AceNewsServices (Editors Choice) – October 01 – The first the crew of the Antarctica knew of the disaster was a radio request to help a search and rescue operation.
There were bodies in the water 200 miles off the coast of Malta.
Two other ships – the Verdi and the Japan – were already at the scene, picking people out of the sea.
The Antarctica was swiftly diverted and took command until the arrival of coastguard and naval ships.
The timesheet of the rescue makes for chilling reading, a catastrophe recounted in staccato phrases.
The Verdi picks up four people in the water, the log recalls, but one of them is dead. An empty liferaft is spotted. And then a body in the water.
A woman and two children are rescued by the Japan.
A few hours later, the crew of the Antarctica hear voices. Three people are retrieved. Over 24 hours, 11 people would be plucked alive out of the waves, a two-year-old girl among them, and taken to Malta, Crete and Italy.
One of the survivors was Hameed Barbakh. A resident of Khan Younis in southern Gaza. He would later describe to the Guardian the tragedy that so nearly cost him his life. In perhaps the most egregious episode yet of a deadly year on the Mediterranean, a fishing boat packed with hundreds of migrants had been rammed by another smuggling vessel when those on board refused to get on a smaller boat. As hundreds drowned, Barbakh survived by clinging to a life-jacket he found near the wreck.
His story meshed with those of other groups of people from Gaza whose relatives were caught in the grim incident.
Their stories illuminate two startling new details about the perilous Mediterranean odysseys which this year have claimed the lives of more migrants than ever before.
The first is that as well as countless Syrians, Afghans and Africans trying to make the perilous journey, a surprising number of refugees are from Gaza.
The second is that in order to escape, they must put their lives in the hands of a wealthy, influential and ruthless smuggling gang.
Rarely has the expression “devil and the deep blue sea” seemed more appropriate.
#AceNewsServices – SCOTLAND – September 18 – Debate surrounding the question of whether Scotland should become an independent country has seen impassioned interventions on both sides of the argument.
Within Britain and abroad, politicians and statesman have clambered to urge Scottish voters, depending on ideology, to vote in favour of independence or to retain the United Kingdom.
As millions of Scots prepare to go to the polls on Thursday, the Telegraph looks back at how the world has responded to the potential dissolution of the UK’s 300-year-old union UK Telegraph reported in flash-back.
NO: THE ANTI-INDEPENDENCE CAMP
“For Scotland, secession would be a catastrophe. It would end up in a Balkanisation process that nobody in Europe wants right now” – García-Margallo, foreign minister
“I have spoken to the representatives of the 28 states and enthusiasm for processes of this type is nil, because I understand they are bad for the region in question, for the state and the EU as a whole” – Mariano Rajoy, prime minister.
“The UK is one of the pillars of the single market, of big international trade agreements and is so important in Europe that the consequence will be maybe the start of the true decline of the European Union. The sequence, the consequences of tomorrow’s referendum, could be very, very dangerous” - Enrico Letta, prime minister
“Having Scotland outside the EU means the English-Scottish border becomes a customs frontier, with controls and tariffs. EU regional funding would end. Fishing rights would have to be re-negotiated from outside. And that is just the start of a very long list of disadvantages” - Ginna Pittella, leader of Socialist bloc of European Parliament
“I would say that the United Kingdom has been an extraordinary partner to us. From the outside, at least, it looks like things have worked pretty well. And we obviously have a deep interest in making sure that one of the closest allies that we will ever have remains strong, robust, united, and an effective partner. But ultimately these are decisions that are to be made by the folks there”- Barack Obama, president
“The UK is an extraordinary partner for America and a force for good in an unstable world. I hope it remains strong, robust and united”-Barack Obama, President, on the eve of voting
“I hope the Scots people will vote to remain in the UK for several reasons”- Bill Clinton, former president
“You will not find anyone involved in American foreign policy – from the President on down – who does not think that this division will weaken the alliance that we have” -Brad Sherman, congressman (D)
“I am a firm friend of the United Kingdom and I want it to remain the United Kingdom, not the disunited Kingdom. It is a matter for Scotland, obviously, but as a friend of the United Kingdom that is my view” - Tony Abbott, prime minister
“We think, from a Canadian perspective, that a strong, united United Kingdom is an overwhelmingly positive force in the world”- Stephen Harper, prime minister
“Great Scot! Independence vote may up Scotch prices” – Hindustan Times
“A German foreign minister is well advised not to interfere in British domestic politics. But I would openly admit that I would rather see Great Britain remain together” - Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister
“A ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence on Thursday would go down in history as a political and economic mistake as large as Winston Churchill’s decision in 1925 to return the pound to the Gold Standard or the failure of the Federal Reserve to provide sufficient liquidity to the US banking system, which we now know brought on the Great Depression in the US” - David Folkerts-Landau, Deutsche Bank Chief Economist
“The opt-outs they’re pushing for would make it very difficult for Scotland to get membership… I would be extremely surprised if there was an automatic accession to the EU” - Jo Leinen, senior Socialist MEP
“Scottish independence remains an adventure – poltically, economically and from a currency standpoint” - Die Weit
