Death Toll Rises in Migrant Shipwreck near Libya
The estimated toll of the ship that capsized while smuggling migrants from Libya to Europe has risen to as many as 900 deaths, making it the deadliest migrant ship disaster to ever occur in the Mediterranean. Only 28 survivors have been found, among them the ship’s Tunisian captain and Syrian first mate who are now ...
The estimated toll of the ship that capsized while smuggling migrants from Libya to Europe has risen to as many as 900 deaths, making it the deadliest migrant ship disaster to ever occur in the Mediterranean. Only 28 survivors have been found, among them the ship’s Tunisian captain and Syrian first mate who are now under arrest in Italy and may be charged with human trafficking. Efforts to look for other survivors have been complicated as European rescue vessels have been called away to assist other migrant ships, including one that ran aground and capsized along the coast of Greece.
There has been a sharp rise in Mediterranean migration so far this year, and at least 1,500 have already died trying to make the voyage from Libya to Europe. E.U. diplomats met yesterday in Luxembourg to discuss the crisis and released a 10-point plan to address the flow of people. The plan includes increasing the size and scope of the program that interdicts and rescues migrant vessels, destroying vessels once migrants have been rescued, and increasing support for processing asylum and immigration requests. The prime ministers of Italy and Malta called for proactive measures as well, such as “targeted, nonmilitary intervention against Libya’s human traffickers.”
U.S. Sends Aircraft Carrier to Gulf, Iran Advised Houthis against Taking Capital
A week after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution imposing a new arms embargo on Yemen, the United States is sending an aircraft carrier to the Gulf of Aden. Reports speculate that it could assist with interdicting Iranian weapons shipments to Houthi rebels. Yesterday, the Huffington Post reported that intelligence officials had learned that Iran actually advised the Houthis not to seize Sanaa last September, but that Houthi leaders decided to proceed when they learned the city was essentially unguarded. The report contradicts claims that the Houthis are acting on behalf of Tehran or are under foreign control, though the Houthis do receive some Iranian aid. Iran’s leadership has been vocal in calling for a ceasefire in Yemen, and Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said one could be reached today, saying “We are optimistic that in the coming hours, after many efforts, we will see a halt to military attacks in Yemen.” A spokesman for the Yemeni government suggested on Twitter that the statement was not credible.
- An Egyptian court sentenced former President Mohammed Morsi to 20 years in prison for his role in the arrest and mistreatment of protesters during his time in office, but acquitted him of murder charges stemming from the deaths of protesters and a journalist.
- For the first time in its history, Turkey will allow Armenians in Turkey to conduct religious services commemorating the Armenian genocide; the policy was announced by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in his second annual statement acknowledging the deaths of “innocent Ottoman Armenians.”
- The U.N. Security Council issued a call for all parties in the Syrian civil war to allow the provision of humanitarian aid to the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus.
- Pope Francis condemned the executions of Ethiopian Christians by the Islamic State revealed in a recent video; “The blood of our Christian brothers and sisters is a testimony which cries out to be heard by everyone who can still distinguish between good and evil,” he said.
- The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack near the Spanish embassy in Libya on Monday in which no one was injured
-J. Dana Stuster
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