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Remittance 'super tax' costs Africa $1.8 billion a year

Africans are losing $1.8 billion (1.3 billion euros) a year due to high fees levied on funds sent from abroad by relatives, Britain's leading think tank on development said Wednesday. The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) found that Africans face some of the highest charges in the world for international transfers, but global leader Western Union insisted that the fees were down to a range of local factors.

NGOs condemn Morocco 'silence' over migrant crisis warning

Activists condemned Tuesday Morocco's "total silence" over warnings about the plight of sub-Saharan migrants, accusing security forces of "barbaric acts" that contradicted the country's new migration policy. Last month, following a surge in attempted border crossings into Ceuta and Melilla, Spain's North African enclaves, Moroccan authorities relocated hundreds of illegal immigrants to the capital. That "forced displacement" was denounced by a network of 10 NGOs working with migrants in Morocco and treating their wounds and who warned of a "humanitarian crisis."

Obamas dine out, attend Broadway show in New York

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle dined out in New York on Friday and attended a Broadway show, "A Raisin in the Sun," starring actor Denzel Washington. The Obamas were joined at the show by adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett as well as former football star Ahmad Rashad, according to an administration official. The president was in town to speak at a meeting of the civil rights group National Action Network. He returns to Washington later in the evening.

Denver hires teachers who came to U.S. illegally as children

By Keith Coffman DENVER (Reuters) - The Denver Public School system is allowing immigrants who have resided illegally in the United States since they were children to teach in its classrooms under a relaxed employment policy advanced by the Obama administration, district officials said this week. Superintendent Tom Boasberg said in a statement that Denver schools were the first in the country to hire teachers under a directive signed by President Barack Obama in 2012.

Italy needs EU help to handle tide of refugees, U.N. says

GENEVA (Reuters) - An estimated 6,000 people, many of them Syrians and Eritreans, have been rescued by Italy's navy in four days and thousands more asylum seekers keen to reach Europe have gathered in Libya, the U.N. refugee agency on Friday. The UNHCR urged the European Union to help Italy provide more reception facilities and find "durable solutions" for asylum seekers fleeing war and persecution.

Canadians: No appetite for the jobs that temporary foreign workers fill?

OTTAWA - Amid the uproar of yet another temporary foreign worker scandal, some observers insist that many Canadians in various regions of the country simply won't work the jobs coveted by those eager to start a new life in Canada. Hotel chambermaids and restaurant workers, particularly in regions of the country struggling with labour shortages, are among the positions that small businesses are having trouble filling, said Daniel Kelly, head of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Obama's aunt, who fought deportation, dies in US

US President Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt, who won asylum in the United States after fighting possible deportation, has died, her lawyer said Tuesday. She was 61. Zeituni Onyango died in her sleep in the US city of Boston on Monday night, after falling ill in January, Margaret Wong said. "The United States Kenyan community mourns the loss of Zeituni Onyango, known to her friends as 'Auntie,' and half-aunt of President Barack Obama," Wong said in a statement.

Tennis: Wawrinka brings Swiss level with Kazakhstan

World number three Stanislas Wawrinka beat Mikhail Kukushkin, the world 56, 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to bring Switzerland level at 2-2 against Kazakhstan in their Davis Cup quarter-final. Fourth-ranked Roger Federer will play Andrey Golubev, the world number 46, in the deciding singles. The winner will play either Italy or Great Britain in September's semi-finals. stp/fbx/dj/nr

Tennis: Swiss drop opening rubber as Wawrinka suffers upset

World number three Stanislas Wawrinka suffered a shock defeat on Friday as Switzerland dropped the opening rubber of their Davis Cup quarter-final against Kazakhstan in Geneva. The Australian Open champion lost the opening set in a tie-break and never recovered as unfancied Andrey Golubev, the world number 64, stunned the home fans with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5) victory. "It was a great match I think for me," an understated Golubev said after one of his biggest career wins.

Italy to overhaul illegal immigration laws as 730 rescued by navy

Italy's lower house gave the green light to a draft bill that would decriminalise illegal immigration Wednesday, hours after the navy rescued 730 migrants adrift off its southern coast. The immigrants, including 124 women and 29 minors, were picked up from two boats attempting the perilous journey across the Mediterranean from north Africa after being spotted by patrol helicopters. The draft law passed by Italy's lower parliament decriminalises undocumented immigration, except in cases where a person expelled by the government returns illegally to the country.
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