[China wants a] “strong, prosperous and united United Kingdom” - Li Keqiang, Chinese premier
“The concept of unity is the reason why the United Kingdom exists. If Scotland splits, it will hurt Britain’s self esteem and also reduce the impact of the country on the international stage. The world will suffer too. Britain cannot ignore this because Scotland means a lot to the UK” – China News Wire
YES: THE PRO-INDEPENDENCE CAMP
“I would obviously vote for Scottish independence because I’m too keen on history not to know that Scotland is the traditional ally of the French ever since the Ancien Régime” - Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick politician who ran for president in 2012 as the candidate of the Front de Gauche
“This is not about destroying the UK, it’s not about being against Britain, it’s about creating something new, an independent free Scotland. You can leave the negativity to the No campaign. Do I hope that Scottish independence could serve as an inspiration for us? Yes I do, I certainly do” – Daniel Turp, veteran of Quebec’s pro-independence campaign
“We wish our Scottish friends victory in the referendum with all our hearts. For us in Bavaria it would be a real boost and it would no longer be so easy for our media to negate or ridicule this topic. The larger the political unit, the less chance individuals have of being heard” - Florian Weber, eader of the pro-independence Bavaria Party
“If the yes wins then all of the European governments will have to accept the result, including Madrid. And I am convinced that the negotiations between Brussels, London and Edinburgh will start very quickly with the goal to keep Scotland in the European Union. The consequences for us are important. It raises the question that if the Scottish people have the right to decide then why not the Catalan people” - Artur Mas, president of the semi-autonomous Spanish region
“I think that independence would be a very positive thing for Scotland. I believe that every person has the right to be a member of an independent nation, to have sovereignty, to live in peace and to enjoy equality. And I believe that a majority of Scots feel the same and will vote for independence” - Choe Kwan-il, managing editor of Pyongyang-supported Choson Sinbo
“Every person wants to be able to decide for themselves. So if they want to separate from the UK, then of course I support them” - Issa Musallam, Palestinian bagpipe player Issa Musallam, 23
“As a bagpipe player, and knowing the history of bagpipes, I like to call it an instrument of war, The Scots used to have bagpipes on the battlefield, so for me, it’s part of resistance. But as Palestinians, like everyone else, we want our own state. The Scottish want their independence, their state, so they can live in a country that’s theirs and theirs alone” - Majeed Qonqar, Palestinian bagpipe player
“In four days, we will know whether this perfect storm was just a passing breeze, or if Great Britain should prepare itself to take its place in the coffers of history alongside the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and so many other old broken states” - Martin Rodriguez Yebra, La Nacion newspaper.
Courtesy of Telegraph UK Staff
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES - September 07 – The United States has not made any offers on military assistance to Ukraine’s government, Reuters quoted a senior US official as saying Sunday.
“No US offer of lethal assistance has been made to Ukraine,” the official said.
Earlier on Sunday, advisor to the Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Yuri Lutsenko, said that agreements had been reached at the NATO summit in Wales to supply advanced weapons to Ukraine from several countries, including the United States, France, Italy and Poland.
#AceWorldNews – CZECHOSLOVAKIA – September 07 – The Czech Republic will supply Iraq’s Kurds with ammunition worth over US$2 million, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said in televised statement on Sunday.
As quoted by RIA Novosti.“Right after Iraq’s new government begins its work, which is planned for September 14, I will visit the country for talks on the supply of weapons, the first tranche of which has already been approved by the Czech government.
The cost of the first delivery is over 40 million korunas (or $2 million), but it is gratuitous on our part,” Zaoralek said.
On Wednesday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Canada, and Albania will provide “arms and equipment” to Kurdistan, northern Iraq, which joined the central Baghdad government in the fight against Islamic State militants, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS/ISIL)
#AceWorldNews – ITALY (Gioia Tauro) – July 02 – A Danish ship carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons has steamed into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro for a rendezvous with a U.S. cargo vessel that will destroy the toxic material.
Escorted by an Italian coast guard vessel and other ships, the Ark Futura pulled into port as the sun rose Wednesday and anchored near the MV Cape Ray.
A helicopter buzzed overhead.
The Ark Futura last month picked up the last batch of Syrian chemical weapons — including mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas — that were removed as part of the international effort to destroy Syria’s chemical stockpile.
The chemicals are to be loaded onto the Cape Ray later Wednesday and will be neutralized at sea.
AP – Fox – USA Today
#AceWorldNews – ITALY (Veneto) – May 29 – Thirty-eight children have been injured in a bus accident in Italy, three of whom are in a serious condition, according to La Stampa.
There were 40 boys aged 12-16 on the bus, accompanied by five leaders.
The accident took place in Belluno, in the Veneto region of northern Italy.
The driver had reportedly experienced some problems applying the brakes on the vehicle while it was en route to Lignano Sabbiadoro, Udine, also in the north.
Two helicopters and six ambulances arrived at the scene of the accident to aid with rescue operations.
CNN – RT – La Stampa