Italy proposes yearly Mediterranean Culture Capital

Italy proposes yearly Mediterranean Culture Capital

The Mediterranean area will have its own cultural capital, elected every year, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said after a summit of 30 culture ministers from the area and beyond in Naples on Friday.  He said Naples might be one of the first rotating culture capitals of the Med. "Over the last two days Naples has already shown itself to be a great cultural capital, now we will define rules and means but Naples has all the credentials (to become Med culture capital)". "Our idea is to every year have a city of the Mediterranean, of the Middle East, of Africa,…
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Europe’s south expects over 150,000 migrant arrivals this year – minister

Europe’s south expects over 150,000 migrant arrivals this year – minister

Mediterranean countries on major migrant routes into Europe expect over 150,000 arrivals this year as food shortages caused by the Ukraine conflict threaten a new migration wave from Africa and the Middle East. “This year the frontline member states are expected, as we have discussed between us, to receive more than 150,000 migrants,” Cyprus Interior Minister Nicos Nouris said on Saturday after a meeting with fellow ministers of the so-called MED5 group in Venice. Some 36,400 asylum seekers and migrants have already landed in Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Malta this year, after 123,318 arrivals in 2021, according to the…
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IOM: Up to 600 missing at sea in 3 months in Central Mediterranean

IOM: Up to 600 missing at sea in 3 months in Central Mediterranean

The International Organization for Migration says up to 600 people attempting to reach Europe by sea from Tunisia and Libya have gone missing during the first three months of 2022, the highest figure since 2014. In the latest tragedy, according to Tunisian authorities, a wooden boat carrying over 100 people capsized early Tuesday near the island of Kerkennah in southeastern Tunisia due to bad weather. The IOM said Wednesday that 30 people from that boat were rescued but 75 are still missing. Tunisian navy and coast guard units continued to comb the area on Thursday where the tragedy occurred. On…
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Malta expresses strong support for Union for the Mediterranean

Malta expresses strong support for Union for the Mediterranean

Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo expressed Malta's strong support for the Union for the Mediterranean as it is the only regional structure that addresses the common challenges of the Mediterranean region. Minister Bartolo attended the sixth regional forum for the Mediterranean, organised by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) in Barcelona. This forum brought together the 42 members of the UfM, 27 of which are the European Union Member States, while the other 15 are the members coming from the Balkans, Middle East and North Africa. Minister Bartolo said that while we belong to a common geographical…
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Lebanese firefighters put out fire at fuel facility

Lebanese firefighters put out fire at fuel facility

BEIRUT, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Firefighters put out a blaze that raged for several hours at a gasoline storage tank in southern Lebanon on Monday, the latest blow to a nation grappling with crippling economic and fuel crises. There were no reports of casualties in the fire at the Zahrani oil facility on the Mediterranean coast, which had sent a huge column of smoke into the sky. Energy minister Walid Fayad said the fire resulted from a "mistake" while gasoline was being transported from one storage tank to another, the National News Agency (NNA) reported. "We must await the results…
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EU’s Mediterranean states demand global action on climate crisis

EU’s Mediterranean states demand global action on climate crisis

ATHENS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Leaders of the EU's bloc of nine southern European members on Friday demanded urgent global action to combat a worsening climate crisis and build a sustainable future for the Mediterranean region. Leaders from Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Malta, Portugal and Spain met in Athens to discuss climate change after devastating summer wildfires highlighted the challenges a warmer world poses for southern Europe. The Mediterranean was now suffering "unprecedented ecological damage and response capabilities are being stretched to the limit", they said in a joint statement after their meeting, joined by EU Commission head…
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“Diplomacy remains the best tool for resolving conflicts” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

“Diplomacy remains the best tool for resolving conflicts” – Minister Evarist Bartolo

"A lot of issues today can't be solved by one country alone whoever the country is. So, whether we like it or not, we are condemned to working together." Malta's Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Evarist Bartolo, was speaking to Turkish News Agency Anadolu, prior to the Antalya Diplomacy Forum on the Eastern Mediterranean.  The Antalya Diplomacy Forum has seen a high turnout from the leaders and foreign ministers of different countries. Mentioning "the need for a conference of the Eastern Mediterranean," Bartolo said the countries in the region can discuss economic development, issues of security and energy as…
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Disputes and divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean are not on maps but in the hearts and minds of all of us involved, our histories and traditions – Evarist Bartolo

