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How migration data is being used to create new opportunities?



Migration is one of the most challenging issues confronting policymakers around the world – and the data they use to help make key decisions is often difficult to analyse.

Those at the Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography, run by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra in Italy, are trying to make it easier by producing in-depth data that harnesses and connects new data sources.

In this episode of Futuris, Euronews finds out how researchers are developing such data to create new opportunities.

Main sources of data collection

Mobile phones, social media and earth observation data are some of the resources used to collect data.

Researchers track anonymous digital traces on these platforms, as JRC research scientist, Michele Vespe, explained to Euronews.

“If these traces are aggregated in such a way to overcome privacy issues, ethics and data security issues, then, collectively, they can show social trends that would be unthinkable with official statistics.

“So they can complement the official statistics, increasing the timeliness of the data, because they are collected at any time, even now while we are talking, and they also give us additional perspectives,” he added.

How data can help industries

The big data collected can support decision-making in various areas, including the jobs market – providing information on the distribution of workers’ and their skills in one territory, as Sara Grubanov-Boskovic from the JRC explained to Euronews.

“We have this wide variety of data on European labour markets and we can understand what challenges the sectors are facing – shortages on the labour market, for example. This data also shows us that there are sectors in which migrants make a particular contribution in alleviating shortages. You can think of agriculture, health care – and the long-term care sector,” she said.

A study carried out during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak has shown that, on average, 13% of all workers employed in key sectors during the EU’s coronavirus response, were migrants.

Marie-Cecile Rouillon is a policy coordinator at the European Commission in the Department for Migration and Home Affairs. She said:

“It is key to know what skills are needed by the labour market, in a society that is demographically ageing. It is essential to have this very global vision of migration and how migration fits into a much more global and complex context from an international point of view or at the heart of our society.”

JRC scientists also carried out a multi-disciplinary exercise combining fiscal modelling with demographic projections to analyse the impact of migration on public resources, as well as the consequences on the sustainability of the European welfare systems.

Dessislava Choumelova is the head of the unit.

“For the new plan on integration, we are looking at what skills Europe needs. Are their migrants with those skills? What is the educational background that we need? How are migrants integrated? Do they have jobs? Who are they? Are they female? Are they male? And all this information comes into the integration plan,” she explained.

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45 arrested across Europe and Brazil as authorities seize ‘record haul’ of cocaine




Forty-five people have been arrested in a major international operation against a drug-trafficking network between Brazil and Europe, Europol announced on Friday.

The European police agency also revealed that more than 52 tonnes of cocaine were also seized by law enforcement agencies.

More than one thousand police officers conducted 179 house searches in different countries early on Friday morning, which led to the arrests.

Thirty-eight people were detained in Brazil, four in Belgium, two in the United Arab Emirates, and one in Spain.

Europol, which coordinated the operation, has described the suspects as members of a “highly professional criminal syndicate”.

The drug trafficking network is believed to have imported at least 45 tonnes of cocaine into main European seaports each year, with profits exceeding €100 million over six months.

According to Europol, the criminal network had direct contacts with drug cartels in Brazil and other South American countries that were responsible for preparing and shipping cocaine, transported to Europe via sea containers.

“The scale of cocaine importation from Brazil to Europe under their control and command is massive and over 52 tonnes of cocaine were seized by law enforcement over the course of the investigation.”

The agency also said that the main targets of the operation were identified with support from the French and Dutch-led investigation against the encrypted phone network Encrochat.

Authorities also seized 70 luxury vehicles in Brazil, Belgium, and Spain in the raids as well as 37 aircraft in Brazil.

Also recovered was over €12 million in cash in Portugal, €300 000 in cash in Belgium, and over R$1 million Brazilian Real (~€157,000) and $169 000 (~€141,000) in cash from Brazil.

A further 163 properties were seized in Brazil worth in excess of R$132 million (€20.7 million) as well as two houses in Spain valued at €4 million, and two apartments in Portugal worth €2.5 million.

Ten individuals in Spain have also had their assets frozen as part of the operation, Europol said.

“This operation highlights the complex structure and vast reach of Brazilian organised crime groups in Europe,” said Europol’s Deputy Director, Wil van Gemert.

