UN agency says 35 migrants rescued off Libyan coast

In this Sunday Feb. 18, 2018 photo, refugees and migrants wait to be rescued by aid workers of the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, after leaving Libya trying to reach European soil aboard an overcrowded rubber boat, 60 miles north of Al-Khums, Libya. (AP)
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Updated 29 February 2020

UN agency says 35 migrants rescued off Libyan coast

  • The latest developments come amid criticism of the EU’s lack of rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea

CAIRO: A commercial ship has rescued 35 Europe-bound migrants off Libya’s Mediterranean coast and returned them to the capital, Tripoli, the UN migration agency said.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) tweeted that migrants, who were intercepted on Thursday, were given medical assistance and relief items upon disembarkation.
“Saving lives at sea is a moral and legal obligation. It is however unacceptable that migrants continue to be returned to an unsafe port,” said the IOM.
Libya, which descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi, has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.
Most migrants make the perilous journey in ill-equipped and unsafe rubber boats. As of last October, roughly 19,000 migrants have drowned or disappeared on the sea route since 2014, according to IOM.

FASTFACT

Libya, which descended into chaos following the 2011 uprising has emerged as a major transit point for African and Arab migrants fleeing war and poverty to Europe.

Last week, a rubber dinghy packed with 91 migrants that set out from Libyan shores for Europe, apparently went missing in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea after leaving Libya on Feb. 8.
In recent years, the EU has partnered with the coast guard and other Libyan forces to stop the flow of migrants. Rights groups say those efforts have left migrants at the mercy of brutal armed groups or confined in squalid detention centers that lack adequate food and water.
The latest developments come amid criticism of the EU’s lack of rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Member countries agreed earlier this month to end an anti-migrant smuggler operation involving only surveillance aircraft and instead deploy military ships to concentrate on upholding a widely flouted UN arms embargo that’s considered key to winding down Libya’s relentless war.


Dubai expands list of accredited testing centers for tourists

Updated 47 min 32 sec ago

Dubai expands list of accredited testing centers for tourists

  • The UAE earlier announced it would only accept tourists with COVID-19 negative certificates from a limited list of testing centers

DUBAI: Dubai has released an extended list of accredited testing facilities located around the globe to allow more tourists to visit the city, The National has reported.

The UAE earlier announced it would only accept tourists with COVID-19 negative certificates from a limited list of testing centers. The policy remains the same for other emirates.

The announcement comes as Dubai restarts its tourism industry, which was hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic that forced international borders to shut down.

The policy applies to all tourists except those coming from a list of countries where travelers are required to take a second screening at UAE airports.

For the negative certificate to be considered valid, travelers should take the test not more than 96 hours before departure.

Meanwhile, the Indian ambassador to the UAE said both countries were extending a temporary travel corridor agreement until Aug. 31, according to an interview published by national daily Khaleej Times.

Pavan Kapoor said bookings can be made from Aug. 5, with around 700 flights to be operated throughout the month.

Both countries earlier initiated a two-week travel corridor where around 25,000 people were able fly to India.

But Kapoor said resuming normal travel “is not yet possible” because of local bureaucracies and the fact that India has over 1.4 million infections.