World this week
An inflatable rubber boat carrying migrants wrecked off the coast of Libya and 73 people were missing and presumed dead, the UN migration agency said Wednesday (Feb.15). It was the latest tragedy involving migrants seeking better lives in Europe. The UN International Organization for Migration said in a statement that the disaster took place Tuesday and that Libya authorities had retrieved 11 bodies. It said the boat, packed with around 80 migrants, reportedly departed from the village of Qasr al-Akhyar, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of the capital, Tripoli. The migrants were heading to European shores, it said.
The dead included one woman and 10 men, said Safa Msehli, IOM's spokesperson. It was not immediately clear what happened to the vessel but images showed the deflated broken-up rubber boat on shore. Seven migrants, all men, survived the mishap and made it to Libyan shores, the UN said, and were in "extremely dire conditions." They were taken to a hospital.
India's tax officials searched BBC offices in India for three straight days as of Thursday, questioning staff about the organisation's business operations in the country, some staff members said. BBC management told editorial and other staff members to work from home after they were able to leave the office on the first night . The searches came weeks after the BBC aired a documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the U.K. Indian income tax officials have not made any statements since the searches were launched in the BBC's New Delhi and Mumbai offices on Tuesday morning(Feb. 14).
The Press Trust of India news agency said the officials were making copies of electronic and paper-based financial data from the organisation. Rights groups and opposition politicians denounced the move by India's Income Tax Department as an attempt to intimidate the media. Britain's publicly funded national broadcaster said it was cooperating fully with authorities and hoped "to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.
Spain's parliament approved new legislation that will allow anyone over 16 to change their legally registered gender, ease abortion limits for those aged 16 and 17, and make the country the first in Europe to introduce paid menstrual leave. The new transgender law - which was passed despite protests from feminist groups, warnings from opposition parties, and amid tensions between different wings of the Socialist-led coalition government - means that anyone aged over 16 will be able to change their gender on official documents without medical supervision.
However, a judge will need to authorise the change for minors aged between 12 and 14, while those aged between 14 and 16 will need the consent of their parents or guardians. No such changes will be available to those under the age of 12. The law will also see a ban on conversion therapy - punishable by hefty fines - and an end to public subsidies for groups that "incite or promote LGBTIphobia".
Residents of an Ohio village upended by a freight train derailment packed a gymnasium demanding reassurances after toxic chemicals spilled and burned in a huge plume over their homes and businesses. Hundreds attended a meeting Wednesday, although representatives of Norfolk Southern, which operates the line, were conspicuously absent. State officials insisted yet again that testing shows the air is safe to breathe around East Palestine, where just under 5,000 people live near the Pennsylvania state line. They promised that air and water monitoring would continue.
In the nearly two weeks since the derailment forced evacuations, residents have complained about suffering from headaches and irritated eyes and finding their cars and lawns covered in soot. The hazardous chemicals that spilled from the train killed thousands of fish, and residents have talked about finding dying or sick pets and wildlife. About 50 cars of a cargo train derailed in a fiery, mangled mess on the outskirts of East Palestine on Feb. 3
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