US-Mexico talks: Trump hails deal on migrants to avoid tariffs

President Donald Trump has hailed a deal reached with Mexico to help stem the flow of migrants to the US after he threatened to impose trade tariffs.

Under the deal, in which Mexico agreed to take “unprecedented steps”, the duties that were due to come into effect on Monday have been suspended.

“Mexico will try very hard, and if they do that, this will be a very successful agreement,” said Mr Trump.

There were fears that the tariffs could hurt US businesses and consumers.

Under Mr Trump’s proposal, duties would have risen by 5% every month on goods including cars, beer, tequila, fruit and vegetables until they hit 25% in October.

The deal was reached at the end of three days of negotiations which saw Washington demand a crackdown on Central American migrants.

What do we know about the deal?
In a joint declaration released by the US state department, the two countries said Mexico would take “unprecedented steps” to curb irregular migration and human trafficking.

But it seems the US did not get one of its reported key demands, which would have required Mexico to take in asylum seekers heading for the US and process their claims on its own soil.

Under the deal, Mexico agreed to:

Deploy its National Guard throughout the country from Monday, pledging up to 6,000 additional troops along Mexico’s southern border with Guatemala
Take “decisive action” to tackle human smuggling networks
The US agreed to:

Expand its programme of sending asylum seekers back to Mexico while they await reviews of their claims. In return, the US will “work to accelerate” the adjudication process
Both countries pledged to “strengthen bilateral co-operation” over border security, including “co-ordinated actions” and information sharing.

Is there a crisis on the US-Mexico border?
Trump’s border wall – in seven charts

The declaration added that discussions would continue, and final terms would be accepted and announced within 90 days.

Should Mexico’s actions “not have the expected results”, the agreement warned that additional measures could be taken but did not specify what these would be.

In one of a series of tweets about the deal, Mr Trump quoted National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd as saying: “That’s going to be a huge deal because Mexico will be using their strong Immigration Laws – A game changer. People no longer will be released into the U.S.”

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard told journalists: “I think it was a fair balance, because they have more drastic measures and proposals at the start, and we have reached some middle point.”

Speaking at a separate news conference, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said “we couldn’t be more pleased with the agreement”.

Mr Trump caught members of his own party unaware when he announced the proposed tariffs last week.

Trump tariff threat recedes – for now
By Will Grant, BBC Mexico and Central America correspondent

It’s still unclear whether it was internal pressure within his party or the measures being offered by Mexico that dissuaded Mr Trump from implementing the plan, or perhaps simply an appreciation of its potential consequences.

It became apparent during the talks just how intertwined the two neighbouring economies are, and many argued that a 5% tax on all Mexican goods would hurt US suppliers and customers too. Furthermore, damaging the already fragile Mexican economy could have pushed it into a full recession and created more migrants heading north in search of work.

Still, some considered the bilateral meetings were useful, in part to recognise that both nations are facing a steep rise in undocumented immigration.

The plan to deploy military personnel to Mexico’s southern border may well have helped bring this dispute to an end. However, President Trump has now tied immigration to bilateral trade and could easily do so again in the future should the situation fail to improve.

What is the reaction in Mexico?
Mexico is currently one of the largest trading partners of the US, just behind China and Canada – two countries also locked in trade disputes with the US.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador ran for office vowing to stand up to the US and once said he would not allow Mexico to be Mr Trump’s “whipping boy”.

But some Mexican politicians felt he had given too much, too quickly, and they demanded to see details of the deal.

Ángel Ávila Romero, a senior member of the left-wing PRD party, said the agreement was “not a negotiation, it was a surrender”.

“Mexico should not militarise its southern border. We are not the backyard of Donald Trump,” he tweeted.

Marko Cortés, leader of the conservative National Action Party (PAN), said the sovereignty and dignity of Mexico had been damaged, newspaper El Universal reported.

Who is President López Obrador?
Mr López Obrador said on Twitter that a rally in the border city of Tijuana on Saturday to celebrate Mexican sovereignty would go ahead.

