordinary People



Spotify started out as a legal way to stream popular music. Then he flirted, unsuccessfully, with become a video company, too much. Now he’s trying a new identity: he wants normal people, not just the people you’ve heard of, to start downloading songs and podcasts – and then he wants to make money to stream those songs and podcasts. to many more people.

Spotify always wants the biggest stars in the world on its service. That’s why he spends most of his money on licensing deals with major music labels, and why he paid a ton of money to sign podcast king Joe Rogan last summer. And that’s also why he’s working with Barack Obama; the service just announced that Bruce Springsteen and the former president have a new Spotify podcast where they chat “modern manhood. “

But the main message behind a Spotify promotional event held on Monday, where the company announced a slew of new products and several new podcasts, was aimed at a much larger group of musicians and podcasters who will never be known at the Obama level, or even a little famous: Spotify wants they all upload their content to Spotify.

Spotify believes it can make money by distributing this content to hundreds of millions of people through a combination of advertising and subscription dollars. In theory, some of this can go back to the people who made things in the first place.

After the event, I spoke with Dawn Ostroff, Head of Content at Spotify, a magazine and television industry veteran, on Spotify’s overall ambitions and how it is moving from being a content distributor to being a content owner. And, more specifically, how he responds to the challenges of being Joe Rogan’s employer.

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation:

Peter Kafka

Who is this event for? It seemed to be reminiscent of all the streaming video launch events that companies like Apple, HBO, and Disney have had over the past year or so – sort of geared toward investors, but also consumers.

Dawn Ostroff

In fact, we are trying to reach the creators. For us, it was about being able to show where we came from and where we plan to go for the creators.

When you think back to what Daniel [Ek]Spotify’s mission and vision was very early on for Spotify, it was how to connect millions of artists and creators with billions of users. It explained that we have come a long way, that we still have a long way to go and where we are on the journey. And also to be able to communicate to creators the different tools, the different products at our disposal, to help them and accompany them in our journey in terms not only of creation, but of monetization, and of course of reach.

Peter Kafka

There was a longstanding discussion with Spotify and the creators / artists, in its early days, where artists complained that they were not getting value from Spotify but Spotify was getting value from it. How much has this discussion influenced what you do today – both the way you talk to artists and what you do for them?

Dawn Ostroff

Well, we have agreements with the labels. It’s been pretty transparent: people know what we pay, out of our income, to artists and their labels. But I think part of the purpose of Spotify is to democratize some form of distribution for artists so they can experiment, create, and hopefully grow. Because there is a lot of room for artists who are not necessarily the best artists in the world. And the same with podcasters, there is plenty of room for people interested in having podcasts, who are not the best podcasters in the world.

And the idea that you are able to globalize the platform in such a way that the music crosses all borders and borders, and similarly we see it with podcasts – it really unifies the world.

You don’t have to look any further than the performance of all the major labels. Music catalogs are going for record amounts. There are hundreds of artists who are now making millions of dollars just from Spotify. And that’s part of what we wanted to be able to illustrate today.

Peter Kafka

One thing that has changed since Spotify started is the way consumers and certainly regulators view the big tech platforms. They generally had favorable feelings towards them, and now there is a lot more suspicion towards them. You have your own complaint about Apple – you say he has too much power. But it seems to me that in audio Spotify has so much power that there will likely be even more suspicion about its motives and what happens when you give Spotify your data or your livelihood.

Dawn Ostroff

For starters, compared to Google, Amazon or Apple, we are still very small. We are not in this league. But we’re incredibly focused on the audio. And there should be competition for the tech giants. And that’s who we are. We are competing for them in this area.

Peter Kafka

Since we’re talking about the giants: For years, Apple didn’t seem interested in making podcasting a business. He seems to have woken up – I guess because of Spotify – and now seems to have some plans to invest in podcasting and offer a paid podcast service. What do you think of Apple starting to compete with you in podcasting?

Dawn Ostroff

I cannot comment on their plans. And quite frankly, I have no idea what their plans are. But we believe any business that spends money on the audio space is smart. We believe the audio industry continues to grow – we’ve seen an explosion, but we don’t think we’re far from peaking yet.

Peter Kafka

You almost spent $ 1 billion on startups and podcast content. When Spotify started buying podcast assets, you said you could spend $ 500 million in the first year. Do you think you’re going to keep spending on this clip?

Dawn Ostroff

Our goal is to continue to grow. I cannot comment on the exact figure. But we are chasing it because it works.

Peter Kafka

When Spotify signed Joe Rogan, people like me wondered what would happen when Joe Rogan offended someone, and it happened. And it turns out some people work at Spotify.

What kind of discussions have you had about what kind of backfire Rogan was going to generate? And did those discussions understand what would happen if your own employees were upset?

