The death toll among migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea has climbed past 1,000 in the last eight days alone. Though, that number could even be higher. The latest report from the International Organization for Migration is even worse than U.N. report released on Sunday that found that at least 700 drownings occurred since last week. In a statement, the IOM said,
The past eight days marks one of the deadliest periods yet in the migration crisis, which is now in its fourth year.
According to the U.N.’s human rights arm, in the first months of 2016 alone, at least 2,510 have died attempting to make the voyage to Europe from countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Many are still fleeing violence, the rise of ISIS, instability and poverty throughout the region.
Smugglers are using dangerously constructed boats, overcrowding them with migrants desperate to the cross the Mediterranean in an effort to get to Europe. Discuss
The U.N. has released some devastating news. Officials from the refugee agency have said that since Wednesday of last week, at least 700 migrants have drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea. However, last week alone, teams rescued 14,000 people, who were also attempting to make the dangerous journey, fleeing violence, poverty and instability in parts of the Middle East and North Africa, for Europe.
In one incident last week, smugglers loaded more than 675 people into a boat that didn’t even have a motor. It soon began to fall apart. Though several dozen people were rescued, nearly 550 are still missing and presumed dead according to USA Today. Over 100 others went missing when another smuggling boat capsized last week.
According to the International Organization for Migration, at least 1,475 people have died attempting to make the journey this year alone. Discuss
According to the BBC, a group of more than 100 scientists believe the Rio Olympics should be postponed or moved to another country "in the name of public health." The scientists penned an open letter and posted it to the website Rio Olympics Later. They say that the "new scientific findings that underscore the seriousness of that problem," along with WHO declaring zika a "public health emergency of international concern," make the case. The letter is clear that this group doesn't want the games canceled, just delayed or moved.
Earlier in May, the International Olympic Committee said it didn't anticipate having to cancel, delay or move the Rio games, but the IOC medical director Richard Budgett said they "would continue to monitor the situation closely."
The letter gives seven reasons why the games should be moved or postponed, including,
Rio de Janeiro is highly affected by Zika. Brazil's government reports Rio de Janeiro state has the second-highest number of probable Zika cases in the country (32,000) and the fourth-highest incidence rate (195 per 100,000), demonstrating active transmission. ... That Rio's health system is so severely weakened as to make a last-minute push against Zika impossible.
As yet, there's no response from the Olympic committee. Discuss
According to Syrian human rights groups and reports from the region, between 120 and 150 people were killed in a series of bombings in Syria yesterday. Terrorists from the radical Islamic group ISIS set off car bombs, suicide bombs and even launched rockets in three Syrian cities. The attacks targeted Alawite Muslims, a minority sect that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad belongs to.
The cities targeted in the attacks—Jableh and Tartus—have been Assad strongholds up to this point, and have been relatively isolated from the violence of the country’s long-running civil war.
The bombings targeted civilians: In addition to striking a crowded bus station, another of the blast went off in the emergency room of a hospital. Discuss
President Obama will visit the city of Hiroshima this week during his weeklong visit to several Asian countries, but the White House says that he has no plans to apologize on behalf of the United States for dropping a nuclear bomb there during WWII. He will be the first president ever to visit the city.
According to White House officials, the president will focus his message while in the country on reconciliation, the importance of international partnerships and the tragic costs of war. In an interview with a Japanese public radio station, the president was asked directly about whether or not he would apologize:
No, because I think that it's important to recognize that in the midst of war, leaders make all kinds of decisions. It's a job of historians to ask questions and examine them, but I know as somebody who has now sat in this position for the last seven and a half years, that every leader makes very difficult decisions, particularly during war time.
The issue is still a politically sensitive one. A nuclear bomb dropped on the city during the summer of 1945 killed tens of thousands of civilians and leveled much of the area. Though the bombings are still debated, some historians credit them with helping to end WWII. Discuss