Disputes and divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean are not on maps but in the hearts and minds of all of us involved, our histories and traditions – Evarist Bartolo

The following is a speech delivered by Malta's Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo on Friday 14th May, which CDEIU is carrying as it presents a timely invitation to 'dare to dream' at a very sensitive moment in the Middle East. "Existing disputes in the Eastern Mediterranean will not be solved by force. They require more than ever dialogue and negotiations. In recent months we have seen hopeful signs to a return to open dialogue. The Bible exhorts us to “Love thy neighbour as thyself.” We know how difficult this is, even among neighbours within the same block of apartments, let alone…
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Europe’s south calls for more solidarity in new EU migration pact

Europe’s south calls for more solidarity in new EU migration pact

Mediterranean countries on the frontline of Europe's migration crisis called for more solidarity from EU governments on Saturday and said a proposed overhaul of migration rules did not go far enough. The EU has fought bitterly since 2015, when over 1 million people, most of them Syrian, Iraqi or Afghan refugees, arrived on its shores, the majority through Greece. A new pact to tackle the issue was put forward by the European Commission last September but a final deal has yet to be reached.  "In its current format, the pact does not provide sufficient reassurances to the frontline member states,"…
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Greece wants quick EU action on vaccine passports

Greece wants quick EU action on vaccine passports

Greece is calling on EU authorities to "move more quickly" and embrace vaccine certificates, which could restore an element of mass travel in Europe. Speaking to the Financial Times, the country's Tourism Minister, Harry Theocharis lamented: “Looking at the reaction of some countries to vaccination certificate proposals, I feel there’s a lot of short sightedness. There’s more to be done now to prepare ourselves.” “Some countries are very much preoccupied with now” he said, as northern European nations, in particular, were unwilling to look ahead and plan for an economic recovery in the summer. We need to move more quickly,"…
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EU proposes new Agenda for the Mediterranean

EU proposes new Agenda for the Mediterranean

To relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood partners, the European Commission and the High Representative today adopted a joint communication proposing an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean. The new Agenda is based on the conviction that by working together and in a spirit of partnership, common challenges can be turned into opportunities, in the mutual interest of the EU and its Southern neighbours. It includes a dedicated Economic and Investment Plan to spur the long-term socio-economic recovery in the Southern Neighbourhood. Under the new EU's Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation…
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EU launches new Agenda for the Mediterranean

EU launches new Agenda for the Mediterranean

To relaunch and strengthen the strategic partnership between the European Union and its Southern Neighbourhood partners, the European Commission and the High Representative today adopted a joint communication proposing an ambitious and innovative new Agenda for the Mediterranean. The new Agenda is based on the conviction that by working together and in a spirit of partnership, common challenges can be turned into opportunities, in the mutual interest of the EU and its Southern neighbours. It includes a dedicated Economic and Investment Plan to spur the long-term socio-economic recovery in the Southern Neighbourhood. Under the new EU's Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation…
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Spanish police arrest drugs gang in Mediterranean after high-speed chase

Spanish police arrest drugs gang in Mediterranean after high-speed chase

A gang of drugs traffickers has been arrested after a dramatic speedboat chase across over 100 miles of the Mediterranean during which they tried to dump bags of hashish, police said on Saturday. A video taken by a police helicopter during the five hour pursuit last week showed masked smugglers taking photographs and waving to the officers. The five members of the gang were later arrested after their speedboat was intercepted by a customs patrol boat off the coast of Cartagena, in southeastern Spain. Police seized two tonnes of hashish hidden in 66 packages which the gang intended to smuggle…
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Turkey extends exploration in disputed Mediterranean area to Nov. 4

Turkey extends exploration in disputed Mediterranean area to Nov. 4

Turkey said it was extending the seismic survey work of its Oruc Reis ship in a disputed area of the eastern Mediterranean until Nov. 4, taking a step which was set to fuel tensions in the region. NATO members Turkey and Greece are locked in a dispute over the extent of their continental shelves and conflicting claims to hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The row erupted in August when Turkey sent Oruc Reis into waters also claimed by Greece and Cyprus. Along with two other ships, the Ataman and Cengiz Han, Oruc Reis will continue work in an area…
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Chartering the waves – Rolex Middle Sea Race 2020