“The scale of the challenge faced today by police worldwide calls for a coordinated approach to tackle the drug trade across continents.”

“The commitment of our partner countries to work via Europol underpinned the success of this operation and serves as a continued global call to action,” he added.

Three continents were involved in the investigation to find the “record haul”, which has been described as the “biggest ever crackdown” of its kind.

The international investigation had been brought together by Europol in April and was led by authorities in Portugal, Belgium, and Brazil.

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Germany Merkel: Car rams into chancellery gate ahead of Covid decision




A car has been driven into the gates of Angela Merkel’s Federal Chancellery building in Berlin, German police say.

A 54-year-old man was detained but the background to the incident was unclear.

The Volkswagen car had messages daubed in white on both sides. One called for an end to “globalisation politics” while another referred to “you damned killers of children and old people”.

The incident came hours before Mrs Merkel held talks with regional leaders on extending Covid safety measures.

It is not known if she was in the building at the time. Germany’s “lockdown light” is expected to be extended until 20 December and the restrictions have prompted protests from Covid deniers and far-right activists.

However, there were indications that Wednesday morning’s low-speed crash was not related to the protests.

An interior ministry spokesman later confirmed German reports that the man detained had also driven into the gate in February 2014. On that occasion the car had different white slogans daubed on the side. One called for an end to climate change while another read simply: “Nicole, I love you.”

Police said they were trying to establish whether the driver on Wednesday had a psychological condition or a particular motive. A government spokesperson said at no point was there any risk to the chancellor or anyone else.

Mrs Merkel is discussing a draft proposal agreed by Germany’s 16 state premiers to keep hotels and restaurants shut and limit private gatherings to five people (not including children under 14). A special Christmas exemption from 23 December to 1 January would allow gatherings of up to 10 people.

German health officials reported 410 deaths from Covid-19 on Wednesday – the highest daily number since the pandemic began. However, Germany has seen proportionally far fewer fatalities than other Western European countries, with a total of 14,771.

Germany has a large protest movement against Covid-19 measures, including many anti-vaccination activists. Protesters rallied in the centre of Berlin last week close to the parliament building, the Reichstag, before the protest was broken up by police.

Angela Merkel, 66, has just marked 15 years as chancellor and is planning to step down from the post next year. She does not live in the chancellery but instead leads a modest life in a Berlin flat with her husband, Prof Joachim Sauer.

Her Christian Democrat (CDU) party is doing well in the opinion polls, partly because of her handling of the pandemic. The government agreed on Wednesday to hold parliamentary elections on 26 September 2021 but the race to succeed Mrs Merkel as the CDU’s candidate for chancellor is still to run.

The CDU will hold an online congress in January 2021 when they are expected to select a new party leadership.

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Russian special forces rescue boy kidnapped by suspected paedophile




Russian special forces have rescued a seven-year-old boy kidnapped in late September by a suspected paedophile.

Footage shows officers cutting through a reinforced metal door to release the boy and arrest the suspect in the village of Makarikha, east of Moscow.

The operation was co-ordinated by Interpol, after the agency’s officers in the US spotted a dark web user with a possible link to the abduction.

The child, who has not been named, appears to be physically unharmed.

The suspect is a 26-year-old resident of Makarikha village.
In the video released by the Russian interior ministry, the suspect is heard telling the officers that the boy was playing on a computer notebook in the basement of the house.

The boy’s father later told Russia’s Tass news agency that the child was examined by medics and he “was doing well”.

“He is healthy, and hasn’t lost weight,” the father said.

Psychologists have been brought in to help the boy and the family to overcome the experience.

The boy was abducted on 28 September in the nearby village of Gorki after he got off a school bus and was walking home.

Nearly 3,000 people were involved in a massive search operation.

In a statement, Interpol said police in several countries had helped locate the suspect, using the agency’s International Child Sexual Exploitation database.

“Today, a young boy is back where he belongs – with his family – thanks to dedicated specialist officers and swift action by authorities around the world,” the international police agency said.

“While we’re truly delighted that this story has a safe ending, many children are still out there awaiting rescue.”

The dark web is a part of the internet that is not visible to search engines and accessible only through specialised tools.

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