Decomposed body in boat washed up on remote Pacific island

A file photo taken on March 3, 2014, shows a high tide energized by storm surging washes across Ejit Island in Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands. Climate change will dominate discussions when the leaders of vulnerable Pacific nations hold their annual meeting in the Samoan capital Apia starting 05 September, 2017, with global warming threatening their existence, officials say. The 18-member Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) includes countries such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, which are only metres above sea level and risk being swamped by rising oceans. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2017

Decomposed body in boat washed up on remote Pacific island

MAJURO, Marshall Islands: A decomposed body, believed to be Mexican or Colombian, has been found in a washed up boat on a remote Pacific island, officials said Wednesday, raising the possibility it had drifted 9,400 kilometers (5,800 miles) from Latin America.
The remains were in a six-meter (20 feet), blue fiberglass vessel with a 150 horsepower engine that was found on Likiep Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Authorities believe there may have been three people on board — one from Mexico and two from Colombia — based on identity cards found.
“The body was really decomposed, so we couldn’t identify it with the ID cards we found on the boat,” Likiep Atoll Mayor Veronica Wase said.
The IDs were for a Mexican and two Colombians — one of whom was a fisherman for “ornamental fish” according to another document found on the boat.
Two fishermen from Likiep found the boat last Friday and alerted local officials with Wase calling in government, law enforcement and health officials from the capital Majuro.
The body was left on the atoll, 386 kilometers north of Majuro, until it was cremated earlier this week to avoid any health problems for local residents, authorities said.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff said they were communicating with the Mexican embassy in the Philippines about the find.
Three years ago an El Salvadoran, Jose Alvarenga, survived 14 months adrift from Mexico, floating into Ebon Atoll in the Marshall Islands on a similar size fiberglass boat.
Another fisherman with Alvarenga died during the voyage.
In 2006, three Mexicans were rescued near the Marshalls after drifting for more than nine months.


Afghan poll body misses announcing crucial presidential initial vote

Updated 19 October 2019

Afghan poll body misses announcing crucial presidential initial vote

  • The chief of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), blamed technical reasons for missing the timetable
  • She said the results would be announced “as soon as possible”

KABUL: Afghanistan’s election commission conceded its failure to release initial presidential poll results set for Saturday and gave no new deadline for the vote which was marred by Taliban attacks and irregularities.
The presidential poll on Sept. 28 saw the lowest turnout of any elections in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s ousting.
Hawa Alam Nuristani, the chief of the country’s Independent Election Commission (IEC), blamed technical reasons, particularly slowness in entering data on to the server, for missing the timetable.
“Regrettably, the commission due to technical issues and for the sake of transparency could not announce the presidential election initial poll results,” she said in a brief announcement.
Without naming any camp, Nuristani also said: “A number of observers of election sides (camps) illegally are disrupting the process of elections.” She did not elaborate.
Nuristani said the results would be announced “as soon as possible,” while earlier in the day two IEC members said privately that the delay would take up to a week.
The delay is another blow for the vote that has been twice delayed due to the government’s mismanagement and meetings between the US and the Taliban, which eventually collapsed last month after President Donald Trump declared the talks “dead.”
It further adds to political instability in Afghanistan, which has seen decades of conflict and foreign intervention and faced ethnic divides in recent years.
Both front-runners, President Ashraf Ghani and the country’s chief executive, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, have said that they expect to win.
The pair have been sharing power in Afghanistan as part of a US-brokered deal following the fraudulent polls of 2014.
The IEC has invalidated more than 500,000 votes because they were not conducted through biometric devices, bought for the vote from overseas to minimize the level of cheating in last month’s polls.
Officials of the commission said that nearly 1.8 million votes were considered clean and it was not clear what sort of impact the turnout would have on the legitimacy of the polls and the future government, whose main task will be to resume stalled peace talks with the Taliban.
They said that the slowness of data entry on to the server was one of the technical reasons for the delay in releasing initial poll results.
Yousuf Rashid, a senior official from an election watchdog group, described the delay as a “weakness of mismanagement,” while several lawmakers chided IEC for poor performance.
Abdul Satar Saadat, a former senior leader of an electoral body, told Arab News: “The delay showed IEC’s focus was on transparency” and that should be regarded as a sign that it took the issue of discarding fraudulent votes seriously.