Chartering the waves – Rolex Middle Sea Race 2020

It was a glorious day to start a yacht race. Valletta’s golden limestone bastions, rising boldly from the waters of Grand Harbour, bathed in bright sunshine. The force 4 north westerly, creating a whitecap strewn vista beyond the breakwater, was sufficient to allow crews to clear the line with relative ease. The pin end at the foot of Fort St Angelo was understandably favoured with Valletta casting a wind shadow over section beneath the Saluting Battery, where the race committee was located. Rolex Middle Sea Race MiddleSeaRace 2020 - Photo - Stef MizziMiddleSeaRace 2020 - Photo - Stef MizziMiddleSeaRace 2020…
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The role of the US and Malta in the Mediterranean – U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Gwendolyn S. Green

The role of the US and Malta in the Mediterranean – U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Gwendolyn S. Green

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Gwendolyn S. Green was interviewed by Denise Grech Malta has recently teamed up with Turkey in an attempt to make Libya stable. According to reports, Malta and Turkey are in talks to develop a collaboration agreement to fight irregular migration. What is the U.S. reaction to this?   Malta’s strategic position in the Mediterranean at the cross-roads between Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and its membership in the European Union underline Malta’s role as one of our key international partners in finding solutions to issues of global transnational importance, such as weapons proliferation, trafficking in drugs and persons, migration, and protecting…
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U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ about Turkey’s action in Easter Mediterranean

U.S. ‘deeply concerned’ about Turkey’s action in Easter Mediterranean

The United States remains "deeply concerned" about Turkey's actions in the eastern Mediterranean, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday, urging a diplomatic end to a simmering crisis over offshore natural resources. Tensions in the eastern Mediterranean have risen over claims and counter claims pitting Turkey against Greece and Cyprus to maritime areas thought to be rich in natural gas.  "Countries in the region need to resolve disagreements including on security and energy resource and maritime issues diplomatically and peacefully," Pompeo said in a fleeting trip to Cyprus on Saturday night, where he met with President Nicos Anastasiades. "Increased…
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Greece plans to strengthen military as tension with Turkey rise

Greece plans to strengthen military as tension with Turkey rise

Greece plans to acquire arms, boost its armed forces and revamp its defence industry, the government's spokesman said on Monday, as tensions with NATO ally Turkey over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean grow. Greece, which emerged from its third international bailout in 2018 and has been struggling with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, wants to spend part of its multi-billion euro cash reserves on its defence sector. "We are in talks with allies to boost our armed forces," government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters, adding that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will outline his plans during an annual…
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Greek parliament ratifies maritime accord with Egypt

Greek parliament ratifies maritime accord with Egypt

The Greek parliament ratified an accord defining maritime boundaries between Greece and Egypt on Thursday, amid rising tensions with neighbouring Turkey over energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. The pact, which was sealed earlier this month and has already been ratified by Egypt's parliament, was approved by a majority of Greek lawmakers. The Athens-Cairo agreement has angered Turkey which says that it infringes on its own continental shelf. The agreement also overlaps with maritime zones Turkey agreed with Libya last year, decried as illegal by Greece. Reuters /
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Warning Russian jets in Libya present broader threat for Mediterranean region

Warning Russian jets in Libya present broader threat for Mediterranean region

U.S. Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s longer term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. Brig. Gen. Gregory Hadfield, deputy director for intelligence, said the U.S. tracked the MiG-29 fighter jets and SU-24 fighter bombers that were flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, that have been waging…
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Another dangerous confrontation between US and Russian aircraft over the Mediterranean

Another dangerous confrontation between US and Russian aircraft over the Mediterranean

Russian pilots intercepted a US Navy aircraft in an "unsafe and unprofessional manner" on Tuesday for the third time within four days, claimed the US Naval Forces Sixth Fleet. Two Russian Su-35 aircraft intercepted the US Navy P-8A Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft in the Sixth Fleet over a period of a little over an hour. The two Russian aircraft took close station on each wing of the US P-8A at the same time, restricting the American aircraft's ability to safely manoeuvre. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=JLFfO1E3nAQ&feature=emb_logo "The unnecessary actions of the Russian Su-35 pilots were inconsistent with good airmanship and international flight rules,…
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4.1 earthquake off the coast of Malta

