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The UK will spend £140m next year helping starving people in Yemen who are suffering one of the most “acute humanitarian crises in the world”, the deputy foreign secretary has said.

Speaking exclusively to Sky News, Andrew Mitchell raised the plight of the Yemeni people, whom he said were living “on the margins of subsistence” following nearly a decade of civil war.

Mr Mitchell promised that the UK’s bilateral support for Yemen would increase by 60% and that any money provided would be designed “directly to help people who are in a very perilous humanitarian position”.

“It is Britain doing good, going to the rescue of the most desperate people in the world and helping them,” he said.

The deputy foreign secretary’s intervention comes following months of reporting from Yemen from Sky News’ special correspondent Alex Crawford, who has detailed how the war in Gaza has had an adverse impact on the Yemeni people.

Yemen’s Houthi militants, backed by Iran, have targeted ships in the Red Sea region which they claim are linked to Israel or helping its war effort.

The repeated missile and drone attacks by the Houthis since November have forced international cargo ships to be re-routed and take longer, more costly journeys around the Cape of Good Hope that has pushed up the price of goods in Yemen – already one of the poorest countries in the world.

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The Houthi actions are wreaking havoc on global shipping routes but has seen them surge in popularity at home.

However, the Houthis’ actions, while condemned by the West, have prompted demonstrations of support in the streets of Yemen, where solidarity is expressed with Palestinians in Gaza.

Mr Mitchell said 70% of the food that gets into Yemen goes through ports used by international shipping and was therefore being put at risk by the Houthis’ actions.

“It is often impeded in getting there by what the Houthis are doing in disrupting the flow of international shipping,” he explained.

“So that is very bad – and, an example of the terrible effect of the Houthis are having on their own people as well as on the wider international community.”

Read more:
Babies are starving as Yemen teeters on brink of collapse
Alex Crawford: Inside Yemen – the forgotten war

Asked what the international community was doing to bring about peace in Yemen, Mr Mitchell replied: “Well, Britain holds the pen, in the jargon of the trade, at the United Nations. So we lead on Yemen.

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Sky’s special correspondent Alex Crawford and her team report from Yemen.

“And, recently we’ve been trying to make sure that the negotiations, which the UN special representative has been involved in, are successful.

“There’s a very different situation now from what there was a couple of years ago with the Saudis. And there is a peace process that is there for the taking.

“We urge all the different parties who are involved in Yemen to get involved in that peace process, to bring an end to a terrible situation, which, above all, millions of ordinary people in Yemen are suffering from.”

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Crypto exchange Kraken has ‘no plans’ to delist USDT in Europe for now

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Crypto exchange Kraken has ‘no plans’ to delist USDT in Europe for now

Concerns were raised after a Bloomberg article reported Kraken was “actively reviewing” which tokens it could continue to list under the European Union’s upcoming MiCA framework.

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Tornado Cash verdict has chilling implications for crypto industry

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Tornado Cash verdict has chilling implications for crypto industry

The conviction of Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev reinforces a very broad interpretation of criminal liability, which has major repercussions for blockchain.

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Grant Shapps ‘angry inside’ over infected blood scandal ahead of inquiry report

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Grant Shapps 'angry inside' over infected blood scandal ahead of inquiry report

The defence secretary has said he is “angry inside” over the infected blood scandal ahead of a long-waited report into the decades-long injustice.

Grant Shapps told Sky News he agreed it had been one of the most “shameful failures” of government and said he was dismayed by the “lack of anybody taking responsibility”.

The findings of a public inquiry into the scandal, chaired by Sir Brian Langstaff, are due to be published on Monday.

From 1970 to the 1990s, tens of thousands of people were infected with contaminated blood through blood products or blood transfusions given via the NHS. People were infected with hepatitis or HIV – in some cases with both.

An estimated 3,000 people died as a result.

Politics latest: West in an ‘existential battle’ over world order, Shapps warns

Mr Shapps told Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips that the scandal was a “massive injustice which needs to be put right” and said the government would act on the report.

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Thousands of people died after being given infected blood

He said that while he was yet to see the report, he hoped it would finally allow families’ pain and loss to be acknowledged and for the government to properly respond.

Mr Shapps said he had spoken to relatives of several victims, including a couple who had lost their son, and said their stories made feel him “angry inside”.

He added: “It just made me angry to know they had lost their son without anyone ever taking responsibility, so I think this is why this report tomorrow is very important.”

Successive governments have been blamed for failing to take responsibility and the current government has been accused of trying to delay compensation to victims after an inquiry was first set up by Theresa May in 2017.

It is estimated that the compensation bill could now exceed £10m.

The defence secretary admitted the process of delivering payouts to victims had gone on for “so long”.

He added: “This is a massive injustice which needs to be put right.

“And I know the government said we will. The report tomorrow, I think, will be the day for that family and others and I know the government will want to respond quickly.”

Asked whether Prime Minister Rishi Sunak would apologise to the victims, Mr Shapps said: “I don’t want to mislead because I don’t have special insight into that.”

Read more:
Boy, 7, was used in secret blood trials, parents say
Doctor’s horror over scandal
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Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting also told Trevor Phillips that he expected “successive governments” to be criticised in the report by Sir Brian.

“Everyone has got their responsibility to bear in this appalling scandal and we have got a shared responsibility to put it right,” he said.

“The moment to act can’t come soon enough.”

Sir Brian is due to deliver his final report just after midday on Monday.

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