Dozens of refugees were feared missing after their boat sank off Libya on Wednesday, Libyan Navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem said, amid signs of a sharp increase in the number of people attempting the dangerous crossing from North Africa to Europe.
Earlier, Italian officials said their coast guard and navy vessels had rescued 1,361 migrants on Wednesday from boats and rubber dinghies in the southern Mediterranean.
Qassem said naval guards had intercepted one boat carrying 120 refugees off the coast near Sabratha, Libya, and had also managed to rescue 32 people from the boat which sank. It was not known exactly how many people were missing.
More than 16,000 people have made the crossing from north Africa to Italy in the first three months of this year, about 6,000 more than in the same period last year.
The number of new arrivals is expected to climb further in coming months as warmer, more stable weather kicks in, making it easier for people traffickers to put the boats to sea.
The Italian Coast Guard said that after saving about 3,680 people over the past three days a further 350 refugees, most believed to be minors, had been spotted on a boat off Sicily and an operation was under way to bring them ashore.
Italian officials have also warned that a deal to limit the number of refugees traveling via Turkey to Greece could increase the flows through Libya to Italy.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees have reached Italy in recent years, looking for a better life in the West.
FOX HUNT: To suppress dissent, Chinese living abroad that Xi Jinping sees as threats are told to either return to China or commit suicide, Christopher Wray said Chinese agents have been pursuing hundreds of Chinese nationals living in the US in an effort to force their return, as part of a global campaign against the country’s diaspora, known as Operation Fox Hunt, FBI Director Christopher Wray said on Tuesday. In a speech about the security threat posed by China, during which he said Beijing’s counterintelligence work was the “greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property, and to our economic vitality,” Wray gave the example of one Fox Hunt target who was given a choice of going back to China or killing themselves. Fox Hunt was launched
‘WOULD NOT COMPLY’: The company’s user data are kept in Singapore and it would not turn the data over to Beijing even if asked, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said Social media app TikTok has distanced itself from Beijing after India banned 59 Chinese apps in the country, according to a correspondence seen by Reuters. In a letter to the Indian government dated on Sunday last week and seen by Reuters on Friday, TikTok chief executive Kevin Mayer said the Chinese government has never requested user data, nor would the company turn it over if asked. TikTok, which is not available in China, is owned by China’s ByteDance, but has sought to distance itself from its Chinese roots to appeal to a global audience. Along with 58 other Chinese apps, including Tencent
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A squad of gun-toting police officers patrolled Myanmar’s sacred site of Bagan under the cover of night, taking on plunderers snatching relics from temples forsaken by tourists due to COVID-19 restrictions. Each evening as dusk falls, about 100 officers fan out across the plain of Bagan covering 50km2, sweeping flashlights over the crumbling monuments to scour for intruders. “Our security forces are patrolling day and night,” Police Lieutenant Colonel Sein Win told reporters. “We have it under control for the moment, but it’s a challenge.” The central Burmese city is strewn with more than 3,500 ancient monuments — stupas, temples, murals and sculptures