More than 100 migrants rescued

Migrants, part of a group intercepted aboard a dinghy off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, rest after arriving on a rescue boat at the Port of Malaga, Spain on December 7, 2017. (Reuters)
Updated 10 December 2017
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More than 100 migrants rescued

MADRID: Spain’s maritime rescue service said it has saved 104 migrants trying to make the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea to Europe from North Africa.
The service said its rescue craft Guardamar Concepcion Arenal intercepted two boats carrying 53 and 22 migrants each overnight and early Sunday in the Strait of Gibraltar. The same rescue vessel also took on board another 25 migrants that a Civil Guard patrol craft had picked up at sea.
Another rescue craft, the Salvamar Denebola, later spotted a tiny rubber boat carrying four more migrants that it took to shore.
Separately, sources said Libya’s UN-backed government agreed with Italy on Saturday to establish a joint operations room for tackling migrant smugglers and traffickers to curb migrant flows toward Europe.
Libya is the main gateway for migrants trying to cross to Europe by sea, though numbers have dropped sharply since July as Libyan factions and authorities have begun to block departures under Italian pressure. More than 600,000 have made the journey over the past four years.
The agreement to set up the operations room was announced after a meeting in Tripoli between the head of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez Seraj, Libyan Interior Minister Aref Khodja, and his Italian counterpart Marco Minniti.
A statement from Seraj’s office said the center would consist of “representatives from the coast guard, the illegal migration department, the Libyan attorney general and the intelligence services, along with their Italian counterparts.”
No details were given on the location of the center and how it would operate. In the past, migrant smugglers have worked with impunity in western Libya, where the GNA has little authority over armed groups that have real power on the ground.


Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

Updated 17 min 53 sec ago
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Prince Charles visits UK site of nerve agent attack

  • Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
  • Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.

SALISBURY: Prince Charles and his wife Camilla visited Salisbury on Friday to support the city as it tries to recover from the impact of this year’s poison attack on a former Russian double agent and his daughter.
They visited businesses and met local residents before attending a reception for those most closely involved in trying to restore the city’s tourist trade.
Visitor numbers have fallen since Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped on a bench in March.
They had been poisoned with a Cold War era nerve agent for which the government blamed Russia, plunging bilateral relations to a new low, although the Kremlin denied any involvement.
Charles and Camilla also held a private meeting with Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey who fell ill after coming into contact with the Novichok nerve agent after trying to help the Skripals.
For weeks, the predominant images coming from this elegant southern city were not those of England’s tallest cathedral spire but of police roadblocks and cordoned-off streets as investigators in hazchem suits swept the area.
Re-stimulating tourism in Salisbury has been a priority after visitor numbers fell some 20 percent. Nine businesses folded as a result of the incident, on top of a reduced footfall of up to 80 percent in the immediate vicinity of the poisoning.
Sergei Skripal, 66, was part of a spy swap between Russia and Britain in 2010 and had since made Salisbury his home. He was released from hospital last month after spending weeks in an induced coma.
Yulia Skripal, 33, left hospital in April and spoke last month to Reuters, outlining her desire to return to Russia in the future despite the poisoning.
“My life has been turned upside down,” she said.