Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for December 26, 2009

Newsline: Spanish diplomat allegedly involved in trafficking

Five people, including a Spaniard, have been arrested for allegedly sending unemployed youth from Punjab to European countries on fake documents but genuine visas obtained with the help of a Spanish diplomat here. The Special Operations Squad (SOS) of the Crime Branch arrested Anand Malkani (31), Amar Pal Singh (28), Satish Rattu (36) and Maxon Tito (47) and their Spanish accomplice Gerardo Morante Mendez (36) for illegally sending people to Spain and other European countries on Schengen visas obtained through fraudulent means. They were arrested from south Delhi’s Lajapt Nagar area. Two laptops, 12 passports, a visa sticker, and other incriminating material were recovered from them, police said. Mendez has contacts with a diplomat in the Spanish Embassy. Through this diplomat, he managed to get genuine visas on the basis of forged supportive documents. The police clarified that there was “nothing so far” to suggest the Spanish official (diplomat) was also part of the racket or was even aware of the fact that Geraldo was obtaining ‘Schengen visa’ through him by fraudulent means.



Newsline: U.N. 2010-2011 budget pushes past $5 billion

The General Assembly approved a two-year U.N. budget that pushed past the $5 billion mark, but Western countries said they had won savings on the cost of an organisation some see as profligate. As in past years, the biennial budget negotiations were marked by a tussle between poor countries seeking to raise U.N. development spending and major developed countries — the biggest budget contributors — trying to rein the figures in. Western diplomats said they calculated that the various requests submitted by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for 2010-2011 had totalled around $5.5 billion. The agreed figure was “considerably reduced from the budget we were given,” one said. The so-called core budget voted through does not include peace-keeping, currently running at some $8 billion a year and approved in separate negotiations, or the costs of several major U.N. agencies funded by voluntary contributions from member states.


Newsline: Expat cancer victim blames UK government, Embassy lack of help

A breast cancer patient whose free health care was withdrawn while she was half way through treatment to eradicate it has hit out at the British Government for failing to recognise the plight of ex-pats living in Spain. Elaine Proud, 58, and her husband John, 63, are worried that their savings won’t last long enough to pay for the life-saving treatment that she needs. The withdrawal of free health care came as Elaine was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, which was diagnosed in February this year after she noticed a lump in her armpit. The couple moved to El Raso, Guardamar, in Spain 2005, financing their new home from the sale of their property in Bradford, West Yorkshire. They bought their house outright after they were both made redundant from their jobs in the UK, where Elaine was an office manager and John worked in car part engineering. Then earlier this year they learned that free health care was to be withdrawn. ‘We are really annoyed with the British Government. We have paid our dues in full to the Government yet they will not pay for our treatment here. But they will pay for anyone else who turns up in England never having paid anything into the country. A spokesman for the British Embassy said: ‘The British Embassy and Consular system in Spain is not responsible for the provision of healthcare in Valencia.


Newsline: Armenian Embassy in Poland’s Charity Fair

The wives of the ambassadors in Poland organized the New Year day Charity Fairs, and proceeds went to children with cancer. Armenian Embassy was presenting national traditional hand-made souvenirs, Armenian brandy and the works of Armenian artists in Poland.