Over 100 Migrants, Children Drown off Libyan Coast

The group reportedly asked for help from Italian coast guard but the boats started sinking before assistance arrived.

According to the aid agency, Doctors Without Border (Medecins Sans Frontieres or MSF), more than 100 people, including 20 children died in early September of the coast of Libya when their boats were wrecked.

RELATED: Refugee Aid Groups Urge Action Amid Highest Death Rate in Mediterranean Since 2015

MSF stated that two rubber boats carrying hundreds of people from countries such as Sudan, Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Libya, Algeria, and Egypt, left  Libya on Sept. 1. But one boat carrying 165 adults and 20 children deflated and sank leading scores to their death. Another boat’s engine failed.

Some people survived by clinging to floating wreckage. The 276 survivors, including pregnant women, children, and infants, were brought to the Libyan port of Khoms on Sept. 2 by the Libyan Coast Guard as per MSF. Only two bodies were recovered.

“We couldn’t swim and only a few people had life jackets. Those among us who could hold on the boat’s floating hood stayed alive,” a survivor said to MSF.

MSF provided urgent medical assistance after the survivors disembarked. “Our medical team worked solidly for several hours to assist survivors with the most serious conditions,” said Jai Defrancis, an MSF nurse working in Northwest Libya.

The survivors were transferred to a detention center in Libya where MSF is concerned about their safety despite providing further care. MSF also said the survivors are being held in “arbitrary detention.”

"How can they recover when locked inside cells, in very poor hygiene conditions and sleeping on blankets or mattresses placed on the floor that cause incredible pain for those suffering from severe burns?" said Jai Defrancis

Apart from the grim condition of the migrants in the detention center, UNHCR warned Monday that human traffickers are posing as aid workers to gain access to migrants in Libya. They are either being kidnapped for ransom or sold into slavery.  

"Reliable sources and refugees have reported criminals using vests and other items with logos similar to that of UNHCR, at disembarkation points and smuggling hubs," the UNHCR said in a statement. "The reports of criminals impersonating UNHCR staff come as the situation for refugees and migrants detained or living in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, has dramatically deteriorated.”

Crossing the sea is a perilous journey for migrants. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 1,500 migrants have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean so far in this year alone.

The Libyan coast guard with the support of European Union returned 13,185 refugees and migrants to Libya between January and August 2018. Italy, with the approval of European Union, also started training and equipping Libyan coast guard to perform rescues i.e., “pulling back” migrant boats.

  • Published in World

Cuba-Italy Business Committee Bids for Greater Collaboration

Rome, Sep 8 (Prensa Latina) The Cuba-Italy Business Committee (CECI) bids today for strengthening collaboration to enhance economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Elisabetta Pola, president since July of the Italian section of the entity of which she was founding member in 2011, told Prensa Latina that her main objective is to pave the way for new Italian entrepreneurs interested in investing in Cuba.

The businesswoman described the progress made showed in the growing presence of Italians at the International Fair of Havana, an important meeting and joint workspace, which will take place this year from October 29 to November 2.

In addition, she pointed out, we promote investments of Italian businesspersons in the Island, which advance, each one in different sectors, times and modalities, while we try to increase the presence of Cuban products in Italy, until now limited to rums.

On investment experiences, she mentioned progress, such as the creation of international associations by some members of CECI, and highlighted in particular that she signed the formation of the joint venture Comital S.A.

It is a Cuban-Italian society aimed at the production and marketing of fresh pasta, such as ravioli and lasagna, which will operate in an industrial area of the municipality of Habana del Este.

  • Published in Cuba

At least 35 people killed in Genoa bridge collapse: Italian police

MILAN (Reuters) - At least 35 people were killed when a bridge collapsed in the Italian port city of Genoa, police said on Wednesday after firemen worked through the night looking for any survivors buried under the rubble.

“The latest official number is 35 but we can’t rule out it could rise further,” a spokeswoman for the police in Genoa said.

A 50-meter (160-foot) high section of the Morandi bridge, including a tower that anchored several stays, crashed down with as many as 35 vehicles driving on it on Tuesday. Huge slabs of reinforced concrete plunged onto two warehouses, train tracks and a riverbed.

  • Published in World

Italy Supports More Investment And Cooperation in Cuba

The motivation of Italian businessmen to invest in Cuba is growing thanks to the regulatory facilities offered by the island today, revealed Mino Girati, a delegate from the Chamber of Commerce of the European country.

In exclusive statements to Prensa Latina, the official, who is also the representative of this commercial institution for the area of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, stated Italy is an important supplier for Cuba, a relationship which promises to grow due to the flat ground by the approval of Law 118 or Foreign Investment.