4.1 earthquake off the coast of Malta

An earthquake measuring 4.1 shook the central Mediterranean off the coast of Malta on Wednesday night. The tremor was also registered by the University of Malta Seismic Monitoring & Research Group. It’s epicentre according to the United States Geological Survey, a scientific agency of the United States government, (USGS) was around 120 kilometres from the coast of Birzebbuga with the epicentre at a depth of 10 kilometres.   Via USGS/ UoM Seismic Monitoring & Research Group  
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No boat capsized as FRONTEX accounts for all boats in the Med

No boat capsized as FRONTEX accounts for all boats in the Med

Frontex, told AFP on Monday it said "all four boats have been accounted for" and there had been no shipwreck in the Mediterranean. "Two arrived in Sicily and two remain in the Maltese search and rescue area," Frontex said. "Today, Frontex received information that the missing rubber boat first spotted on Friday arrived in Porto Palo, Sicily."  A "Frontex airplane based in Malta is currently on patrol to make sure that no other vessels in distress are in the area," it added. The statement referred to and attributed to AFP said that "Since last Friday, Frontex patrol planes spotted four boats…
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UN calls on European countries not to return asylum seekers to Libya

UN calls on European countries not to return asylum seekers to Libya

The United Nations has called on the European countries to end the suffering of asylum seekers rescued in the Mediterranean, and not to return them to Libya. The Libyan Observer reports that in a statement made by the spokesman of the United Nations Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, confirmed that at least six boats have left the Libyan coast since the beginning of this month. About 500 immigrants were on board these boats according to estimates of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Dujarric said that many European countries have tightened the grip on their borders in an attempt to contain the coronavirus epidemic. He…
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Alarm Phone demands answers as Rubber Dinghy with 91 migrants goes missing in the Mediterranean

Alarm Phone demands answers as Rubber Dinghy with 91 migrants goes missing in the Mediterranean

A rubber dinghy packed with 91 migrants that set out from Libyan shores in hopes of reaching Europe has apparently gone missing in the Mediterranean, the U.N. migration agency said Thursday. AP reports The inflatable boat carrying mostly African migrants departed from al-Qarbouli, 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the capital Tripoli on Feb. 8, said Osman Haroun, whose cousin was on board. He hasn’t heard from the 27-year-old Mohamed Idris, or his 10 other friends also on the boat, since. Alarm Phone wrote "We are writing to you because we fear that a shipwreck occurred last week, on 9th February 2020,…
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EU to launch new naval operation in the central Mediterranean to replace Operation Sophia

EU to launch new naval operation in the central Mediterranean to replace Operation Sophia

EU foreign affairs ministers have agreed to launch a new naval operation in the Central Mediterranean, with the old mission that was supposed to fulfill that brief — Operation Sophia — to be closed down. POLITICO reports Josep Borrell saying "We agreed to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean and Operation Sophia will be closed.” Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, was speaking at the end of a meeting of ministers in which they discussed how to follow on from an international conference on Libya in Berlin at which they agreed to help implement a U.N. arms embargo and…
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Italy and Spain to work towards new European pact on immigration

Italy and Spain to work towards new European pact on immigration

Italy and Spain would work towards a new European pact on immigration Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said after talks with his Spanish counterpart Arancha González Laya. ANSA reports that Italy and Spain are among the countries that bear the brunt of migration from Africa. Italy is the main landing point for the central Mediterranean route from Libya. Spain is the main landing point for the western Mediterranean route from Morocco. Italy has been trying for years to get other EU members to do more to help it with migration. Among other things, it is pressing for a revision…
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Greece ‘registers disagreement’ with Libya-Turkey maritime accord

Greece ‘registers disagreement’ with Libya-Turkey maritime accord

Greece said  it opposed an accord reached by Turkey and Libya to define their maritime boundaries but said it and Ankara - both members of NATO - were committed to talks on confidence-building measures. Libya and Turkey signed an agreement on boundaries in the Mediterranean last week that could complicate Ankara’s disputes over offshore energy exploration in the Mediterranean with nations including Greece. The accord between Turkey and Libya’s internationally recognised government, which mapped out a sea area between the two countries, was signed on Nov. 27. Libya’s neighbour Egypt dismissed the deal as “illegal” as did Cyprus, while Greece…
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Land migration in Africa twice as deadly as Mediterranean, says UNHCR

