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Migrants land in Sicily as ship crew faces uncertain fate

A charity ship carrying 47 rescued migrants has docked in the Sicilian port of Catania after a two-week wait with the crew fearing legal action as Italy’s far-right interior minister tries to stop new arrivals. The Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3, which had been waiting off the coast of Sicily with the people it rescued in the…

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Migrants land in Sicily as ship crew faces uncertain fate

A charity ship carrying 47 rescued migrants has docked in the Sicilian port of Catania after a two-week wait with the crew fearing legal action as Italy’s far-right interior minister tries to stop new arrivals.

The Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch 3, which had been waiting off the coast of Sicily with the people it rescued in the Mediterranean on January 19, was finally given the permission to anchor in Catania on Thursday after six other countries agreed to take them in.

The exhausted migrants, including 15 minors, cheered and hugged the crew as the ship sailed into the harbour, an AFP correspondent reported.

France, Germany, Malta, Portugal, Romania and Luxembourg said they would share the care of the mainly sub-Saharan African group.

It was not clear whether Italy would also host some of them.

The ship had been sheltering from a storm off the coastal town of Syracuse, which had been ready to welcome those saved.

“We have to go to Catania now. That means we are moving away from a port of safety, towards a port where there is a prosecutor, known for his agenda regarding sea rescue NGOs,” the German charity Sea Watch tweeted late on Wednesday.

“If this is not a political move, we don’t know what is. We hope for the best and expect the worst.”

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has warned he is considering legal action against Sea Watch’s crew, accusing it of sailing straight for Italy rather than taking the migrants to closer ports in Libya or Tunisia.   

The NGO says it tried but failed to get a response from Tripoli or Tunis.

‘Relentless campaign’

People rescued at sea have frequently been left in limbo since Italy’s anti-immigration government came to power in July, and on Wednesday Salvini said he was looking to ban all ships with rescued migrants from entering Italian waters.

The decision to send the ship to Catania raised red flags among migration and legal experts who said it might be impounded, as was the case with several rescue vessels previously in different Mediterranean ports.

Should that happen, it would take the last rescue charity ship operating in the central Mediterranean out of action.

The sole remainder would be the Italian Mare Jonio – a surveillance boat that aims to spot migrants in distress but is not equipped to rescue them.

Catania prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro has made a name for himself as a legal thorn in the side of the NGOs that rescue migrants at sea.

In March 2018, he impounded the Open Arms ship as part of an investigation into the crew for allegedly aiding illegal migrants by refusing to hand them over to the Libyan coastguard.

The ship was released after a month following a court ruling that Libya could not be considered a safe country because of a lack of safeguards for human rights, but the investigation continues.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee said in December the Aquarius would not sail again after “a relentless ongoing political, judicial and administrative campaign backed by several European states”.

The rescue ship had been stuck in a French port for two months following the revocation of its registration.

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Some officials saw risk of Beirut blast but failed to act – human rights group

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Some officials saw risk of Beirut blast but failed to act – human rights group

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Iran supreme leader endorses hard-line protégé as president

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Where to vaccinate kids aged 3-17 in Abu Dhabi

Earlier today, the UAE became one of the first countries in the world to approve the administration of the vaccine to this age group. The Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH) has announced that Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is now available to children aged 3 to 17 years at multiple locations across the emirate. This…

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Where to vaccinate kids aged 3-17 in Abu Dhabi

Earlier today, the UAE became one of the first countries in the world to approve the administration of the vaccine to this age group.

The Department of Health — Abu Dhabi (DoH) has announced that Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is now available to children aged 3 to 17 years at multiple locations across the emirate.
This came after the Ministry of Health and Prevention approved the vaccine for emergency use among children aged three and above.
Walk-in vaccinations are available at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Al Mushrif Children’s Specialty Centre- Seha, Al Mushrif Majlis, Al Bateen Majlis and Al Manhal Majlis.
For children in Al Ain region, the DoH said vaccinations are available at Al Kubaisi Hall of Al Ain Exhibition Centre, Al Towayya Children’s Specialty Centre — Seha and Falaj Hazza Majlis.
Also read: Sinopharm vaccine for kids aged 3 and above in UAE
Following approval by the Ministry of Health and Prevention for emergency use, which was based on clinical trials and local evaluation, @DoHSocial now offers Sinopharm vaccine to children aged 3-17 in multiple locations across the emirate. pic.twitter.com/P3EOKdcCvj— (@admediaoffice) August 2, 2021
In Al Dhafra region, children aged 3-17 can get their vaccinations at Ghayati Hospital, Liwa Hospital, Marfa Hospital, Sila Hospital, Delma Hospital, Al Dhafra Family Medicine Centre and Al Dhafra Cooperative Society.
The decision is in line with efforts to combat the pandemic and provide protection for all community members.— (@admediaoffice) August 2, 2021
The Department of Health – Abu Dhabi said the approval was based on clinical trials and local evaluation.
Earlier today, the UAE became one of the first countries in the world to approve the administration of the vaccine to this age group.
The approval follows a trial that was conducted in Abu Dhabi to monitor the immune response of 900 children to the vaccine.

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