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A migrant prays on the Migrant Offshore Aid Station ship Topaz Responder after being rescued around 20 nautical miles off the coast of Libya, June 23, 2016. Image source: VOA

early 4,200 people have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea since Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body washed ashore on a Turkish beach one year ago, said the U.N. refugee agency report. During the first eight months of this year, the agency reports, more than 280,000 people have made the treacherous sea crossing to Europe.

The number of arrivals in Greece has practically dried up, following the implementation of a European Union-Turkey accord under which migrants are prevented from leaving Turkish shores. But the numbers leaving Libya for Italy remain high.

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UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said Friday that the change in the migratory pattern had caused a spike in the number of casualties.

Representational Image of Refugees.Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

“So far this year, one person has died for every 42 crossings from North Africa to Italy, compared to one in every 52 last year,” he said. “This makes 2016 to date the deadliest year on record in the central Mediterranean. The chances of dying on the Libya-to-Italy route are 10 times higher than when crossing from Turkey to Greece.”

Legal pathways

Spindler said these dangers reinforce the urgent need to increase legal pathways for refugees to seek asylum in European countries. These, he said, could involve resettlement or private sponsorship, family reunification and student scholarship schemes.

Meanwhile, the U.N. Children’s Fund estimated that 500,000 refugee and migrant children had fallen prey to smugglers. The agency said people smuggling and human trafficking were now estimated to be worth up to $6 billion annually.

Migrants stand in a line in front of Red Cross member after disembarking from the Italian navy ship Borsini in the Sicilian harbor of Palermo, southern Italy, July 20, 2016. Image source: VOA

UNICEF spokeswoman Sarah Crowe told VOA that children, especially unaccompanied youngsters, who use smugglers to reach European countries of destination were very vulnerable to exploitation.

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“It may mean that they have to pay off their debts in favours, in exploitative services, such as labour, sexual prostitution, sexual exploitation and so on,” she said. “But sometimes, just out of desperation, they will fall into the hands of other criminals, organised crime, et cetera.”

To help protect refugee and migrant children, UNICEF is calling for greater efforts in tracking and documenting smuggling and trafficking networks that target children on the move. (VOA)



After spending three days on-orbit, the world's first civilian mission of SpaceX's Inspiration4 returned to Earth on Sunday

After spending three days on-orbit, the world's first civilian mission of SpaceX's Inspiration4 returned to Earth on Sunday. The crew, onboard the Dragon spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere for a soft water landing off the coast of Florida at 7.06 p.m. EDT (4.36 a.m. Sunday India time). "Happy. Healthy. Home. Welcome back to Earth," Inspiration4 shared in a tweet. "Splashdown! Welcome back to planet Earth," added SpaceX on the microblogging site.

The mission lifted off to orbit aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on Wednesday (India time Thursday). It was commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman and joined by Medical Officer Haley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St Jude Children's Research Hospital and pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Dr Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur, and trained pilot.

inspiration4 launch The mission lifted off to orbit aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft on Wednesday (India time Thursday) | Wikimedia

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Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Fortnite users look forward to new features

By Steve Carty

As we all know, Fortnite has been a very popular battle royale game for a very long time and this is only because of its building aspect. People only try or play this game because of the building aspect. No game has ever had this feature where you could build fight your opponent for high ground and all. It's crazy how they even thought of this. Fortnite has been around for many years now. There used to be a different map in Chapter 1. People were really mad when Fortnite changed the map. People had a sentimental feeling towards that map and thousands of players stopped playing the game and switched to Apex Legends.

Fortnite has a huge map with different pinned locations in it. It's a game that you can't master in a week or two. It can take months or even years depending on how much you practice. People spend hours in creative just to learn a new technique with the building. Some people have been playing since the launch of Fortnite and are still bad at the game. Yes! It's possible to be bad even after you practice a lot. I'd suggest you spend a lot of time in creative and just free build there to get good at it. Once you've mastered the art of building, you'll be good to go and can outbuild anyone for high ground. There is another thing called editing in this game. People use the latest working Fortnite hacks for this where it edits in 0.1 seconds. People won't even see you editing this and this will make you a step ahead of them and due to that, you can easily kill them before they even notice.

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People stroll early morning at the Mumbai promenade.

Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".

With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.

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