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.


Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

Updated 13 October 2019

Britain’s Johnson plays down Brexit breakthrough hopes

  • EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson played down hopes Sunday of a breakthrough in his last-ditch bid to strike an amicable divorce deal with the European Union.
Negotiators went behind closed doors for intensive talks in Brussels after Johnson outlined a new set of proposals to Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Thursday.
They have very little time left to succeed.
EU leaders will meet on Thursday and Friday for a summit held under the pressures of the October 31 Brexit deadline just two weeks away.
The 27 would ideally like to have a full proposal to vote on by then.
But the sides are trying to achieve in a few days what they had failed to in the more than three years since Britons first voted to leave the European Union after nearly 50 years.
Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier called the weekend negotiations “constructive” enough to keep going for another day.
“A lot of work remains to be done,” Barnier stressed in a statement to EU ambassadors.
“Discussions at technical level will continue (Monday).”
Downing Street said Johnson also told his cabinet to brace for a cliff-hanger finish.
He reiterated “that a pathway to a deal could be seen but that there is still a significant amount of work to get there and we must remain prepared to leave on October 31,” a Downing Street spokesman said.
Johnson rose to power in July on a promise not to extend Brexit for a third time this year — even for a few weeks.
Breaking that pledge could come back to haunt him in an early general election that most predict for the coming months.
Johnson is under parliamentary orders to seek a extension until January 31 of next year if no deal emerges by Saturday.
He has promised to both follow the law and get Britain out by October 31 — a contradiction that might end up being settled in court.
Outgoing EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker said British politics were getting more difficult to decipher than the riddle of an “Egyptian sphinx.”
“If the British ask for more time, which they probably will not, it would in my view be a historical nonsense to refuse them,” Juncker told Austria’s Kurier newspaper.
Ireland’s Varadkar hinted on Thursday that he could support the talks running on up to the October 31 deadline if a deal seemed within reach.
The few details that have leaked out suggest a compromise around the contentious Irish border issue Britain’s Northern Ireland partially aligned with EU customs rules.
Whether such a fudge suits both Brussels and the more ardent Brexit backers in parliament who must still approve a deal should become clearer by the end of the week.
Britain will only avoid a chaotic breakup with its closest trading partners if the agreement is also passed by the UK parliament — something it has failed to do three times.
Johnson heads a minority government and must rely on the full backing of not only his own fractured Conservatives but also Northern Ireland’s small Democratic Unionist Party.
DUP’s parliamentary leader Nigel Dodds warned Johnson that “Northern Ireland must remain entirely in the customs union of the United Kingdom” and not the EU.
“And Boris Johnson knows it very well,” Dodds told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper.
The comments do not necessarily rule out DUP support.
UK media are presenting Johnson’s mooted compromise as a “double customs” plan that could be interpreted to mean that Northern Ireland is leaving EU rules.
Yet details are still under discussion and the prime minister’s allies are urging lawmakers to give the British leader a chance.
Main opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn signalled Sunday that he would wait for the outcome of the EU summit before trying to force an early election.
But he added that there was “a strong possibility” that those polls would come before the Christmas break.