Almost all sectors of Cuba are attractive to Italian investors, the official considered present at the industrial fair associated with the Cubaindustria 2018 Convention, which is held in the capital Pabexpo center.

Our interests, he explained, include tourism, food, furniture and industry, among others.

We are here to facilitate the approach of all Italian companies that want to do business in this country. Our intention is to put them in direct contact with Cuban customers, whether they are importers or manufacturers and whose intention is to associate with Italian producers in order to develop or expand the facilities of this nation, Girati emphasized.

Although trade relations between the two countries can be considered historic, as evidenced by the presence of Italian companies for more than 30 years on Cuban soil, Girati meant cooperation can be even greater.

We took advantage of the fair's context to put the attending Italian companies in touch with potential Cuban clients. This situation has served to establish technical links where the needs and potential projects to be developed are established.

In fact, Girati added, contacts have already been established with important entities in the country.

At this very moment, he abounded, an Italian supplier is visiting a Cuban factory to assess the machinery they need to install.

However, before the machinery is delivered, technical support will be provided that will lead to the completion of a joint project.

We plan to invest heavily in near-term projects, the executive also added. These would cover various sectors and include renewable energies and water treatment.

Girati also praised the government's willingness to encourage openness to foreign capital.

In this regard, he considered there is now greater interest from Cuba in developing its industry and is looking not only for suppliers of machinery and raw materials, but also for serious manufacturers who are in a position to join forces to provide know-how, technology and experience.

This will raise the level of production and the quality of the products, which will significantly reduce imports and favor exports, Girati concluded.

  • Published in Cuba

Italy: Diplomatic tensions flare as migrants head to Spain

CATANIA, Sicily — Italy escalated its standoff with France over migration Wednesday, challenging Paris to take in more asylum-seekers and demanding an apology after the French president accused the new populist Italian government of cynical, irresponsible behavior by refusing entry to a rescue ship with 600 people aboard.

Italy summoned the French ambassador for consultations and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini chided French President Emmanuel Macron by name during a speech before Parliament’s upper chamber.

Salvini said France had taken in only a fraction of the 9,816 migrants it had pledged to welcome under a 2015 EU relocation plan to relieve frontline countries Italy and Greece of the burden of caring for newly arrived migrants.

“So I ask President Macron to pass from words to action and tomorrow morning welcome the 9,000 France promised to welcome as a sign of concrete generosity and not just words,” Salvini said to applause in the Senate chamber.

“I speak in the name of a government but I also have the ambition of speaking for a people who have nothing to learn from anyone about generosity, volunteerism, welcome and solidarity,” he said.

Italy has defended its decision to refuse to allow the Aquarius rescue ship to dock, saying it has never abandoned the ship and is escorting it to Spain. Spain stepped up and offered the Aquarius safe harbor in Valencia after Italy and Malta both refused.

The standoff over the Aquarius appeared a clear tactic by Italy’s new government to force Europe’s hand at the upcoming summit of EU leaders in Brussels June 28-29. Italy for years has complained that it has been left largely alone to manage Europe’s migrant crisis, but the new government says its tactics have finally gotten the point across.

Salvini has accused European aid groups of essentially operating taxi services for Libya-based human traffickers, and has said Italy will now refuse their rescue ships entry. Italian maritime vessels, however, are still docking in its ports: on Wednesday, an Italian coast guard vessel docked in Catania, Sicily with 932 migrants aboard.

The Diciotti was greeted in Catania’s port by activists criticizing the new policy, with a banner draped at the port saying “Stop the attack on refugees.”

French President Emmanuel Macron had blasted what he called Italy’s cynicism and irresponsibility in turning away the Aquarius, which is operated by the humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee and the French-founded Doctors Without Borders.

Macron’s office said Tuesday that France doesn’t want to “start a precedent” that would allow some European countries to breach international laws and rely on other EU member states to take in migrants.

In his speech, Salvini shot back and said France had turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy’s northern border since January “including women, children and disabled people.” The border crossing point at Ventimiglia has been the scene of protests and desperation for years as France has refused to let in migrants, many of whom are seeking to reach family in France or Germany.

Under the EU’s asylum laws — currently the subject of revision amid a major political dispute — migrants must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter Europe. In practice, this has placed a heavy burden on Italy and Greece, where hundreds of thousands of people have entered in recent years. Some countries feel justified in stopping migrants from entering when they should have registered elsewhere.

