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Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada, 81, dies in hospital in Paris after contracting coronavirus

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japanese fashion designer kenzo takada 81 dies in hospital in paris after contracting coronavirus

The Japanese fashion designer who founded Kenzo has died from coronavirus today in a hospital near Paris.

Kenzo Takada, 81, died at the American hospital of Paris in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a spokesman for the fashion star confirmed.

The self-made Japanese and French designer is known worldwide under his first name Kenzo, which he shared with his fashion brand famed for colourful and eccentric designs. 

His death comes just four days after the brand showed its spring/summer 2021 collection at Paris Fashion Week. 

Despite leaving the brand in 1999 to enjoy a ‘permanent holiday’ of a retirement Kenzo was still involved in maintaining the brand’s seamless mix of traditional Japanese fashion and modern western style that it is famed for.     

Kenzo Takada, 81, died from coronavirus in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, today

Kenzo Takada, 81, died from coronavirus in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, today

Kenzo Takada, 81, died from coronavirus in a hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, today

Winnie Harlow walks down the runway wearing Kenzo

Winnie Harlow walks down the runway wearing Kenzo

The Japanese-French designer is known worldwide under his first name Kenzo and his fashion brand is famed for its colourful and quirky designs

The Japanese-French designer is known worldwide under his first name Kenzo and his fashion brand is famed for its colourful and quirky designs

The Japanese-French designer is known worldwide under his first name Kenzo and his fashion brand is famed for its colourful and quirky designs

Kenzo developed his love for fashion quickly while reading his sisters’ magazines and went to Paris for the first time in 1965 when he was 26 after studying fashion in Japan.

He had only intended to stay in Paris for a few months before returning to Japan, but because he had vowed not to leave until he had created something there, he stayed longer.  

Five years later he used just $200 worth of fabric to create his first fashion collection, and in the same year Elle magazine featured his clothing on its front cover.   

A spokesman for the fashion star, who was 81, confirmed the sad news, according to RT

A spokesman for the fashion star, who was 81, confirmed the sad news, according to RT

Kenzo and Coco Rocha attend the Giambattista Valli show in March last year

Kenzo and Coco Rocha attend the Giambattista Valli show in March last year

A spokesman for the fashion star, who was 81, confirmed the sad news, according to RT

Kenzo opened his flagship store, Kenzo, in the Place des Victoires in October 1976. Pictured: A Kenzo catwalk at his autumn/winter 1986-1987 show

Kenzo opened his flagship store, Kenzo, in the Place des Victoires in October 1976. Pictured: A Kenzo catwalk at his autumn/winter 1986-1987 show

Kenzo opened his flagship store, Kenzo, in the Place des Victoires in October 1976. Pictured: A Kenzo catwalk at his autumn/winter 1986-1987 show 

As his fashion brand began to steadily grow as more and more people were exposed to it, Kenzo also delved into the perfume world. Pictured: Kenzo's spring/summer 2019 fashion show

As his fashion brand began to steadily grow as more and more people were exposed to it, Kenzo also delved into the perfume world. Pictured: Kenzo's spring/summer 2019 fashion show

As his fashion brand began to steadily grow as more and more people were exposed to it, Kenzo also delved into the perfume world. Pictured: Kenzo’s spring/summer 2019 fashion show

Kenzo releases butterflies during the birthday cake illumintion during the Kenzo Takada Birthday Party as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020

Kenzo releases butterflies during the birthday cake illumintion during the Kenzo Takada Birthday Party as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020

Kenzo releases butterflies during the birthday cake illumintion during the Kenzo Takada Birthday Party as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2019/2020

Japanese fashion designer Kenzo salutes the audience at the end of his's ready-to-wear autumn/winter 1998/99

Japanese fashion designer Kenzo salutes the audience at the end of his's ready-to-wear autumn/winter 1998/99

Japanese fashion designer Kenzo salutes the audience at the end of his’s ready-to-wear autumn/winter 1998/99

Two fashion models wear a haute couture dress and a matador's bullfighting uniform by Japanese fashion designer Kenzo in 1983

Two fashion models wear a haute couture dress and a matador's bullfighting uniform by Japanese fashion designer Kenzo in 1983

Two fashion models wear a haute couture dress and a matador’s bullfighting uniform by Japanese fashion designer Kenzo in 1983

The year after that, he won the Fashion Editor Club of Japan’s prize.

Kenzo opened his flagship store, Kenzo, in the Place des Victoires in October 1976.

He then continued to make a name for himself by holding his fashion shows in circus tents between 1978 and 1979. 

The talented designer ended the shows by riding onto the catwalk on an elephant.

As his fashion brand began to steadily grow as more and more people were exposed to it, Kenzo also delved into the perfume world. 

Kenzo pictured at his autumn/winter 1991-1992 fashion show in Paris

Kenzo pictured at his autumn/winter 1991-1992 fashion show in Paris

Kenzo pictured at his autumn/winter 1991-1992 fashion show in Paris 

Kenzo signs one of his paintings during the opening of an exhibition of his work at art auction house Hampel in Munich in 2008

Kenzo signs one of his paintings during the opening of an exhibition of his work at art auction house Hampel in Munich in 2008

Kenzo signs one of his paintings during the opening of an exhibition of his work at art auction house Hampel in Munich in 2008

Pictured: The Kenzo collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year

Pictured: The Kenzo collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year

Pictured: The Kenzo collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year

Pictured: The Kenzo collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year

Pictured: The Kenzo collection at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year

Since 1993 the brand Kenzo has been owned by the French luxury goods company LMVH which also owns brands such as Fendi, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs. 

He announced his retirement from fashion in 1999 to pursue a career in art, leaving designers Roy Krejberg and Gilles Rosier to handle the design of Kenzo’s men’s and women’s clothing.  

Kenzo had previously written of his ‘misery’ following the 90s, a decade in which he lost his life partner Xavier de Castella to an aids related illness in 1990, and his ‘right hand’ pattern maker Atsuko Kondo in 1991 to a stroke. 

This was swiftly followed by the death of his mother in 1991, which he failed to learn of until after her funeral as he was chartering a boat on the island of Corsica – despite his older brother’s efforts to contact him.

He wrote in Nikkei Asia: ‘I had missed my own mother’s death because I was off playing. I was miserable. My heart was in tatters and I gave myself up to despair.’  

Kenzo was awarded a Legion of Honour (the highest order of merit for military and/or civil merits) in 2016. And he was then given the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 55th Fashion Editors’ Club of Japan Awards in 2017.

He occasionally ventured back into the fashion world such as when he designed the costumes for Madame Butterfly in 2019.  

In 2019, Takada discussed his departure from fashion design, telling CNN that he still sketches, but no longer for luxury fashion.

‘I’m still sketching, but not for fashion today. I like fashion, but in fashion you must do something new every season: new shootings, new concepts, new materials, every single thing changes so quickly,’ he said. ‘So I stopped at the right time, I think. Now I do costumes for opera.’

He added: ‘Paris for me, I definitely saw it as the capital of fashion and today there’s still that certain elegance, French elegance, a French way of dressing,” he told the outlet. “A French way of working with fashion definitely influenced me and much later I started to blend other cultures into that specific fashion. Of course now, fashion is everywhere; in New York, Paris, Milan, London, Tokyo, everywhere. But I think Paris stays very important.’