What’s the situation on the US-Mexico border?
On Wednesday, US Customs and Border Protection said migrant detentions had surged in May to the highest level in more than a decade – 132,887 arrests, a 33% increase from April.

The detentions were the highest monthly total since Mr Trump took office.

Official figures show illegal border crossings had been in decline since 2000. In 2000, 1.6 million people were apprehended trying to cross the border illegally – that number was just under 400,000 in 2018.

In 2017, Mr Trump’s first year in office, the figures were the lowest they had been since 1971. But the number of arrests has been rising again, especially in recent months.

In February, Mr Trump declared an emergency on the US-Mexico border, saying it was necessary in order to tackle what he claimed was a crisis.

Queensland snowfall: Icy weather brings warnings in Australia

Icy conditions have swept across eastern Australia, bringing snow to areas as far north as subtropical Queensland.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology described it as a “rare” sight, noting the state had not experienced significant snowfall since 2015.

Severe weather warnings have also been issued for a 1,000km (620 miles) stretch of coast which includes Sydney.

People have been urged to stay indoors amid heavy rain and gale-force winds.

Meteorologist Lachlan Stone said the snowfall in Queensland, driven by colder air from the south, was an unusual occurrence in a state with a sub-tropical to tropical climate.

“But in the south of the state, particularly near the New South Wales border, it’s quite mountainous and in the elevated areas it can get quite cold,” he told the BBC.

Australia records hottest-ever summer
How climate change is affecting Australia

Online, many were quick to comment on the scenes in Australia’s “sunshine state” – as it is more typically known.

Authorities said that snow had fallen near the town of Stanthorpe, 220km south-west of Brisbane.

“These winds will whip up heavy surf conditions, making coastal activities dangerous,” it said in a statement.

Ferry services in Sydney Harbour were also suspended due to the rough conditions.

June marks the beginning of winter in Australia.

The nation has just experienced its hottest summer on record and recent extreme weather events including drought, floods and bushfires.

Australians endure record heat
How Australia is changing – in 11 charts

Australians are more concerned about climate change than at any point in the past decade, a recent poll by the Lowy Institute found.

Low Literacy Rates In Somalia Means People Have To ‘See’ What They Buy So Storefronts Have Amazing Murals (15 Pics)

Being victims of war, terrorist attacks, and poverty, businesses and shopowners in Somalia cannot afford lavish storefront signs – but the artists of the country have found a way to bring in business for these stores while creating revenue for themselves.

Walk down the streets of any major city in Somalia and you will find vibrant hand-painted storefronts. Popping with eye-catching colors, the depictions shout out the contents of the interior. Grocery store walls are covered in a hodgepodge of food and beverages that fill the entirety of the space, while a dentist’s office is outfitted with murals of open mouths in various shapes to display a set of pristine white teeth.

Artists across Somalia make a living by creating vibrant hand-painted storefronts for local businesses

The artistic trend of hand-painted storefronts rose to popularity during the 1990s when Somalia was in the throes of civil war, following the collapse of the country’s military dictatorship in 1991. Struggling artists who could no longer find people to buy their paintings offered their services to local businesses.

Muawiye Hussein Sidow is one of these painters who has made a name for himself – decorating over 100 different stores

Muawiye Hussein Sidow, also known as ‘Shik Shik’, is one of the premier muralists in Mogadishu and has been painting storefronts since 1998. His artworks are featured on more than 100 shops and supermarkets across Mogadishu – and he hopes to expand to neighboring countries one day.

Sidow’s artwork earns him enough to feed his wife, three kids, and even help his father who is a former artist himself and taught Sidow how to paint. To give back to his community, he teaches others how to paint so they too have a way to earn a living in a country with few opportunities.

The 31-year-old painter creates works that usually involve bright pops of color. Some of his pieces stretch over several meters. Sidow told Reuters he never duplicates murals and that his inspiration comes from Somalian daily life.