Salvini also demanded that France make good on its pledge to relocate migrants under a 2015 EU scheme that never fully got off the ground.

France was to have accepted a total of 19,714 migrants from Italy and Greece; in all, it accepted 4,677. Across the European Union, only a third of the 98,255 migrants that were supposed to be relocated under the scheme had been relocated by the time it ended last year.

Salvini’s League campaigned during the March 4 national election on a strong anti-migrant agenda that included promises of mass expulsions of migrants already here. According to government figures, Italy has accepted 640,000 migrants since 2014, but the number of arrivals this year is at a five-year low: 14,441 since January.

The number of migrants arriving in Italy began plummeting last year after the Italian government under the center-left Democratic Party negotiated controversial deals with Libya that beefed up its capacity to better patrol its coasts and discouraged land-based smugglers.

Earlier Wednesday, Salvini accused France of having caused the instability in Libya that has allowed smuggling networks to thrive by spearheading the 2011 NATO-led military campaign that led to the downfall of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

The Aquarius and two Italian ships that have taken some of the migrants are now expected to arrive in Valencia on Saturday night, weather conditions permitting, said SOS Mediterranee’s co-founder Sophie Beau. The port is some 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) from where the ship had been on standby since Saturday night.

“It’s a relief for everyone, our teams and of course above all for the survivors to know that they are finally allowed to head to a safe port in Europe,” Beau told reporters in Marseille, France.

  • Published in World

Italy, Cuba Sign an Agreement to Promote Clean Energy

The Ministries of Energy and Mines of Cuba (MINEN) and the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea of Italy signed a Memorandum of Understanding here to promote the use of safe and clean energies.

The agreement was signed by the Director General of Sustainable Development of the Ministry of Environment of Italy, Francesco La Camera, and by his counterpart of Renewable Energy of MINEN, Rosell Guerra.

This tool, declared Guerra, is an important contribution to the fulfillment of the objectives of the policy approved in Cuba for the Perspective Development of Renewable Sources and the Efficient Use of Energy, whose strategy foresees the reduction of dependence on fossil fuels and the elevation of environmental sustainability.

Guerra also revealed the implementation, as soon as possible, of joint projects to apply photovoltaic solar energy, with the aim of improving electricity service in some rural areas of Cuba.

It also meant the advantages that can be derived from it in the exchange of practical experiences between Cuban and Italian specialists, training, technology transfer and technical assistance.

  • Published in Cuba

Cuban Music Continues Success with Gente de Zona

Havana, May 24 ( Prensa Latina) Cuban duo Gente de Zona surprises again today in social media with another of their usual featuring, this time with Italian trio Il Volo and the theme ''Noche sin día'', a preview of the summer concerts.

Members Piero, Ignazio and Gianluca anticipated during the past days the return of the group to the world market, after referring to some details of the new album with unpublished songs, which will be launched May 25.

Despite the surprising news about the collaboration of the three tenors with Gente de Zona, one of the most listened to Latin American groups of the moment, Michele Torpedine, manager of the trio anticipated Il Volo's new project will follow the path of pop and Latin sound.

'That trajectory will surely allow the group to enter the South American market, but we never reject any collaboration with renowned performers or groups, and Gente de Zona is currently doing a laudable job,' Torpedine said.

The new plate aims to conquer the countries where Il Volo (The Flight) is already established, their manager remarked.

The album, whose title and official launch date are unconfirmed, was recorded in Latin America.

Il Volo is planning several concerts in Italy in June. It is a vocal trio formed in 2009 by male singers and composed of baritone Gianluca Ginoble and tenors Ignazio Boschetto and Piero Barone.

The Italian trio makes an incursion into the classic crossover or lyrical pop genre. In 2015 they won the San Remo Song Festival and represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest of the same year, where they won third place.

  • Published in Culture

Eight Cuban players to play pro baseball in Italy

Eight Cuban baseball players will sign their contracts next Friday to professionally play in the Italian Baseball League (IBL).

Several of the athletes to play in the European nation are local aces such as left-hander pitcher Ulfrido Garcia (Parma Baseball A.S.D), and right-handed pitchers Erly Casanova (Parma Baseball A.S.D) and Bladimir Baños (Polisportivo Padule), in addition to catcher Frank Camilo Morejon (Parma Baseball A.S.D).

The list also includes infielder Yordany Alarcon (Polisportivo Padule) and RHPs Eddy Abel Garcia (Cagliari Baseball A.S.D), Frank Montieth (A.S.D Athletics Bologna) and Jose Pablo Cuesta (B.C. Sala Baganza).

  • Published in Sports
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