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Amber Heard v Johnny Depp: Monday’s libel trial verdict NOT the end

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amber heard v johnny depp mondays libel trial verdict not the end

The verdict in what has been called the libel trial of the century is coming on Monday — but don’t imagine that’s the end of this unpalatable, yet irresistible drama, starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Not by a long, long way.

While a costly end may be in sight for News Group Newspapers, publishers of The Sun, whom Depp sued over a 2018 article which called him a ‘wife beater’, there’s plenty more to come.

Depp is suing Heard for $50 million (£39million) for libel in another trial about to take place in America — he’s due to meet her lawyers in ten days time to give evidence.

And it can be revealed that she is counter-suing for an astonishing $100 million (£78million) saying that he and his legal team have mounted a global smear campaign against her.

The verdict in what has been called the libel trial of the century is coming on Monday ¿ but don't imagine that's the end of this unpalatable, yet irresistible drama, starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Not by a long, long way, writes ALISON BOSHOFF

The verdict in what has been called the libel trial of the century is coming on Monday ¿ but don't imagine that's the end of this unpalatable, yet irresistible drama, starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Not by a long, long way, writes ALISON BOSHOFF

The verdict in what has been called the libel trial of the century is coming on Monday — but don’t imagine that’s the end of this unpalatable, yet irresistible drama, starring Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Not by a long, long way, writes ALISON BOSHOFF

It’s a skirmish which will be every bit as down and dirty as the jaw-dropping action at the High Court this summer, where tales of ‘dirty protests’, drug and drink binges and violent, gory fights had the world gripped.

Both parties want this forthcoming action to be the last word on the supremely toxic split.

Meanwhile, in a sensational development last week, Depp’s smooth-talking lawyer Adam Waldman — a controversial figure who is also a close personal friend — was booted off the case by the judge for serious misconduct.

So what is the truth about Depp’s ‘dirty’ campaign — and who is likely to ultimately claim victory after this legal marathon?

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN COURT ON MONDAY?

Johnny Depp, 57, sued News Group Newspapers over a 2018 article in The Sun that questioned his casting in the Fantastic Beasts film franchise and called him a ‘wife beater’ — which he strenuously denies.

This July, both Depp and Heard, 34, gave evidence before Judge Andrew Nicol during a three-week hearing at London’s High Court.

Depp told the court he was never violent towards his ex-wife and that she had attacked him on numerous occasions. 

He said he lost the tip of a finger after she threw a vodka bottle at him during one ferocious row.

Heard said Depp would turn into ‘the monster’ after bingeing on drugs and alcohol and had often threatened to kill her. 

She detailed 14 occasions of violence when she said the actor choked, punched, slapped, head-butted, throttled and kicked her.

Depp is suing Heard (pictured centre) for $50 million (£39million) for libel in another trial about to take place in America ¿ he's due to meet her lawyers in ten days time to give evidence

Depp is suing Heard (pictured centre) for $50 million (£39million) for libel in another trial about to take place in America ¿ he's due to meet her lawyers in ten days time to give evidence

Depp is suing Heard (pictured centre) for $50 million (£39million) for libel in another trial about to take place in America — he’s due to meet her lawyers in ten days time to give evidence

The couple met while making the 2011 film The Rum Diary and went on to marry in February 2015, but Heard filed for divorce 15 months later.

Mr Justice Nicol will deliver his judgment as to whether the article was substantially true and whether it caused serious harm to his reputation on Monday, November 2 at 10am.

Usually, a physical copy of the judgment would be handed down by the clerk to reporters in court. 

But due to Covid-19 restrictions, the judgment will be handed down remotely and no event will take place at the High Court building.

It will be available to view on a website. If Depp wins, his lawyers have argued he would be entitled to ‘very substantial damages’.

Both Depp and Heard have plans to make a statement — Depp through his lawyer and Ms Heard via her PR firm Powerscourt. 

Ms Heard had agreed to an interview with ITN but has since pulled out.

SO WILL THIS SORRY SAGA BE OVER THEN?

No. On top of the London action, Depp has also filed a $50 million (£39 million) defamation lawsuit against Heard over an opinion piece she wrote in The Washington Post in 2018.

It was headlined: ‘Amber Heard: I spoke up against sexual violence — and faced our culture’s wrath. That has to change.’

Depp believes this article cost him his role as Capt Jack Sparrow in the planned sixth instalment of the mega-budgeted franchise Pirates Of The Caribbean. 

He is being forced to break off from filming the Fantastic Beasts 3 sequel in the UK to give a deposition of his evidence to her lawyers in Virginia for three days, on November 10 to 12.

The case is then scheduled to run for three weeks in May next year, after months of legal to and fro with the two parties and their filming schedules, and delays caused by Covid.

It's a skirmish which will be every bit as down and dirty as the jaw-dropping action at the High Court this summer, where tales of 'dirty protests', drug and drink binges and violent, gory fights had the world gripped

It's a skirmish which will be every bit as down and dirty as the jaw-dropping action at the High Court this summer, where tales of 'dirty protests', drug and drink binges and violent, gory fights had the world gripped

It’s a skirmish which will be every bit as down and dirty as the jaw-dropping action at the High Court this summer, where tales of ‘dirty protests’, drug and drink binges and violent, gory fights had the world gripped

In her article, Heard described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. Depp wasn’t named.

In December last year, her lawyers said that she was merely stating an opinion based on her experience and should be protected via the First Amendment in the U.S. — the right to free speech.

She — unsuccessfully — sought to have Depp’s case thrown out, Judge Bruce White noting that Heard becoming a public figure representing domestic abuse ‘would reasonably cause readers to conclude she was referring to her experience with Mr Depp, despite her efforts to globalise the statement’.

This will be a jury trial — unlike the High Court action. 

It will take place in Fairfax County in suburban Washington, because this is where The Washington Post is printed.

Heard’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said: ‘We remain confident Ms Heard will prevail at trial when the jury is presented with evidence on the question that the court identified — namely, whether Ms Heard was abused by Mr Depp.’

Heard’s team accused Depp of trying to evade them.

They said he told them he wasn’t available until late February 2021 to give a deposition — but had spent some of September attending various film festivals during breaks from filming.

AMBER BLASTS ‘DEPP SMEAR CAMPAIGN’

Meanwhile, Amber Heard is counter-suing Depp. 

She says that he threatened to kill her before they were married, subjected her to physical abuse during the marriage and is continuing to victimise her using a lawsuit and a smear campaign which is characterised as ‘wilful, malicious and elaborate’.

The ‘dirty campaign’ has accused her of perjury and of making ‘hoax’ allegations of domestic abuse.

Her lawyers say it amounts to ‘an attempt to ruin her life and her career simply because she was a victim of domestic abuse and violence at the hands of Mr Depp and had the audacity and temerity to finally come forward’.

Two Change.org petitions were organised, calling for her to be sacked from the Aquaman sequel and her lucrative advertising contract with L’Oreal.

In her article, Heard (pictured in July with her lawyer Jennifer Robinson) described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. Depp wasn't named

In her article, Heard (pictured in July with her lawyer Jennifer Robinson) described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. Depp wasn't named

In her article, Heard (pictured in July with her lawyer Jennifer Robinson) described herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. Depp wasn’t named

Her suit suggests the petitions are ‘well beyond the skillset of the average internet troll or disgruntled fan’ and her team claim that Depp ‘has initiated, coordinated, overseen and/or supported’ them. 

They also claim that he or his team have created and coordinated social media accounts which attack her, and praise Depp’s lawyer Adam Waldman.