Land migration in Africa twice as deadly as Mediterranean, says UNHCR

While the Mediterranean Sea remains a deadly route for migrants attempting to reach the European Union, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has warned that the African land journey to reach the Mediterranean coast remains far more lethal. Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR's special envoy for the central Mediterranean, said in an interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that around twice as many migrants die crossing Africa as crossing the Mediterranean. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has identified transportation accidents, dehydration, violence, starvation and illness as the primary causes of death via land routes in 2018, the paper…
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Cannes to ban polluting cruise ships from its harbour

Cannes to ban polluting cruise ships from its harbour

Mediterranean resort town Cannes, France's fourth-biggest cruise ship port, will ban the most polluting cruise ships from next year in a bid to boost air quality in the city. The ban will target ships that do not respect a 0.1% cap on sulphur in their fuel and could stop some passengers from disembarking in the city famous for its film festival. "It's not about being against cruise ships. It's about being against pollution," Cannes Mayor David Lisnard told Reuters Television in an interview. Under the European Union's clean air policy, the cap is already enforced in Baltic, North Sea and…
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Greek Prime Minister in Cyprus for official visit

Greek Prime Minister in Cyprus for official visit

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Monday begins a two-day official visit to Cyprus, his first after assuming office following the elections on July 7. He will be accompanied by Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias. Dendias has said that Mitsotakis’ official visit will send a clear message to Turkey that the violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus is not acceptable. Mitsotakis arrives Monday morning and will meet President Nicos Anastasiades. He will then meet the House President and the leaders of the political parties. On Monday evening he will attend an official dinner hosted at the…
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Renewed commitment to Mediterranean rescues encouraging, but ‘overriding priority’ must be ‘lasting peace’, say UN officials

Renewed commitment to Mediterranean rescues encouraging, but ‘overriding priority’ must be ‘lasting peace’, say UN officials

The heads of the two key UN agencies championing refugees and migrants have called for an end to their “arbitrary detention” across Libya, following an agreement on Tuesday by European Union countries to offer those fleeing across the Mediterranean a safe berth through a new distribution mechanism. The violence in Tripoli in recent weeks has made the situation more desperate than ever, and the need for action critical”, stressed António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), and Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees. Disagreements on how to distribute people rescued at sea, led the European Union…
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IOM and UNHCR urges EU to restart Mediterranean Rescue Operations

IOM and UNHCR urges EU to restart Mediterranean Rescue Operations

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have called on the EU to implement a series of measures aimed at assisting people trapped in Libya or at risk of dying on the Mediterranean Sea. The suggestions include restarting a program of organized sea rescues. "In the past European State vessels conducting search and rescue operations saved thousands of lives, including through disembarkations in safe ports," the IOM and UNHCR noted in a statement on Thursday. "They should resume this vital work and temporary disembarkation schemes should urgently be established to share responsibilities within Europe. NGO boats…
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Washington Post on Malta’s role in the Mediterranean migrants’ rescue operations

Washington Post on Malta’s role in the Mediterranean migrants’ rescue operations

With Italy firmly blocking its seaports, the tiny island country of Malta has emerged as an unlikely and reluctant lifeline for migrants making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea. In an article entitled "When Italy closed its ports to migrants, tiny Malta took them instead. With conditions", published on The Washington Post, Claire Parker asks "Italy’s restrictive immigration policies appear to be forcing Malta into a moral and political reckoning: Should it follow Italy’s lead and prevent migrants from coming ashore? Or should it take its cues from France and Germany instead and allow migrants stranded at sea to…
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Pope Francis expresses his hope for humanitarian corridors for migrants

Pope Francis expresses his hope for humanitarian corridors for migrants

Pope Francis on Sunday invited the faithful to join him in prayer for the “poor, unarmed people who were killed or injured by an air strike on a detention center for migrants in Libya”. He was addressing the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer. Francis prayed for the victims of the strike, which on Wednesday killed at least 44 people and wounded dozens, in what the U.N. said could amount to a war crime. He then went on to express his hope that “humanitarian corridors may be opened in an organized and concerted manner for the…
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Malta’s Armed forced rescue 37 persons in migration route

Malta’s Armed forced rescue 37 persons in migration route

The Armed Forces of Malta rescued a group of 37 persons early on Sunday morning.  In a statement on Sunday afternoon, the AFM said the rescue people were being taken to the army’s Hay Wharf base. Rescue support organisation Alarm Phone, writing on Twitter, said that the Maltese authorities had confirmed that they had rescued the group of 37 migrants at around 8.30am on Sunday. Via MaltaToday/AFM/Independent
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UN warns that the Mediterranean will be a sea of blood due to lack of NGO rescue ships and Libya’s conflict

