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Exit from EU will give UK better global approach to migration, says Foster

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Exit from EU will give UK better global approach to migration, says Foster

By John Akubo

In this interview with the Guardian via telephone UK minister for Immigration and Future Borders, Kelvin John Foster says leaving the European Union will bring positive changes for international students coming into the United Kingdom (UK).
*Are you nostalgic about leaving the EU. Is it having any negative impact on your educational system?*
We recognise that the UK leaving the EU will bring changes for students who are coming into the United Kingdom. But we see it as part of having a global playing field, where we should judge people coming to the UK on what they have to offer, and what their skills and talents are. So we believe that the new points-based global system from the 1st January allows the UK to exercise its own choices and is firmer and students globally will be accessed on exactly the same criteria. And also it’s one that we believe gives a much more streamlined process, as we’re taking the opportunity to simplify our immigration rules as well. So for example, those who are coming to study at a university in the UK may no longer need to sit a separate English Language test if they have already proven to the university their English language skills are up to the level they need for their course.

So, we believe that yes, it is a big change happening on the 1st of January with the end of free movement from Europe. But we believe it is one that sets up the UK to have a better fairer, global approach to migration. We’re looking forward to welcoming more students.
As a global leader in the education sector has the issue of education become so important at this point, when containing the pandemic has been the issue?*
It is very important we get international students particularly from countries like Nigeria to still come to the UK even with the background of the pandemic. Our new Student Route is open for applications, and we are delighted to get a good number of applications from Nigeria. Last year, we saw over 9,000 students granted a visa to come to the UK to do their studies and we are hoping to build on that in the future, but the number this year have of course been impacted by COVID19 restrictions on travel. We are very enthusiastic about the new scheme, and the new system should be simpler and easier for those who are studying at our top-level world-class institutions.
*As a global leader in research and innovation, what is the UK doing to ensure there is a viable vaccine to contain the pandemic?*
Well we have a number of research programmes the government has funded – the most high-profile trials are at Oxford University and Imperial College London – both of whom have vaccines in advance test stages.
But this is a global effort and our institutions are working with colleagues across the world to get us to the place where we can have an effective vaccine. And in particular, I know colleagues in the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) are keen that they can support efforts to ensure that as the vaccine becomes available it is also available in countries across the world including to developing health systems which have also been put under the same pressure western health systems have. We’re very keen that a number quality students are able to come from Nigeria to the UK to be part of this type of research efforts and we see that there is real talent available in Nigeria.

*You talk about having the brightest and the best of students from all over the world, for your educational sector. What are you doing to strengthen the educational system in less developed countries?*
Well what we see is that those coming to study at our world-class UK institutions in many cases take all their skills and what they’ve learnt back home. And whilst we welcome those who decide to make the UK their home on a more permanent basis, similarly, we know many will enjoy their time in the UK, get a world-class education and train the next generation of doctors in their home country.

One of my classmates, when I was in university, was from the Mauritius and he went back having studied law alongside me, and helped enrich my own experience of learning the subject. He went back to work in Mauritius in the government’s legal system there. So I think this isn’t just about a one way street of people coming to the UK and staying. It’s very much a two-way process that also means some really talented people can get the skills, get the education they need, and then head back to Nigeria to help build up the education system there.
*Education in the UK is expensive yet most of the bright and best students are from the less privilege homes. How would you be able to get across to such students?*

We realise that fees need to be paid. But we make the point that the earning potential of those who have degrees from UK universities is very high. People can support themselves, we do allow those studying at a degree-level to work for a certain number of hours per week whilst they’re here in recognition that they may well need to do some part-time work beside their studies to support the cost of their studies. And we believe these are fees are internationally quite competitive as shown by the increasing numbers of application we are seeing from around the world. And there are individual scholarship funds that do exist. But certainly, we believe the fees are competitive and people will get their money’s worth once they get their degree.