According to Heard’s legal team, these Twitter accounts are ‘bots’ and have a tweet to retweet ratio which is ‘implausible’ and are deliberately set to inactive to prevent shut down. 

They also republish each other’s content in similar language in a way which ‘belies human control’.

In documents filed in August, she notes that the most prolific accounts routinely retweet statements made by Waldman, and that ‘dozens if not hundreds’ of Twitter accounts praise him and impugn her.

A number of them are foreign with Cyrillic signatures, ‘reflecting Russian origin’.

The counter claim says: ‘Mr Waldman, Mr Depp’s attorney, has publicly associated with Russian individuals with the capability to organise such attacks.’ 

It adds that the ‘concerted effort to harm’ Ms Heard has included numerous ‘false statements’ about her.

These include a GQ interview with Depp dating from November 2018 when he denies attacking her.

It also includes several tweets from Waldman — most of them made during the trial in July — which say that Heard is a ‘serial liar’ and accuse her of perpetrating a ‘hoax’.

Waldman also told a website, The Blast, that she had ‘painted on bruises’ and that she and her friends had re-staged an apartment and lied about her injuries to make it look as if there had been a physical fight there.

Heard suggests that the motive for the campaign was simply an attempt by waning star Depp to ‘remain relevant’.

THE CHEWBACCA DEFENCE PLOY

Waldman has characterised Heard’s counter claim as ‘the Chewbacca defence’ on Twitter. 

This is named after a famous episode in the satirical cartoon South Park where a lawyer argues: ‘If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!’

Waldman wrote: ‘The ‘Chewbacca Defence’ is a legal strategy deploying false and irrelevant nonsense to confuse and distract from the truth. 

‘Absurd allegations of Russian bots, fake social media accounts, ‘campaigns of terror’ —our abuse hoax opponents have been watching @Southpark.’

Depp's controversial lawyer Adam Waldman was front and centre at the London trial

Depp's controversial lawyer Adam Waldman was front and centre at the London trial

Depp’s controversial lawyer Adam Waldman was front and centre at the London trial

DEATH THREATS AND LADY GAGA’S EX

A grim text message, sent by Depp to Christian Carino, Lady Gaga’s ex fiancé who is also his friend and agent, abusing Amber and swearing eternal vengeance has been made public as part of Heard’s counter claim.

Her team say the text, sent in 2016, reveals Depp’s ‘true personality’ and is filled with ‘anger hatred and violence’. 

It certainly makes interesting reading: Heard is described as a ’50-cent stripper begging for total global humiliation’, with Depp adding that he would ‘not touch her with a goddam glove’.

And there’s more . . . the text continues describing the former Mrs Depp as a ‘gold digging, dime a dozen, mushy, pointless dangling overused flappy fish market . . .’ and ‘waste of a *** guzzler’.

She is also called an ‘inhuman scum filled suckfish’ and ‘see through disposable sick f***in whore . . . no better than any junkie hooker with bad intentions’.

He adds: ‘I can only hope that karma kicks in and takes the gift of breath from her . . . sorry man, But NOW I will stop at nothing!!!’

RUSSIAN OLIGARCH AND THE LAWYER . . .

Depp’s controversial lawyer Adam Waldman was front and centre at the London trial. He went to court with Depp every day and stayed with him at the Corinthia London hotel. 

He was also with Depp when he visited a nearby pub.

The two men have been friends for three years and Waldman has presided over legal actions against Depp’s former managers.

He was noted for aggressive toned tweets aimed at reporters or media organisations who he disagreed with, often saying: ‘R.I.P’ or ‘In Memoriam’.

He has worked as a Washington lobbyist for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska since 2009 when he helped Deripaska get a visa. 

It has been revealed that one year the metals tycoon paid him more than $500,000 (£39,000). His company say Waldman advises Deripaska’s company on legal issues.

Depp is being forced to break off from filming the Fantastic Beasts 3 sequel in the UK to give a deposition of his evidence to her lawyers in Virginia for three days, on November 10 to 12

Depp is being forced to break off from filming the Fantastic Beasts 3 sequel in the UK to give a deposition of his evidence to her lawyers in Virginia for three days, on November 10 to 12

 Depp is being forced to break off from filming the Fantastic Beasts 3 sequel in the UK to give a deposition of his evidence to her lawyers in Virginia for three days, on November 10 to 12

It was revealed that Waldman made numerous visits to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2017. Waldman also served as a counsel for Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov.

According to filings, Deripaska has paid Waldman via a series of offshore firms, with cash routed via shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, Belize and Jersey.

One of Deripaska’s companies, Sea Chaika Corporation, appears in the Panama Papers and paid $85,000 (£66,000) to Waldman’s accounts in 2010.

Waldman is married to leading German cosmetic doctor Barbara Sturm. 

The couple attended the Berlin premiere of Depp’s film Minimata and Depp more recently took part in an Instagram fund-raising live stream hosted by Sturm, performing Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’.

. . . WHO WAS THROWN OFF THE CASE!

Last week, Judge Bruce White threw Waldman off Depp’s case. He found the lawyer had leaked confidential information, covered under a protective order, to the media.

Heard asked for the move, claiming Waldman was responsible for disseminating audio recordings, surveillance pictures and declarations from third-party witnesses to websites and Twitter users: ‘Leading readers and potential jurors to believe that these declarations are somehow official case documents, which they are not.’

Benjamin Chew, of Brown Rudnick, who has been involved with the Virginia case throughout, will head the team in future. 

Both he and Waldman declined to comment this week. Waldman had protested that Heard’s lawyers had done the same thing.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THE SUMMER?

Amber Heard had a holiday in Turkey and then returned to Los Angeles for filming. She has posted numerous pictures on Instagram with her horses. 

Her girlfriend Bianca Butti, a director, has been making a film in Vermont.

Depp has been in Europe, mostly in London. Shooting on Fantastic Beasts 3 is well underway. He has also been to two European film festivals. 

Gina Deuters, the girlfriend of his assistant Stephen, has posted pictures of him on a private jet and on the red carpet in recent weeks.

AND THE ULTIMATE WINNER IS . . ?

The stakes are high — a bad loss, with damages and fees in millions, could bankrupt either half of this former couple.

You might imagine that Depp is better placed to weather the financial storm, but as he detailed in court, he has ‘lost’ £500 million and was said in 2018 to be on the brink of bankruptcy. 

He’s taken on a number of lucrative film roles since then, earning up to £40 million for the Fantastic Beasts films.

You might imagine that Depp is better placed to weather the financial storm if he loses the court case, but as he detailed in court, he has 'lost' £500 million and was said in 2018 to be on the brink of bankruptcy

You might imagine that Depp is better placed to weather the financial storm if he loses the court case, but as he detailed in court, he has 'lost' £500 million and was said in 2018 to be on the brink of bankruptcy

You might imagine that Depp is better placed to weather the financial storm if he loses the court case, but as he detailed in court, he has ‘lost’ £500 million and was said in 2018 to be on the brink of bankruptcy

He owns multiple properties said to be worth £30 million in total. This includes five houses in the Hollywood Hills worth £15 million, a compound in France and a private island in the Bahamas.

However, Heard is seeking huge damages in the Virginia case, plus compensation. 

Both have long cultivated edgy images, but both have been damaged by the global publicity about their drug-and-violence-filled marriage.

