News ID: 92049
Publish Date : 04 July 2021 - 22:20

TUNIS (Reuters) – At least 43 migrants drowned in a shipwreck off Tunisia as they tried to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy, while another 84 were rescued, the Tunisian Red Crescent says. The boat had set off from Zuwara, on Libya’s northwest coast, carrying migrants from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea and Bangladesh, the humanitarian organization said. In recent months, several drowning incidents have occurred off the Tunisian coast, with an increase in the frequency of attempted crossings to Europe from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy as the weather has improved. “The navy rescued 84 migrants and 43 others drowned in a boat that set off from Libya’s Zuwara towards Europe,” Red Crescent official Mongi Slim said. Hundreds of thousands of people have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing in recent years, many of them fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Arrivals in Italy - one of the main migrant routes into Europe - had been falling in recent years, but numbers picked up again in 2021.

BAKU (Dispatches) – Azerbaijan has released more than a dozen Armenian prisoners in exchange for maps of tens of thousands of mines planted in conflict zones separating the two neighbors. Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry announced on Saturday that more than 15 ethnic Armenians had been handed over to Yerevan in return for the maps revealing the locations of some 92,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines in the Fizuli and Zangilan regions. In a statement released on Saturday, Azerbaijan said Moscow had helped in negotiations that resulted in Baku obtaining detailed minefield maps from Armenia. It also said that in exchange, Baku had released and handed over 15 inmates who had served their prison sentences in Azerbaijan. It gave no details of who the prisoners were. The decades-long tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region flared up last September, resulting in military and civilian casualties from both sides. A Russian-brokered ceasefire ended the conflict with Azerbaijan gaining huge swathes of land that Armenia had controlled.

NICOSIA (Dispatches) – A huge forest blaze in Cyprus has killed four people, destroyed homes and forced evacuations of villages as Greece, the Israeli-occupied territories and other places deployed fire-fighting aircraft to the Mediterranean island. The fire began Saturday afternoon and has swept through districts in the southern foothills of the Troodos mountains as the country grapples with a blistering heatwave. “It is a tragedy,” President Nicos Anastasiades said on Twitter, describing it as “the largest fire since 1974” when the island was divided after Turkey occupied its northern third. The blaze had caused “loss of life” and destroyed property and forest lands, Anastasiades said, adding that “the government will provide immediate assistance to the victims and the families of the victims. “We will not leave anyone abandoned in the destruction of the fire.” Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said that four charred bodies were found outside the village of Odos in Larnaca district.

TOKYO (AFP) – Rescuers in a Japanese holiday town hit by a deadly landslide searched for survivors on Sunday, climbing across cracked roofs and checking cars thrown onto engulfed buildings as more rain lashed the area. Two people have been confirmed dead after Saturday’s disaster at the hot-spring resort of Atami in central Japan, with 10 others rescued and nearly 20 still missing, a local government official said. The landslide, triggered by days of heavy rain, hit on Saturday morning, sweeping away hillside homes and turning residential areas into a quagmire that stretched down to the nearby coast. “It’s possible that the number of damaged houses and buildings is as many as 130. I mourn the loss of life,” Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told ministers at an emergency meeting. “This rainy-season front is expected to keep causing heavy rain in many areas. There is a fear that land disasters could occur even when the rain stops,” he warned. About 1,000 rescuers, including 140 military personnel, were involved in the relief efforts, a Shizuoka prefecture official told the AFP news agency.

FLORIDA (AFP) – Searchers recovered two more bodies to bring the death toll in the Florida apartment block collapse to 24, authorities said Saturday, as the search for victims paused in the afternoon so demolition crews could prepare to bring down the part of the building still standing. The razing took on special urgency as Tropical Storm Elsa churned in the Caribbean, following a path expected to bring it to Florida early next week. “Search and rescue does have to pause temporarily while the demolition preparation is underway. There is threat to the standing building that is posed to the first responders” as crews drill into columns of the damaged building, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “We will begin the search and rescue once again on any sections of the pile that are safe to access as soon as we’re cleared.” Nine days after the collapse in the town of Surfside, 121 people are still listed as missing, Levine Cava said. Hopes of finding anyone alive are fast diminishing. Most of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building collapsed in the early hours of June 24, sending up a huge cloud of dust and rattling Americans unprepared for such a deadly urban disaster. With Tropical Storm Elsa rumbling northward through the Caribbean, just shy of hurricane force -- and headed, for now, straight for Florida -- authorities are accelerating plans to demolish the remaining part of the structure.

RIO DE JANEIRO (Dispatches) – Thousands have taken to the streets in cities across Brazil, demanding that President Jair Bolsonaro be impeached over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over half a million people in the country. The demonstrations followed reports to Congress highlighting irregularities in vaccine procurement by Bolsonaro’s government. In more than a dozen state capitals across Brazil, protesters took to the streets in the morning as part of coordinated rallies that were scheduled to take place in 315 cities. Protest rallies were also organized for the afternoon in Brazil’s biggest city of Sao Paulo. In the capital city Brasilia, protesters gathered in front of the National Congress, calling on lawmakers to impeach Bolsonaro. They chanted, “Impeachment now” and “Out with Bolsonaro.” In Rio de Janeiro, thousands marched to the beat of drums and chanted “out with Bolsonaro!” as activists delivered fiery speeches from sound trucks.

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