Culled from the Guardian

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Finally Biden arrives at the White House

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Finally Biden arrives at the White House

By AFP

US President Joe Biden arrived at the White House on Wednesday, walking the last block with members of his family through streets that were eerily empty because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Under tight security, military bands and an escort of police motorcycles led the presidential motorcade to the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue.
Biden was riding in a limousine with the license plate “46” — he is the 46th US president — flanked by six mask-wearing Secret Service agents before emerging to walk the final steps to the White House.

“It feels like I’m going home,” he told a reporter from NBC News along the route.

Biden’s arrival was followed shortly afterward by that of Kamala Harris, the first woman vice president of the United States.

The 78-year-old Biden was sworn in at the Capitol about four hours earlier, calling for “unity” in his inauguration speech.

Instead of going straight to the White House, Biden and Harris visited Arlington National Cemetery to pay respects to US military war dead at a ceremony attended by former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama.

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Amidst christmas day sermon controversy, Pope boosts Kukah’s profile with International appointment

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Amidst christmas day sermon controversy, Pope boosts Kukah’s profile with International appointment




The Head of Vatican city, Holy Father Pope Francis has appointed the Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Dr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, as a Member of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Human Integral Development.

The appointment was contained in a letter to Bishop Kukah dated 11th December, 2020, and signed by His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, the Prefect of the Dicastery.

With the appointment, Bishop Kukah will now join other members of the Dicastery drawn from different regions of the world to advise and promote the Pope’s concerns on issues of justice and peace, human rights, torture, human trafficking, care of creation and other issues related to the promotion of human dignity and development.


The appointment which is renewable, is for an initial period of five years.The council will be formally inaugurated on a later date.

The Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development was created on January 1, 2017, when four Dicasteries – the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Immigrants and Itinerant People and Health Care of Workers, were all merged by the Holy Father.

Read Also:  Pastor Adeboye cancels First Born Family annual conference amid coronavirus outbreak

This appointment adds to Bishop Kukah’s string of national and international engagements within the universal Church. He was first appointed a Consultor and later a Member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, Vatican City and served under three Popes.

He is currently, chairman, Dialogue Committees of both the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA) and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). He was a member of the official Delegation of the Holy See that met with the Emir of Qatar when that country opened diplomatic relations with the Holy See in 2002.

Besides, in 2016, he was nominated by the vatican to represent Africa on the Advisory Board of the Vienna based, King Abdulazeez International Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue, KAIICID. KAIICID is the fruit of the collaboration between the governments of Saudi Arabia, Austria and the Holy See for the promotion of worldwide Dialogue between world religions. Bishop Kukah comes to the Dicastery on the Promotion of Integral Development with a lot of experience in the areas of human rights, justice and reconciliation.

Credit: Guardian

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Trump breaks record as first American President to be impeached twice

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Trump breaks record as first American President to be impeached twice

Donald Trump on Wednesday broke a record for becoming the first US president to be impeached twice

A bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted to charge him with inciting last week’s attack on the US Capitol.

Just seven days left dor Trump to leave office, 232 lawmakers, including 10 Republicans who broke with the president, voted to impeach the defiant Republican leader for high crimes and misdemeanors on a single charge of “incitement of insurrection.”
Impeachment triggers a trial in the US Senate, but the chamber is not expected to take up the matter until after Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president on January 20.

Scores of National Guard members besieged the seat of US democracy on Wednesday as congressmen and women proceeded with the impeachment process.
Democrats mobilised rapidly to begin the process to have Trump removed after he encouraged his supporters last Wednesday to “march” to the US Capitol and “fight”.
In a violent insurrection, the rioters stormed past outnumbered police, rampaged through and ransacked the building, and interrupted Congress as it was certifying Joe Biden’s election victory.
Political leaders across all continents have condemned Trump’s action, with many accusing him of dragging one of the world’s most respected and resilient democracy in the mud.

With Agency’s report

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