As is always the case, perhaps the only winners will be the lawyers: even before these actions, there was something called the ‘Johnny Depp litigation train’ referring to the numerous suits filed by him, costing many millions of dollars.

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Coronavirus: Protests in Italy and Spain as Belgium starts lockdown

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coronavirus protests in italy and spain as belgium starts lockdown

Anti-lockdown protests spread to Italy on Friday as protesters clashed with police after hundreds attended an unauthorised demonstration in Florence while hundreds more gathered in Bologna. 

At the same time, a similar event in Barcelona also descended into violence, with demonstrators throwing bricks at police and setting bins alight. 

The protests came as Spain, Italy and several other European countries introduced new measures to curb the spread of coronavirus amid a rising second wave of infections. 

Belgium on Thursday night introduced a six-week closure of non-essential businesses and extended November school holidays by an extra week as Prime Minister Alexander de Croo warned the country otherwise faced a breakdown of its healthcare system.

On Friday, crowds in Florence’s historic centre chanted anti-government slogans and threw fireworks as they came up against police cordons. 

The demonstration came after Italy announced its third emergency measure in two week on Sunday.   

Protesters clashed with police in Florence's Signoria square on Friday evening as an unauthorised protest against a government decree aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus took place

Protesters clashed with police in Florence's Signoria square on Friday evening as an unauthorised protest against a government decree aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus took place

Protesters clashed with police in Florence’s Signoria square on Friday evening as an unauthorised protest against a government decree aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus took place

Riot police in Florence formed cordons to herd protesters into another square at the protest on Friday evening in the city centre

Riot police in Florence formed cordons to herd protesters into another square at the protest on Friday evening in the city centre

Riot police in Florence formed cordons to herd protesters into another square at the protest on Friday evening in the city centre

Italian police face demonstrators in Florence. Anger has grown over new coronavirus restrictions as Italy announced its third emergency decree in two weeks on Sunday

Italian police face demonstrators in Florence. Anger has grown over new coronavirus restrictions as Italy announced its third emergency decree in two weeks on Sunday

Italian police face demonstrators in Florence. Anger has grown over new coronavirus restrictions as Italy announced its third emergency decree in two weeks on Sunday

Under the new rules, gyms, swimming pools, cinemas and theaters will be closed, with bars and restaurants having to close at 6pm.

Non-essential movement between regions is also discouraged. 

Molotov cocktails were also thrown, according to Corriere Della Sera newspaper, which said the flames from the cocktails blackened the wall of a building. Vandals trashed bicycles and outdoor seating areas and sprayed walls of the city’s historic centre with graffiti. 

The paper reported that police eventually blocked the protesters into the Piazza della Repubblica square using cordons and armoured vehicles and that some sat on the ground chanting ‘Freedom, freedom’. 

Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence urged citizens to abandon the demonstration and express their ‘anger and suffering’ in a peaceful and legal way. 

A demonstration in Bologna on Friday avoided violence despite the presence of ultras of the Bologna Football Club 1909 and others who had travelled from outside the city to attend the demonstration

A demonstration in Bologna on Friday avoided violence despite the presence of ultras of the Bologna Football Club 1909 and others who had travelled from outside the city to attend the demonstration

A demonstration in Bologna on Friday avoided violence despite the presence of ultras of the Bologna Football Club 1909 and others who had travelled from outside the city to attend the demonstration

Protesters set off flares at a rally in Bologna which drew 300 people and was heavily monitored by Italian police officers

Protesters set off flares at a rally in Bologna which drew 300 people and was heavily monitored by Italian police officers

Protesters set off flares at a rally in Bologna which drew 300 people and was heavily monitored by Italian police officers

‘This is not how suffering is given voice. It is only violence for its own sake, gratuitous.

‘Whoever disfigures Florence must pay for what he has done,’ Nardella said.  

More than 300 people also gathered to protest the government decree in Bologna. 

The demonstration in the city ended without damage despite the presence of ultras of the Bologna Football Club 1909.

Others also came from outside Bologna to attend the rally in the city. 

Italy on Friday recorded 31,079 new infections and 199 deaths, bringing the total to have died from coronavirus in the country to 38,321. 

Belgium announces tighter coronavirus restrictions as cases rise

Belgium last night announced tighter restrictions including a six-week closure of non-essential business, including hairdressers. It also extended November school holidays by an extra week.

Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said the country of 11 million people otherwise faced a breakdown of its health system.

‘We are moving in the direction of reinforced confinement with a single objective: to prevent health care from creaking under pressure that is already immense today,’ he said.

‘These are the last-chance measures.’

But de Croo did not order a full repeat of the spring lockdown even though Belgium’s COVID-19 numbers are the worst in the EU.

 

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Friday night also saw clashes on the streets of Barcelona where protests over Spain’s state of emergency restrictions turned violent.

The demonstration began peacefully in St Jaume de Barcelona Square before descending into smaller violent clashes on Friday. 

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force. 

Several hundred people from sectors badly affected by coronavirus, including restaurants, the arts and gyms initially gathered to protest regional border closures.

The measures came as Spain’s central government unveiled a state of emergency to give regional authorities powers to impose curfews and close their borders to anyone moving without just cause. 

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

A demonstrator throws a rock at a police van in central Barcelona on Friday after a protest against new coronavirus restrictions descended into violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the Barcelona's streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the Barcelona's streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

Some protesters set bins alight in the Barcelona’s streets as police attempted to disperse the crowd. Police blame a small group within the rally for inciting violence

Protesters face off against police in central Barcelona on Friday night over new coronavirus measures including a curfew and the closure of the hospitality sector

Protesters face off against police in central Barcelona on Friday night over new coronavirus measures including a curfew and the closure of the hospitality sector

Protesters face off against police in central Barcelona on Friday night over new coronavirus measures including a curfew and the closure of the hospitality sector

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd gathered in central Barcelona

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd gathered in central Barcelona

At least two people have been arrested according to the Mossos d’Esquadra, Catalonia’s police force, who were called in to disperse the crowd gathered in central Barcelona

Some protesters began pushing against police cordons and throwing flares and other objects at officers who then attempted to disperse demonstrators from the city centre, attendees told Spain’s El Pais newspaper.  

Police also hit protesters with batons and reportedly used foam bullets against those assembled outside the regional and local government headquarters. 

Dozens of protesters then separated into groups to narrow streets in Barcelona’s gothic quarter, setting trash containers on fire to serve as barricades.

A Mossos spokesman told AFP news agency that up to 700 protesters had attended the rally but the violence was started by a group of about 50.

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally in Barcelona against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally in Barcelona against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

A protester holds a brick aloft during a rally in Barcelona against new regional measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. Several protesters threw rocks and other objects at police during the Friday demonstration

Catalan police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters in Barcelona who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

Catalan police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters in Barcelona who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

Catalan police reportedly used foam bullets to disperse protesters in Barcelona who they were photographed hitting with batons on Friday

A cyclist rides their bike past a bin set alight during a protest in Barcelona on Friday evening over new coronavirus measures in the region

A cyclist rides their bike past a bin set alight during a protest in Barcelona on Friday evening over new coronavirus measures in the region

A cyclist rides their bike past a bin set alight during a protest in Barcelona on Friday evening over new coronavirus measures in the region

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government in Barcelona on Friday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government in Barcelona on Friday

Some demonstrators hurled barricades at police as they gathered outside the headquarters of the regional and local government in Barcelona on Friday

Sirens wailed throughout the city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins. 