Dawn Ostroff

As for Joe: he was subjected to the same policies that everyone else on our platform must adhere to. And for us, it’s about having a diverse voice, for a global audience – a large and diverse group of people who listen to Spotify. And it just so happens that it remains extremely popular.

I can’t comment on our internal discussions, but the debate is also an integral part of Spotify’s internal corporate culture. And it doesn’t just happen with something like Joe Rogan, but it happens in different areas of our business. This is nothing new to us.



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Spotify rules out looming price hike in the US market



Spotify will act “very cautiously” when it comes to price increases in the United States, chief executive Daniel Ek said on Monday, even as the audio streaming pioneer applauded Wall Street with other measures to extort more money. money to users.

Speaking after Spotify’s first investor presentation since its IPO three years ago, Ek told the Financial Times that while the company is rolling out a higher price tag subscription option in the United States this year with better sound quality, a broader price increase was not imminent.

In the world’s largest music market, the company’s $ 10-per-month subscription cost has remained fixed for years, even though Spotify added millions of podcasts and songs to the platform.

“There is definitely [parts] from the United States where it is starting to mature, but a large part of the United States is just new to streaming, ”said Ek. “That’s why we play it very carefully in the United States.”

The The music industry have long wanted Spotify to raise prices. Steve Cooper, managing director of Warner Music, told the FT that music subscriptions are “undervalued,” pointing to the video streaming service Netflix, which has raised prices in the United States on several occasions, the latest in October.

“When you think of the case, [music streaming platforms] giving people access to 50m or 60m tracks is amazing, ”said Cooper. “At the end of the day, they have to raise the prices.”

Ek is trying to convince investors that the company he founded ten and a half years ago will eventually stop the losses of its music service, where licensing deals with record companies take two-thirds of its revenue.

In addition to the launch of the premium high-definition CD-quality subscription service, Spotify announced during Investor Day that it would double the number of countries where its services are available and roll out dozens of new podcast shows like Barack. Obama and Ava DuVernay.

Ek has not commented on how launching Spotify in 85 new territories in Africa, Asia and Latin America, such as Ghana, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, would impact his average revenue per user, or Arpu, a metric that worries Wall Rue.

Arpu is steadily declining as the company offers promotional discounts and expands to countries such as India, where it charges its subscribers a lower price. Arpu fell 8% in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, to just € 4.26.

Podcasts could offer a respite from its punitive business model, if the company creates a separate podcast subscription or is able to increase podcast listening enough on its primary platform to entice music rights holders to accept a lower revenue share.

Spotify has done extensive research into the economics of a podcast subscription, according to people familiar with the subject. The company would likely look to charge subscribers around $ 3.99 per month to access a podcast library, the people added.

“We keep experimenting and watching what consumers want,” Ek told the FT. “I do not think so [a podcast subscription] is something we would rule out in the future. “

Spotify shares climbed more than 5% on Monday as investors initially applauded product and content announcements, before pulling back. The stock has more than doubled since it was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2016, with investors following the company’s claims it will become the Netflix of audio by investing nearly $ 1 billion in podcasting. .



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The loan! Model 100 is a Raspberry Pi case for cyberpunk enthusiasts



Thanks to their small size and low power consumption, single board computers like the Raspberry Pi can come in all shapes and sizes. We saw handymen like Guy Dupont put $ 10 in the shell of a to create a device that can access Spotify. But few are as cool as this recent Kickstarter project we spotted a Toronto based company called Ready! Computer Corporation.

The company Ready! The Model 100 is basically an enclosure for your single board computer that includes a mechanical keyboard, stereo speakers, a touchscreen, and enough I / O ports to connect almost anything you need. The enclosure allows you to install an SBC the size of a Intel NUC 4×4 card. Oh, and you can carry it with a guitar strap. Basically this allows you to create the cyberdeck of your dreams.

Ready! Computer Corporation

The loan! The model 100 is available in two main references. There’s a barebones Pro model, priced at around $ 237, which will ship without SBCs or keyboard switches so you can configure it however you like. Meanwhile, the $ 395 “Neo” model includes everything you need to get started using the device out of the box. You can also buy the NEO without an SBC if you already have one lying around. And for those who are really ambitious, there is a $ 1,100 Deluxe model that comes with a Ryzen 4×4 card, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD.

“I wanted something that I could easily fix or improve, and I was inspired by vintage machines from the 1980s,” Ready! Model 100 creator Jesse Lafleur told Engadget when we asked him about the inspiration for the project. “… I launched this Kickstarter to find other like-minded people who want a machine they can upgrade for years to come or who just love my design.” With six days remaining, the project has raised CAD 97,377 of its goal of $ 199,999 (approximately $ 158,000).



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