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Thursday, October 3, 2013

More Than 90 Migrants Killed as Boat Capsizes in Italy

A boat carrying migrants from Africa caught fire and capsized off the island of Lampedusa, near Sicily, killing more than 90 people and spilling hundreds into the sea, according to the Italian coastguard. Lampedusa is closer to Africa than the Italian peninsula and is a common destination for boats attempting to smuggle illegal immigrants into the European Union. “The first assistance was provided by people on pleasure boats who heard the screams”, said Antonio Candela, a local emergency medical worker. The fire was apparently started when migrants set fire to a blanket at a close distance to the shore to try to get the attention of coast guard because their engine had failed. Passing fishing boats ignored their pleas and the fire spread quickly, forcing some to jump into the water. “This is a tragedy without precedent. In many years of work here I have never seen anything like this. We don’t need ambulances unfortunately, we need hearses”, said Pietro Bartolo, a local doctor. Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta called the incident “an immense tragedy”.

IMF Says US Should Raise Debt Ceiling To Protect Global Economy

The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, has warned the US that the country should raise its debt ceiling and that failure to do so could harm the global economy. Calling the measure “mission critical”, Lagarde said that “the government shutdown is bad enough, but failure to raise the debt ceiling would be far worse”. Her words echoed a warning made by US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, who had said a potential US default could be “catastrophic”. Speaking more generally about the state of the global economy, the managing director said that “overall, the global outlook remains subdued. In many of the advanced economies, however, we are finally seeing signs of hope. Growth is looking up, financial stability is returning, and fiscal accounts are looking healthier”.

Mail on Sunday Editor Apologises for Gatecrashing Miliband Family Gathering

The editor of the Mail on Sunday, Geordie Graig, has apologised “unreservedly” to Labour leader Ed Miliband after it was revealed that two reporters from the newspaper had gatecrashed his uncle’s memorial service to ask members of his family about Ralph Miliband, his father. “I have already spoken personally to Ed Miliband and expressed my regret that such a terrible lapse of judgement should have taken place. It is completely contrary to the values and editorial standards of The Mail on Sunday. I understand that Lord Rothermere is personally writing to Ed Miliband”, said Graig, referring to the newspaper’s owner. The Mail on Sunday’s sister paper, the Daily Mail, had earlier in the week said that Ralph Miliband “hated Britain”, prompting politicians and public figures including the Prime Minister to defend Miliband’s defence of his father’s memory. “The reaction of many people to the Daily Mail’s attacks on my father this week demonstrates that the way your newspapers have behaved does not reflect the real character of our country”, said Miliband.

More Radioactive Water Flows from Fukushima Into the Pacific Ocean

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed on Thursday that human error had caused another radioactive spill at the striken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Workers at the plant mistakenly overfilled a storage tank, causing 430 litres of contaminated water to spill into the Pacific Ocean. “We believe it flowed into the ocean,” said Masayuki Ono, acting general manager of Tepco’s Nuclear Power and Plant Siting Division.The water in the tank was 6,700 times over the legal radioactive limit. The governor of the Fukushima local government, Yuhei Sato, said that “TEPCO has said it would place priority (on dealing with the contaminated water problem) and that it would inject corporate resources to deal with it, but I doubt their actions match what they have said”. Water had already leaked from the plant in August, when 300,000 litres of water leaked from another tank in the site. Some of that water was also believed to have reached the Pacific Ocean.

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