The call to protest had spread in social media with flyers. Rioting began within minutes of the gathering when some of the protesters removed their surgical masks and shouted ‘This is theft! This is a scam!’

Some protesters have accused authorities of lying about the seriousness of the outbreaks to justify curbs on personal freedom.

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Riot police offers hold their batons up as they move to disperse a crowd of protesters from central Barcelona on Friday evening

Riot police restrain a young man during a protest in Barcelona against the new lockdown measures in Catalonia introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus

Riot police restrain a young man during a protest in Barcelona against the new lockdown measures in Catalonia introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus

Riot police restrain a young man during a protest in Barcelona against the new lockdown measures in Catalonia introduced to curb the spread of coronavirus

Police used their batons to disperse protesters in Barcelona on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country's total death toll to 35,878

Police used their batons to disperse protesters in Barcelona on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country's total death toll to 35,878

Police used their batons to disperse protesters in Barcelona on Friday night as Spain announced 239 new fatalities, bringing the country’s total death toll to 35,878

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain's state of emergency

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain's state of emergency

Regional police officers take position next to burning rubbish set alight by disgruntled protesters in Barcelona. A rally was held in the city centre against new coronavirus measures introduced as part of Spain’s state of emergency

El Pais reported that some police sources blamed ‘radical groups’ linked to the nightlife and security sectors – both badly hit by the pandemic – with inciting violence at the rally and have accused them of intentionally setting out to provoke incidents.

Some people in attendance at the rally reportedly agreed that there were some elements in the crowd intent on causing trouble from the outset. 

Friday’s clashes mark the second violent protest in Barcelona in less than a week. Four people were arrested on Sunday after the Mossos intervened in a rally of protesters who deny the existence of Covid-19. 

It followed similar disturbances sparked by coronavirus deniers in Bilbao, in Spain, on Thursday and in cities across Italy on Monday. 

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35054272 8898657 image a 120 1604107410497

Barricades intended to hem in the protesters were used as weapons by some in clashes with riot police in Barcelona on Friday night

Sirens wailed throughout Barcelona's city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Sirens wailed throughout Barcelona's city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Sirens wailed throughout Barcelona’s city centre as police sought to disperse the protesters and firefighters hosed down the streets to put out fires in several large wheelie bins

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers in Barcelona who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers in Barcelona who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Protesters threw bricks, flares and barricades at regional police officers in Barcelona who responded with batons and, reportedly, rubber bullets

Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, imposed a state of emergency this week to try halt the rise of coronavirus infections. It is expected to last until may next year. 

Like other European countries, Spain has resorted to increasingly drastic measures to curb infections, although less stringent than in Germany or France. 

Catalonia has seen some of the toughest measures introduced, with officials closing down the hospitality industry and imposing a 10pm to 6am curfew. All but essential weekend travel in and out of local areas has also been banned. 

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona's city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona's city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Firefighters were deployed to put out fires in Barcelona’s city centre after disgruntled protesters set fire to bins as part of a rally against new coronavirus measures

Police clashed with protesters at a rally in Barcelona on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

Police clashed with protesters at a rally in Barcelona on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

Police clashed with protesters at a rally in Barcelona on Friday after officers said a small group within the hundreds-strong crowd became violent

Customers hide inside a shop to avoid getting caught up in a clash between police and protesters in central Barcelona on Friday night

Customers hide inside a shop to avoid getting caught up in a clash between police and protesters in central Barcelona on Friday night

Customers hide inside a shop to avoid getting caught up in a clash between police and protesters in central Barcelona on Friday night

A man holds his dog as police officers chase demonstrators during clashes in Barcelona over new coronavirus measures introduced this week

A man holds his dog as police officers chase demonstrators during clashes in Barcelona over new coronavirus measures introduced this week

A man holds his dog as police officers chase demonstrators during clashes in Barcelona over new coronavirus measures introduced this week

Health Ministry data showed 25,595 new coronavirus infections confirmed on Friday, a new record that brings the total caseload since February to 1.18 million. 

The government last week admitted that the real tally, including missed cases, could be well over 3 million infections.

With 239 new fatalities, the total death toll rose Friday to 35,878.  

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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Channel migrant boat tragedy: Iranian skipper faces 10 years in jail

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channel migrant boat tragedy iranian skipper faces 10 years in jail

The Iranian skipper of a migrant boat which capsized in the Channel killing a family of five faces 10 years in prison after being charged with ‘aggravated manslaughter’. 

Police yesterday arrested the suspected captain who insisted he was simply another passenger trying to reach the UK for a better life.  

The unidentified 37-year-old Iranian appeared in court yesterday and was placed under investigation for aiding illegal immigration, manslaughter, endangering human life and association with a criminal gang.

As well as the possible 10-year jail term, if convicted he could also face £135,000 fine. 

He was among 15 survivors of the tragedy in which construction worker Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, his wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, along with Anita, nine, and Armin, six, drowned off the coast of Dunkirk on Tuesday. 

Their toddler son, Artin, is yet to be found and searches have been called off. Two other missing migrants, named by friends as Shorsh Soree, 38 and Yosif Khzree, 29, are still missing. 

The suspected driver appeared in a closed court session today at a court in Dunkirk before an examining magistrate.

The man told the court he was simply one of the migrants attempting to cross the Channel in rough seas, but other survivors told police he had been captaining the vessel as part of a people smuggling operation. 

Police have also arrested a restaurant worker as part of their investigation, MailOnline can reveal. 

The man, in his mid-twenties, was escorted at gunpoint out of Hobbies – a popular Kurdish restaurant, which has become the centre of the investigation into the failed bid by migrants to enter Britain.

Fellow migrants described seeing a people smuggler forcing people to board the flimsy boat amid perilous conditions, including winds of up to 47mph. 

The Iran-Nejad family are drowned in the cabin when it capsized and one of the survivors is still critically ill in hospital. 

Four members of a Kurdish-Iranian family drowned while trying to cross the Channel. Their 15-month-old toddler, Artin, (pictured) is yet to be found

Four members of a Kurdish-Iranian family drowned while trying to cross the Channel. Their 15-month-old toddler, Artin, (pictured) is yet to be found

Four members of a Kurdish-Iranian family drowned while trying to cross the Channel. Their 15-month-old toddler, Artin, (pictured) is yet to be found 

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, with his missing son, Artin

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, with his missing son, Artin

His wife, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35

His wife, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, with his missing son, Artin, (left) and his wife, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, (right). The family are pictured in a French migrant camp hours before attempting the perilous crossing on Tuesday 

Armin, six

Armin, six

Anita, nine

Anita, nine

The bodies of Armin, six, and Anita, nine, were also recovered from the Channel near Dunkirk by French coastguard  

The family had left Iran on August 7 to travel to Turkey, before taking a ferry to Italy and driving to France almost a month ago, according to a friend who remained in Calais. Pictured is the missing toddler, Artin

The family had left Iran on August 7 to travel to Turkey, before taking a ferry to Italy and driving to France almost a month ago, according to a friend who remained in Calais. Pictured is the missing toddler, Artin

The family had left Iran on August 7 to travel to Turkey, before taking a ferry to Italy and driving to France almost a month ago, according to a friend who remained in Calais. Pictured is the missing toddler, Artin

Sebastien Piève, the Dunkirk prosecutor, told MailOnline: ‘A male person born in Iran 1983 appeared in court today before an examining magistrate.