UN warns that the Mediterranean will be a sea of blood due to lack of NGO rescue ships and Libya’s conflict

The risk of migrants and refugees becoming shipwrecked in the Mediterranean and dying at sea is the highest it has ever been due to a lack of NGO rescue ships and the conflict in Libya hastening departures at an alarming rate, the UN has warned. “If we do not intervene soon, there will be a sea of blood,” said Carlotta Sami, the spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in Italy. With favourable sea conditions, thousands of people are preparing to leave Libya as the country is mired in war and floods caused by heavy rain. But without rescue boats,…
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Busy night for the AFM as more people saved in the Mediterranean

Busy night for the AFM as more people saved in the Mediterranean

  A total of 270 persons are expected in Malta Wednesday morning after being saved by the AFM in separate rescue operations in the Mediterranean. In the first operation 63 persons were rescued whilst in the others another 210 migrants were rescued and are now on their way to Malta.     Via The Times of Malta
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Russian and US warplanes confront each other over the Mediterranean

Russian and US warplanes confront each other over the Mediterranean

Aircraft of Russia and United States came face to face on Tuesday as the former intercepted a US aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea three times in just under three hours, according to the US 6th Fleet. In a statement the US 6th Fleet said that on June 4, 2019, a U.S. P-8A Poseidon aircraft flying in international airspace over the Mediterranean Sea was intercepted by a Russian SU-35 three times over the course of 175 minutes. The first and third interaction were deemed safe by the US military. The second interaction was determined to be unsafe…
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Photo Story: Migrant swimming to safety

Photo Story: Migrant swimming to safety

A Libyan migrant has been filmed being picked up by a private tug boat after jumping from a vessel that suffered technical failure. The man was one of a number of migrants on a boat in the Mediterranean taking them away from Libya. You can see video here.  Sky News reports that the man jumped when it was approached by the Libyan coast guard, and headed for the tug, called the Vos Triton, which was a few hundred metres away. Sea Watch, a non-profit rescue organisation, said its search and rescue aircraft, Moonbird, contacted the tug boat and advised the crew…
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One after one they let go, they departed under the water, one after one – The witness of the survivor of the Mediterranean latest human tragedy

One after one they let go, they departed under the water, one after one – The witness of the survivor of the Mediterranean latest human tragedy

A survivor of a migrant boat disaster in the Mediterranean has told how he watched fellow passengers slip away and sink to their deaths. Euronews interviews Ahmed Bilal, from Bangladesh, who was one of more than a dozen to be rescued from a vessel off the coast of Tunisia on Friday UNHCR said that 65 people drowned when the boat capsized. 16 people were pulled from the water and have been brought to the coast of Zarzis by the Tunisian Navy. One person has been immediately transferred to hospital for medical treatment, while the others await permission to disembark. "One after…
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Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review – Saturday 11th May 2019

Corporate Dispatch Morning Briefing and News Review – Saturday 11th May 2019

Good morning, This is your morning briefing for Saturday, with a review of the main news from Malta, Europe and the world. Latest News At least 50 migrants die off the coast of Tunisia after their boat capsized Iran could target U.S. commercial ships including oil tankers, the U.S. Maritime Administration said on Friday, as a senior Iranian cleric said a U.S. Navy fleet could be “destroyed with one missile.” The UN Security Council called for warring Libyan parties to recommit to political talks and agree to a ceasefire as a month-long offensive on the capital showed no signs of…
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90ft Migrant boat on which around 800 persons died in the Mediterranean on display at Venezia Biennale

90ft Migrant boat on which around 800 persons died in the Mediterranean on display at Venezia Biennale

The remains of one of the Mediterranean’s most shocking migration tragedies, in which between 700 and 1,100 people died, is on display in this year's edition of the Venezia Biennale. The 90ft fishing boat sank on the night of 18 April 2015 between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa, after it collided with a vessel that had responded to its distress call. There were only 28 survivors. The people on board were mostly trapped in the hold as the boat capsized. The tragedy caused the then Italian prime minister, Matteo Renzi, to compare the situation for migrants trying to…
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Italy requests EU plan of action for new migrant wave from Libya

