World View: Saudi Arabia Hit with Six New Deadly MERS Cases

This morning's key headlines from

  • Lampedusa disaster forces Europe's immigrant dilemma into headlines
  • Libya demands a 'clarification' for the 'kidnapping' of al-Libi
  • With Hajj a week away, Saudi is hit with six new deadly MERS cases

Lampedusa disaster forces Europe's immigrant dilemma into headlines

Migrant routes from North Africa (BBC)
Migrant routes from North Africa (BBC)

Divers are still recovering hundreds of bodies of the 500 migrants in a boat that sank on Thursday before reaching Italy's Lampedusa Island from northern Africa. Divers have described nightmarish scenes under water: bodies trapped in the wreckage, locked in a final embrace or lying on the seabed covered in sand. Survivors have told a gruesome story: When the boat's engine failed, the captain burned a T-shirt to attract the attention of Italian coast guards near the short. When the T-shirt burned his hand, he dropped it, setting the boat on fire, causing it to capsize.

So far this year, over 30,000 migrants reached Italy on boats from North Africa, most of them fleeing war in Syria or Somalia, or threats of political imprisonment in Eritrea. Lampedusa has a population of 6,000 and is frequently overwhelmed by the 3,000 or so migrants that arrive there every month, hoping to head north to Germany or the UK. Italy is asking for help from the rest of Europe to cope with the flow of migrants.

Illegal immigration has been a major political issue in Greece, which has received thousands of immigrants flowing from the land border with Turkey or across the Aegean sea. The neo-Nazi Golden Dawn political party had been gaining popularity with a policy of deporting anyone who isn't an ethnic Greek, even legal citizens, until recently when the government declared that it was criminal organization. BBC and Reuters

Libya demands a 'clarification' for the 'kidnapping' of al-Libi

On Saturday, unnamed Administration officials were saying that Libya had been informed that U.S. special forces were going to snatch up Abu Anas al-Libi in Tripoli. He's been on the FBI most wanted list since the 1990s with a $5 million reward, and has been indicted in in a New York City court on charges of aiding in the bombing of the bombing of the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998. He's now being held for questioning "outside of Libya," presumably on a Navy ship.

But on Sunday, Libya's government said it asked the U.S. for "clarifications" about what it called the "kidnapping," underlining that its citizens should be tried in Libyan courts if accused of a crime. It said it hoped its "strategic partnership" with Washington would not be damaged by the incident. It's thought that the U.S. in fact didn't warn the Libyan government in advance, for fear that they would tip off al-Libi. AP

With Hajj a week away, Saudi is hit with six new deadly MERS cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced six more cases of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Saudi Arabia, raising the global count to 136 cases with 58 deaths. There is growing concern about a possible pandemic that might begin when millions of Muslims from around the world arrive in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, for the Hajj, their once in a lifetime pilgrimage. The Hajj will take place next week, October 13-18, 2013. Saudi officials are advising religious pilgrims to wear masks in crowded places, for their own protection and the protection of others. CIDRAP/U of Minn and Arab News

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