‘Following interviews with survivors of Tuesday’s tragedy it emerged that this person was said to be driving the boat which capsized off Loon Plage.

‘The suspect was one of 15 people picked up following the capsizing of the boat. One of these people is still in hospital suffering from serious injuries .

‘The man described himself as a simple migrant attempting to reach the UK but investigators believe that he was involved in this senseless transport of migrants.

‘The migrants rescued and questioned also describe him as “being close”to the smugglers who organised the trip.‘ 

Mr Piève said the survivors had all been questioned by the Police de l’Air et des Frontieres at Coquelles, near Calais.

He added: ‘Investigations are continuing to identify and arrest other members of the people smuggling gang responsible for this tragedy.’

Yesterday, police arrested a restaurant worker in Dunkirk as part of their investigation into Tuesday’s tragedy. 

Sources said the detained man was later released but was expected to be questioned again as police widened their search for the gang who took the Kurdish Iran-Nejad family on the disastrous trip across the English Channel, the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

A worker at the restaurant, who gave his name as Ali, said that a man was arrested there yesterday lunchtime .

He added: ‘The officers told me it was in connection with their Investigation into the family who drowned when their boat sank.’

France is ‘finally ready to nail the traffickers’ 

By David Barrett Home Affairs Correspondent for the Daily Mail 

France has signalled it will finally permit a crackdown on people traffickers after the Channel tragedy.

British Government sources said the deaths on Tuesday had served as a ‘wake-up call’ to Emmanuel Macron’s administration.

After months of an apparent impasse between Home Secretary Priti Patel and her French counterpart Gerald Darmanin, the disaster is likely to drive a determined effort to stop crossings at their source in northern France, it is understood.

‘The French response has changed somewhat since the tragedy,’ a UK Government source said. ‘Until now they have been somewhat reluctant to properly deal with this.

‘This very upsetting incident is driving a shift in that position.’

Conversations between the two countries through diplomatic channels had revealed a ‘real change of heart and a change of tone’ by the French, it is understood.

There is also likely to be much closer Anglo-French co-operation to trace the people smugglers who placed the 20 migrants aboard an unfit vessel in perilous conditions, the source continued.

‘There is a real determination to nail these b******s for this,’ he said.

Talks about cracking down on illegal migrant routes began in earnest between the two countries in April but there has been little progress.

A much-heralded agreement signed in September last year was expected to virtually eradicate illegal crossings.

But numbers so far this year have soared to more than 7,500, quadruple the total for the whole of 2019.

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An eyewitness told MailOnline: ‘The police came in about 1pm, they had guns and were not in uniform but dressed in plain clothes.

‘The man was put in handcuffs and escorted out of the restaurant. I’d say he was aged about 25 to 30.

‘Other people in the restaurant said that the man had been arrested because of the police investigation into that poor family who drowned when their boys sank as they tried to reach the UK.’     

Relatives of Rasoul Iran-Nejad’s family are facing a bill of more than  £90,000 to bring their bodies back to Iran, it emerged yesterday.  

A cousin of Mr Iran-Nejad, who asked not to be named, said yesterday his relatives were ‘all devastated’ as he begged for the French government to help with the cost of repatriating the bodies. ‘No-one’s been in touch with us about how or if they will be returned,’ he said. 

The cousin said Mr Iran-Nejad was the eldest of five brothers who still live in Iran, along with his parents. He added: ‘They lived a not very well-off life. They were always short of money. His only hope of coming to the UK was for a better future for the children.

‘It definitely was a shock, we are all devastated. The family were absolutely lovely, they were fun to be around, they were extremely kind [and] so were the kids.’

Farhad Shekari, 28, a migrant who knew the family, described how he saw a people smuggling trying to force people onto the boat  

‘[He] was forcing people to get on the boat. He was saying go, go, go even though not everyone had life jackets,’ Mr Shekari told The Times. ‘The smugglers are only interested in one thing and that is money.’

In the Dunkirk woods where the Iran-Nejads spent their final days, distraught friends said the family had agonised over making the crossing just hours before the disaster – the worst in the Channel during the migrant crisis.

Others also described how the family, from the city of Sandasht in north-west Iran, were repeatedly warned that the journey was too dangerous but pressed ahead after finding themselves living in squalid conditions in France. 

The family were sleeping in a two-man tent in a makeshift camp in the Puythouck woods that is home to at least 200 immigrants, mainly from Iraq and Iran. A pair of shoes, a frying pan and a toy were outside the tent.

A series of text messages, thought to have been sent by Ms Mohammad Panahi on Saturday includes one that says the family ‘have no choice’ but to cross the Channel.

Another message says: ‘If we want to go with a lorry we might need more money that we don’t have,’ the BBC reports. A third says: ‘I have a thousand sorrows in my heart and now that I have left Iran I would like to forget my past.’     

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Mr Iran-Nejad (left) and his wife, Shiva, (right) with two rescue workers in a French migrant camp. The children are seen from left to right: Artin, Anita and Armin

Mr Iran-Nejad (left) and his wife, Shiva, (right) with two rescue workers in a French migrant camp. The children are seen from left to right: Artin, Anita and Armin

Mr Iran-Nejad (left) and his wife, Shiva, (right) with two rescue workers in a French migrant camp. The children are seen from left to right: Artin, Anita and Armin 

Speaking yesterday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the deaths were ‘an ultimate tragedy’ and one that ‘could have been avoided’.

She added: ‘We are working with our counterparts in France, in fact I am working with the French interior minister and with the National Crime Agency and many others, to ensure that we go after the people traffickers and the people smugglers.’

On reforming the asylum system, she said: ‘If you look at you record just over the last 12 months in the last year alone, we are prosecuting and putting in prison more and more people traffickers and smugglers. 

‘There is a case that is taking place right now in the UK courts, a very high profile case and we will continue to do that because these traffickers are exploiting vulnerable people, desperate people.

The family’s perilous route from Iran: Smuggled by boat, truck and two failed crossings from France by train – as two migrants remain missing 

The Iran-Nejad family left West Azerbaijan Province in Iran on August 7 to travel to Turkey and on to Greece, where they were arrested.

They were deported back to Turkey after they were arrested, strip-searched and tear-gassed by Greek police, Iranian Kurds have revealed.

One migrant who travelled with them from Turkey back to mainland Europe claimed that they had ‘lost all their belongings’ and were given money to ‘buy new clothes’ after their deportation from Greece.

The migrant, who asked not to be identified, said he had taken pity on them when he met them in Turkey. ‘They had lost all their belongings,’ he told The Times. ‘I gave them some money to buy new clothes.’

The Iran-Nejads then sailed across the Aegean Sea a second time, but to Italy where they avoided arrest.

From Italy, the family crossed the border from Italy into France in lorries, stopping in several cities along the way, unnamed migrants said.

According to Mr Iran-Nejad’s brother Khalil Irannazhad, the patriarch had initially decided to stay in Germany or Switzerland before changing his mind and carrying on to France.

Family members claim that the Iran-Nejads then stayed on a camp near Calais before moving to Puythouck, but were evicted by police and moved to a nearby hotel after social services found them a room.

Sources told The Times that Mr Iran-Nejad was leant money to pay smuggling gangs to get them into Britain.

The family made three attempts to cross to the UK. The first two times, they wanted to cross by train, and the last time they wanted to cross by boat.