Italy requests EU plan of action for new migrant wave from Libya

Italy's government has written to the European Union asking it to prepare a plan of action to address the risk of a new wave of migrants escaping from the armed conflict in Libya. Italy's Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero announced this at a joint news conference in Rome after meeting with the United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame. Moavero didn't provide additional details on Italy's request. At the same news conference, Salame downplayed Italy's fears that a huge number of African refugees could leave Libya trying to reach Europe. Salame, has expressed concern about the ongoing fighting in Tripoli and the division…
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Two US carrier strike groups in the Mediterranean sea for joint training

Two US carrier strike groups in the Mediterranean sea for joint training

For the first time since 2016, the United States is deploying two Nimitz-class aircraft carriers, the USS John C. Stennis and the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Mediterranean. A typical carrier strike group (CSG) includes an aircraft carrier, a guided-missile cruiser, two guided-missile destroyers, an attack submarine and a supply ship for logistical support. The last time two US carrier strike groups were in the Mediterranean was in summer of 2016, when the Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman CSGs were deployed to the region simultaneously. In a statement, the US Navy said that this is "a unique opportunity…
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The meaning of Malta’s Freedom Day

The meaning of Malta’s Freedom Day

On the 31st March 1979, Malta saw the very last ship of the British forces leaving our shores. Commonly known as Freedom Day, this day marked the end of the dependence on British and Nato Military presence in Malta. Freedom Day would not have been possible without the granting of Independence in 1964 and the proclamation of the Maltese Republic in 1974. Thus, these three were steps towards the achievement of true political freedom and, ultimately, the opportunity of governing one’s own country. Jesmond Saliba analyses academic research done in Malta and elsewhere about the situation which led to the agreement…
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EU officials lament move by member states of recalling ships taking part in Operation Sophia

EU officials lament move by member states of recalling ships taking part in Operation Sophia

European Union officials lamented Wednesday a move by member countries to recall their ships taking part in an EU naval mission patrolling the Mediterranean Sea for migrants attempting the dangerous water crossing from North Africa. France 24 quotes European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said that “without naval assets, the operation will not be able to effectively implement its mandate.” Aid group Doctors Without Borders accused European countries of being “irresponsible and reckless” in withdrawing the ships. “For the vulnerable people trying to flee Libya, their choices are increasingly limited to being stuck in detention centers or dying at sea,” said Hassiba Hadj-Sahraoui, a…
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Salvini announces that migrants have hijacked cargo ship and is directed towards Malta or Lampedusa – Updated

Salvini announces that migrants have hijacked cargo ship and is directed towards Malta or Lampedusa – Updated

UPDATE: The Armed Forces of Malta established communications with the Captain of Motor Tanker ELHIBRU 1 when it was about 30NM away and still proceeding towards Malta. The Captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta. AFM Patrol Vessel P21 stopped the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters Italy's Foreign Minister Matteo Salvini said that migrants have hijacked a cargo ship which had rescued them and are on their way to Malta or Lampedusa. "It…
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EU to phase out Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean

EU to phase out Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean

  The EU's political and security committee agreed to phase out the Mediterranean migrant rescue Operation Sophia's mandate during a prolonged six-month period. All will depend on the final confirmation from member states. Italy had threatened to halt the mission unless rescued migrants were taken to other countries. But after Tuesday’s meeting of the political and security committee, the European Union's mission will no longer deploy naval ships in a decision aimed at resolving a dispute with Italy over where rescued asylum seekers disembark. It was also decided that the training of the Libyan coastguard will continue under the scaled-down program.…
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Heavy toll in migrants lives off Libyan coast

Heavy toll in migrants lives off Libyan coast

The Libya Express reports that during the past week at at least 30 migrants went missing after their boat sank off the western city of Sabratha this week. One survivor was quoted as saying that the boat was carrying almost 50 migrants when it sank. Libyan coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said the body of one child was recovered and 16 migrants were rescued. Previously, officials had said at least 10 migrants were thought to have died in the incident. Libya’s western coast is a main departure point for migrants trying to reach Europe, though numbers have dropped since an Italian-led…
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New air tower at Mitiga Airport progressing well

