Cyprus escorts 61 Syrian refugees safely to shore

Cypriot authorities have safely escorted a boat carrying 61 Syrian refugees to shore after spotting it off the coast of the Mediterranean island. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Cyprus escorts 61 Syrian refugees safely to shore

  • One woman and 60 males, including seven children, were transferred to a reception centre outside the capital Nicosia on Thursday after medical checks.
  • Arrivals said they had paid smugglers $2,000 (1,700 euros) each to board the boat from Turkey's coast.

NICOSIA: Cypriot authorities have safely escorted a boat carrying 61 Syrian refugees to shore after spotting it off the coast of the Mediterranean island, they said Thursday.
The vessel was intercepted late Wednesday evening off the island's northwestern coast after embarking from Turkey, police said.
One woman and 60 males, including seven children, were transferred to a reception centre outside the capital Nicosia on Thursday after medical checks, authorities said.
Police cited arrivals saying they had paid smugglers $2,000 (1,700 euros) each to board the boat from Turkey's coast.
Police added that they had arrested a 49-year-old man on suspicion of smuggling after he was seen jumping from the boat.
Cyprus, a popular holiday island some 160 kilometres (100 miles) from Syria's coast, has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey, Greece and Italy.
But the European Union member has called on Brussels to act, as asylum requests in the first nine months of 2017 rose eightfold on the same period of the previous year, to 818.
EU data ranks Cyprus fourth among the bloc's 28 nations in terms of asylum applications per capita.


Police carry out controlled explosion on 'suspect package' near British parliament

Updated 18 October 2018
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Police carry out controlled explosion on 'suspect package' near British parliament

  • The package was later found not to be suspicious

LONDON: Police on Wednesday used a bomb disposal robot and carried out a controlled explosion on a package found in central London near the British parliament.
Although the package was later found not to be suspicious, emergency services were called to gardens next to the River Thames during the afternoon, a police spokesman said.
"We've just been told it's all been stood down -- non-suspicious," he told AFP.
An AFP photographer at the scene saw a bomb disposal robot being deployed and a small explosion was heard.
A building where many MPs have their offices was also cordoned off along with Victoria Embankment which leads to parliament.
The area was targeted in a terror attack last year when Khalid Masood mowed down and killed five pedestrians before fatally stabbing a police officer outside parliament.
Masood was then shot dead by a police bodyguard.
Salih Khater, a Sudanese-born British national, crashed his car into the security barriers outside parliament in August this year in another suspected attack.
He is due to go on trial for attempted murder.