‘It was the third time that they had attempted to cross to the UK. Two times they wanted to cross via train and the last time they wanted to cross by boat,’ said Khalil.

‘We begged him to not try to cross by boat. He insisted on going.’

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‘And of course you’ve asked about changing our laws, I’ve been very clear we need a system in the UK that is firm but also fair when it comes to people who need refuge. And we as a government are committed to developing the right kind of policies and the right approaches to give sanctuary and protection to those individuals that absolutely are fleeing persecution.’ 

However, Ms Patel declined to answer whether the Government would consider allowing migrants to claim UK asylum from Calais, seen by some as a way of removing the need to cross the Channel.   

On Wednesday, camp residents described hearing the family’s desperate cries in the days before they departed for Britain as they argued about whether to make the crossing.

Ahmed, 30, who slept in the next-door tent, told the Mail: ‘The last night before he left, the father was fearing for the children’s lives. They were all desperate and crying. And they were worried about the money, too, as they had borrowed it so had to go. They were really desperate.’

He added: ‘Rasoul was saying, ”I want to be in peace, I don’t want to fear for my life any more”. But his wife had second thoughts about going. Rasoul told her it was the only way as the [asylum] process is quicker in the UK. They could have stayed in Germany or France.

‘They only wanted for their children to go to school in England and have a better life.’

Rasoul worked as a construction worker and kolbar, a porter who carries goods such as cigarettes, food and clothes on his back over the border with Iraq, relatives said. 

He often made the dangerous journey under gunfire but the work was one of the few ways to make a living in the poverty-stricken city.

The family is thought to have convened at 8am on Tuesday at a beach in the Loon-Plage area of Dunkirk after the crossing was organised by a Kurdish-Iranian middleman working with smugglers. A yachtsman saw the capsized boat 90 minutes later and raised the alarm. 

Mr Iran-Nejad had sold everything in the hope of achieving a better future for his family, his brother, Khalil Irannazhad, said in a phone call from their home city of Sardasht in western Iran, near the Iraqi border.

He revealed that it was the family’s third attempt at crossing into Britain, following two abortive tries via train. 

Tragic final pictures have emerged showing the family in France hours before their fateful journey. 

The Iran-Nejads, whose initial destination was due to have been Germany or Switzerland, are thought to have sold all their possessions and borrowed money from relatives to make it to Britain, where they are said to have family.

Mr Irannazhad said he last spoke to his brother on Monday, when he urged him not to attempt the crossing.  ‘We begged him to not try to cross by boat but he insisted on going,’ he told the Telegraph

‘It was the third time that they had attempted to cross to the UK. Two times they wanted to cross via train and the last time they wanted to cross by boat.’   

Iraqi-Kurd Choman Manish, 37, said that the ‘beautiful friendly family’ had told him of plans to join others on a small boat on Tuesday morning – but he too advised them not to go by boat.

He told them: ‘It’s not good and a really bad situation if you stay in the water,’ Sky News reports.

Mr Manish said: ‘I said, it will be bad for you. They told me God is big. I know God is big, but what can I do.

‘I told them many times, but they never accepted my word… They trusted in God, they think God will protect them.’

Mr Manish has been at the Dunkirk jungle – along with more than 500 other migrants – for more than four months.

He said that everyone at the camp – many of whom are Kurdish – is upset over the tragedy, ‘but what can we do’.

The family had left Iran on August 7 to travel to Turkey, before taking a ferry to Italy and rode in the back of lorries to France almost a month ago, according to a friend who remained in Calais. 

French coastguard have called off searches and said there is no hope of finding any more survivors

French coastguard have called off searches and said there is no hope of finding any more survivors

Their toddler, Artin, is yet to be found, but French coastguard have called off searches and said there is no hope of finding any more survivors 

The family is thought to have convened at 8am on Tuesday at a beach in the Loon-Plage area of Dunkirk after the crossing was organised by a Kurdish-Iranian middleman working with smugglers. A yachtsman saw the capsized boat 90 minutes later and raised the alarm. Pictured: The family's tent (on the right)

The family is thought to have convened at 8am on Tuesday at a beach in the Loon-Plage area of Dunkirk after the crossing was organised by a Kurdish-Iranian middleman working with smugglers. A yachtsman saw the capsized boat 90 minutes later and raised the alarm. Pictured: The family's tent (on the right)

The family is thought to have convened at 8am on Tuesday at a beach in the Loon-Plage area of Dunkirk after the crossing was organised by a Kurdish-Iranian middleman working with smugglers. A yachtsman saw the capsized boat 90 minutes later and raised the alarm. Pictured: The family’s tent (on the right) 

How vicious people traffickers make thousands moving desperate migrants into Britain 

Illegal cross-Channel migration is being fueled by a global network of people smugglers making millions from their evil trade.

Research has revealed how these smugglers operate, and the false promises they use to convince people to make the dangerous trip to the UK.

Agents of the smugglers drum up business by visiting impoverished families in Iraq, Iran, Africa and Pakistan, often with exaggerated tales of British largesse.

Potential migrants have to raise money for a fee, or agree to pay one later, with much of the sum – which can be up to £10,000 – usually donated by family members and non-payment punished with threats and violence.

Migrants from the Middle East often first step foot in Europe in Greece after making a dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. They then travel more than a thousand miles – often in the back of a lorry – to Calais, where they set up camp.

Smugglers usually bring migrants to Calais in batches, with a new group arriving after the previous one has already left in boats across the Channel.

A people smuggler named Farooq revealed how the next stage of the process worked in an interview secretly recorded by LBC.

He revealed that migrants would be told to sleep rough around Calais while he bought a boat for them to travel in.

The migrants would then be put into the boat, pointed in the direction of Britain, and told not to stop until they reached UK waters, where they would be rescued.

There have also been reports of people traffickers hiring French fishing boat crews to carry desperate migrants halfway across the Channel in a bid to evade eye-in-the-sky military drones.

When migrants are picked up by the UK Coastguard they are taken to a migrant detention centre to be processed.

Of the 1,890 foreigners reached British shores in small boats last year, only about 125 were returned European countries, according to the Home Office.

Asylum seekers are housed in accommodation centres for the first few weeks after arriving before being moved elsewhere, including into hotels and bed and breakfasts.

During this period they are not allowed to work and sometimes fall into menial jobs in the black economy, such as cleaning or washing dishes.

If they are successful they will be allowed to take a job. However, despite the false claims of people smugglers, many of these jobs are low paid, with migrants often held back by low skills or a lack of English. 

Additional reporting by Sue Reid for the Daily Mail

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In Calais, they were staying in a camp near the town before moving to the Puythouck site, but were evicted by police and moved to a nearby hotel after social services found them a room, ahead of their crossing on Tuesday.

They were travelling in an 18-man, 20ft boat packed with as many as 22 passengers that capsized at around 8.30am on Tuesday off the coast of Loon-Plage near Dunkirk. 

The French-flagged Marbuzet, a 40ft-long pleasure craft, was passing by and told the coastguard, which rescued fifteen survivors who had suffered cardiac arrest and hypothermia. That puts the estimated death toll at seven, with three people yet to be found, including the toddler. 

Alain Ledaguenel, the president of the French coastguard (SNCM), said the boat was a death trap, adding: ‘It wasn’t a dingy but a polyester amateur fishing boat. It was overloaded and capsized because it almost certainly hit a wave sideways.’ 

Kurdish journalist Sarook Sarkda, 37, who is from Iran, said the smugglers who owned the boat were forcing people to get onboard before the fatal crossing.