New air tower at Mitiga Airport progressing well

The Libya Observer quotes the director of Mitiga Airport, Lutfi Al-Tabeeb as saying that the construction of the new air control tower at the airport is at its final stages and should be ready by April. The construction work has begun in 2013 and has now reached an advanced stage after installing the basic operating equipment. Al-Tabeeb added that the delay in the works was mostly due to the security situation in Libya. Recently Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini discussed the resumption of direct flights between Italy and Libya in a meeting with Vice-President of the Libyan Presidential Council (PC),…
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Algerian President’s plane returns to Geneva

Algerian President’s plane returns to Geneva

  On Sunday, French news agency AFP reported that an Algerian government plane that transported the country's ailing president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to Switzerland for treatment two weeks ago returned to Geneva Sunday. The Algerian government did not immediately announce the purpose of the flight but it was possible that the plane was coming to repatriate the 82-year-old leader, who has been receiving medical treatment at the University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG). Bouteflika's office has insisted that the president went to Switzerland for routine medical checkups amid speculation that his health condition is far more serious. On Saturday, a lawyer acting…
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Algeria’s antiquities museum looted during massive protests

Algeria’s antiquities museum looted during massive protests

  Reuters reports that Algeria's antiquities was, after a mostly peaceful protest on Friday, looted .The Algerian Culture Ministry said criminals and not the protesters were to blame. The protests have become weekly occurrence after Abdelaziz Bouteflika the ailing and absent 82-year-old president announced he will be contesting the presidential election once more. His only concession was that he'll stand down after just a year if he wins the election in April. On Thursday he issued his first warning to protesters, saying the unrest, now entering its third week, could create chaos in the oil and natural gas-producing North African…
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Tripoli in the crosshairs. Fear of an offensive on Libyan capital

Tripoli in the crosshairs. Fear of an offensive on Libyan capital

  Forces from eastern Libya under the command of Khalifa Haftar have signalled that an offensive against the Libyan capital Tripoli might be imminent. Forces from eastern Libya who have swept through the south and taken control of remaining oilfields in recent weeks have now reinforced a base in the center of the country and signaled to the capital Tripoli that it may be next. This offensive has stunned the United Nations who is now scrambling to mediate between Haftar and Tripoli’s internationally-recognized government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. Haftar has not said whether he wants to march on…
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Britain optimistic regarding Libyan political solution

Britain optimistic regarding Libyan political solution

Angus McKee, the deputy ambassador of the United Kingdom to Libya, said he was optimistic Libya's crisis can be politically settled in 2019, insisting that there's no military solution in Libya. His remarks came in meeting with Abdelsalam Kajman from the Libyan Presidential Council. A meeting in which they discussed the developments in Libya, especially in the south. Kajamn for his part hailed the role of the UK and its work in different institutional frames and fields by boosting cadres via training and support, which is reflecting better governmental performance. Via The Libya Observer
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Libya-Italy discussions on resuming commercial flights

Libya-Italy discussions on resuming commercial flights

Italian Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini discussed the resumption of direct flights between Italy and Libya in a meeting with Vice-President of the Libyan Presidential Council (PC), Ahmed Maiteeq. In the talks, the two sides also discussed security, counter-terrorism, migration, and political stability in the Mediterranean region. Both sides emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation on issues of common concern and reactivate Libyan investments in Italy to increase trade exchanges between the two countries.   Via The Libya Observer  
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Tripoli Mitiga airport back to normal after drone alert

Tripoli Mitiga airport back to normal after drone alert

    Mitiga airport in the Libyan capital Tripoli was functioning normally after a security alert that resulted in the temporary suspension of all activity. The administration of Mitiga airport now said  that it had resumed flights as normal. Activity at the airport was suspended temporarily after unknown drones were spotted hovering in the area. Authorities said that the decision was also based on fears of unknown targets of unknown drones hovering in the area of the airport, which could at any time cause a disaster in the air.   Via The Libya Observer
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Financial crisis for Libya’s parallel government in the east

Financial crisis for Libya’s parallel government in the east

  Reuters reported that the Libyan government based in the east has sold bonds worth more than $23 billion (around 32 billion Libyan dinars) to fund its wage bill, bypassing the central bank in Tripoli and creating a potential financial black hole if the countryand creating a potential financial black hole if the country reunifies. The proceeds of the sales are used to pay eastern state employees via local banks, in large part using dinars printed in Russia. In Tripoli, the U.N.-backed authorities and central bank control an annual budget worth $29 billion, but they only partly fund the east,…
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