Mr Sarkrde said he had ruled out trying to reach Britain by boat after a near-death experience on October 17 when the 10ft boat he was in began to sink in the Channel.

Mr Sarkrde, who had paid £2,000 to get on the boat, said he and 18 other immigrants, including a pregnant woman, were pulled from the sea and returned to France. 

Wearing soaking clothes, they were dumped in an unfamiliar town by aggressive French police, who told them: ‘It was your choice to cross, so it’s your problem.

After the deadliest tragedy of the Channel migrant crisis so far, Boris Johnson vowed to ‘crack down’ on brutal people smugglers who have fueled a surge in crossings.

A Kurdish Iraqi migrant who befriended the family at the makeshift camp where they were staying in Dunkirk said the family wanted to join at least one other relative already in the UK. 

He urged them not to attempt the crossing due to the stormy conditions but they went ahead, saying: ‘God is big’. 

Choman Manesh told Sky News: ‘It is so sad because I know this family over here that situation happened yesterday.

‘I advised them ‘please don’t go by boat. It’s not good. It’s really bad situation. If you stay in water, it will be bad for you’. They told me ‘God is big’.’

There is confusion about how many people died in the incident, with some sources putting the figure as high as 28 but others saying 22. 

The tragedy has prompted fury at vicious smuggling gangs who are blamed for fueling the rise in crossings, with Boris Johnson vowing a ‘crackdown’ after the worst loss of life during migrant crisis so far. 

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke tweeted: ‘It is terrible that tragedy has struck in the Channel again. People traffickers have no regard for life, no matter how old or young.’

Meanwhile, Alp Mehmet, from Migration Watch, blamed French officials for not preventing the ‘totally avoidable’ tragedy.  He told Talk Radio: ‘Why didn’t they stop them from sailing in the first place? We are talking about a lot of people in a big boat, someone should have noticed.’ 

The migrant boat was spotted by Marbuzet, a pleasure boat. This graphic - based data from shipping tracker Marine Traffic - shows the Marbuzet's course on Tuesday morning

The migrant boat was spotted by Marbuzet, a pleasure boat. This graphic - based data from shipping tracker Marine Traffic - shows the Marbuzet's course on Tuesday morning

The migrant boat was spotted by Marbuzet, a pleasure boat. This graphic – based data from shipping tracker Marine Traffic – shows the Marbuzet’s course on Tuesday morning 

After the deadliest tragedy of the Channel migrant crisis so far, Boris Johnson vowed to 'crack down' on brutal people smugglers who have fueled a surge in crossings. Pictured are emergency services at Dunkirk harbour on Tuesday

After the deadliest tragedy of the Channel migrant crisis so far, Boris Johnson vowed to 'crack down' on brutal people smugglers who have fueled a surge in crossings. Pictured are emergency services at Dunkirk harbour on Tuesday

After the deadliest tragedy of the Channel migrant crisis so far, Boris Johnson vowed to ‘crack down’ on brutal people smugglers who have fueled a surge in crossings. Pictured are emergency services at Dunkirk harbour on Tuesday 

How Iran has a long history of discrimination and repression against its Kurdish minority

The Kurds are an ethnic group native to a semi-autonomous region known as Kurdistan that spans parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Armenia – nations where they live as minorities. There are thought to be around 35million of them in total, with up to 12million based in Iran.

Iran has a long history of discrimination and repression against its Kurdish minority. Partly, the discrimination is religious. A majority of Kurds consider themselves to be Sunni Muslims, unlike the majority of Iranians, who are Shia. 

While equality of religions is technically guaranteed in Iranian law, in reality Sunni Muslims struggle to establish places of worship and schools for their children.

According to an Amnesty International report in 2008, Iranian Kurds have been subjected to discriminatory hiring policies that make it hard to get jobs, with their home regions under-funded and neglected, leading to ‘entrenched poverty’. 

Kordestan, the centre of the Kurdish community in Iran, is one of the country’s poorest provinces with its economy relying mostly on farming and handicrafts.

Kurds have also been subjected to forced evictions and live in largely substandard housing, lacking proper sanitation and water supplies. Some Kurdish housing has not been sufficiently rebuilt since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, according to UN reports, when the Kurds were targeted by Saddam’s forces.

The town of Sardasht, where the migrant family who drowned hailed from, was among those targeted – struck by poison gas dropped from Iraqi fighter planes. At least 113 people died while thousands more were injured. Kurdish leaders say the victims were never given proper medical care, and some still suffer from debilitating lung conditions.

Kurdish children are often forbidden from speaking their native language in schools, and Iran bans mothers from giving their children certain Kurdish names. Literacy rates are also significantly lower for Kurdish students – particularly women – than in the Iranian population as a whole.

Those who do speak up about the plight of the Kurds face arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, and the death penalty. According to the UN, there were around 1,800 Kurdish political prisoners being held in the country in 2017. Charges against them ranged from eating during Ramadan, to cheering the results of a referendum in neighbouring Iraq. 

The same year, 64 Kurdish prisoners were executed – the highest number of any minority group – while at least 16 were subjected to torture, and 31 went on hunger strike to protest their conditions. Those who did go on strike, were routinely denied medical care. 

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The tragedy will intensify the pressure on the Government to broker a deal with the French to finally stop the crossings. 

Mr Johnson said on Tuesday: ‘My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives in the Channel today. 

‘We have offered the French authorities every support as they investigate this terrible incident and will do all we can to crack down on the ruthless criminal gangs who prey on vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys.’

Seven migrants have died trying to cross the Channel this year – three more than last year’s toll.  

The PM’s words were echoed by Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said: ‘We are in touch with our French counterparts who are leading on the response and have offered whatever support they need as they investigate this incident.

‘This tragic news highlights the dangers that come with crossing the Channel and I will do everything I can to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.’

Last October Miss Patel pledged that illegal Channel crossings would be an ‘infrequent phenomenon’ within six months. 

But at least 7,500 migrants are known to have crossed to England by small boat so far this year – more than four times the total for the whole of 2019.

Miss Patel has been negotiating with the French government to step up patrols on their coastline but no deal has yet been reached.

She wants Paris to agree to migrant boats being turned around in the Channel and sent back to France. 

Marlene Schiappa, deputy French interior minister, tweeted that the death toll from Tuesday’s incident ‘is heavy and still uncertain’. 

The migrants made a Mayday call in which they begged, ‘Help us, we’re sinking’, according to The Sun

However, it is not clear who received the call, as the French coastguard said they were informed of the incident by the a passing pleasure boat, the Marbuzet. 

Retired coastguard officer Andy Roberts said Tuesday’s horrific incident was predictable.

‘It’s absolutely tragic,’ he added. ‘Something like this was always eventually going to happen and sadly it now has. 

‘There is no way that boat was ever going to successfully cross the Dover strait.’  

Home Office Clandestine Channel Threat Commander Dan O’Mahoney said he was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of the deaths and added there was ‘no way’ the boat was going to get across the Dover Strait. 

He said the weather was ‘appalling’ at the time, with wind speeds of 42 knots (around 47mph). 

Last night sources told The Sun: ‘The boat had not left French waters but the conditions were pretty tough.

‘The radio message came in at about the same time a yachtsman had reported seeing the vessel in difficulties.

‘It was incredibly fortunate the alarm was raised quickly enough for a rescue operation to be mounted.’      

This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk

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