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Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) pulls out about 6,500 people from 40 ships off the coast of Libya en route to Europe

Abraha is a relative of the migrant and paid about $2,000 to smugglers in Libya to help him cross the Mediterranean

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Migrants sailing in a crowded wooden boat carrying more than seven hundred migrants, are helped by members of an NGO during a rescue operation at the Mediterranean sea, about 13 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, Aug. 29, 2016. (VOA)

In what one rescuer called an “extraordinary day,” about 6,500 people on Monday were pulled from some 40 ships off the coast of Libya en route to Europe.

Nicholas Papachrysostomou, field coordinator for Dignity I, a rescue ship in the Mediterranean operated by Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said the scale is unprecedented.

“All together, the number is awe-inspiring,” Papachrysostomou said. “In the history of search and rescue operation in the central Mediterranean, I don’t think we’ve ever seen this figure on one single day.”

The day began with MSF rescuers responding to a distress call relayed from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome. In a harrowing scene caught on camera by the Associated Press, rescuers encountered 600 to 700 people crammed inside a wooden boat. Nearby, were another 18 to 20 rubber boats, each with about 120 people on board, he said.

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MSF helped rescue about 3,000 people, and the Italian Coast Guard coordinated efforts to save about 3,500 more in separate operations. Calm water and low-winds during the morning were the reasons for the high numbers of people setting off for Europe that day, Papachrysostomou said.

Many of the refugees were from Eritrea and Somalia, although large numbers also originated from West Africa.

The wet personal belonging of a migrant man are spread out to dry in the sun after he was rescued from the Mediterranean sea, about 13 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 (VOA)

Papachrysostomou said rescuers saw signs of physical abuse, malnourishment and suffering from exposure to the elements.

“The older ones are more vulnerable and the little children,” he said. “We come across cases where people are quite sick (from nausea). There’s hyperthermia. There’s fever. There are a number of conditions as a result of the journey, but we also have to consider that in order to get to Libya these people have had a long journey from their country,” he said as the migrants were being taken to Vibo Valentia, in southern Italy. “So they come with accumulated fatigue – and not just physical but also psychological.”

Abraha is a relative of the migrant and paid about $2,000 to smugglers in Libya to help him cross the Mediterranean.

The migrant’s journey began two years earlier in the town of Halay near Adi-Keyih, Eritrea. He left home because he saw no future there, Abraha said.

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“They want to lead their lives freely, and that’s why they left. That is their dream and their first goal is to lead their lives, be it through education and other means, and then they want to help others, families, they left behind.”

After leaving Eritrea, a two-year journey took Abraha’s relative from Ethiopia and Sudan to Libya. There, he fell in with smugglers and, according to Abraha, suffered beatings when he didn’t pay the money he owed.

“I know his voice… and I asked him because I was confused. I said why has your voice changed? He said they are beating me because I didn’t pay money and I am in bad condition.”

For Abraha’s relative and untold other migrants, a dramatic rescue at sea is only the latest chapter in a journey controlled by abusive smugglers. That’s why MSF, the Italian Coast Guard and other rescuers see saving lives as part of a broader mission to dismantle the smuggling networks that fuel Mediterranean migration.

To prevent smugglers from reusing their boats, military vessels destroy them after migrants have been safely evacuated, Papachrysostomou said.

These activities are part of Operation Sofia, a European Union effort to curtail migration by disrupting smugglers’ and traffickers’ business models.

Safe and legal passage to Europe is the only way to keep migrants out of the hands of smugglers, Papachrysostomou said.

“And this is why we believe, in Doctors without Borders, we believe that it is very important to reconsider the European policy. It is important to reconsider safe and legal passage because, the moment they don’t have this, this is when they would actually look for the smugglers, and this is where the smugglers become very important because they are the only way to get them across.” (VOA)

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    The huge influx of migrants to Europe needs to be contained. UNHCR and other such organisation needs to do a better job in providing safe and legal passage.

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Here’s Why Mediterranean, Fasting, Paleo Diets May Help You in Losing Weight

The evidence shows that for some people the Mediterranean, fasting or paleo (Paleolithic) diets can be "healthful, beneficial ways to eat"

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Like the Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting and paleo diets can also be valid healthy eating approaches - the best diet is the one that includes healthy foods and suits the individual to lose weight. Pixabay

Overweight adults who follow the Mediterranean, intermittent fasting and paleo diets can accrue weight loss and other health benefits, suggests new research.

Intermittent fasting – whereby participants limit their energy intake to about 25 per cent of their usual diet (500kcal for women and 600kcal for men) on two self-selected days per week, led to slightly more weight loss than the other diets, showed the results of the one-year study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The amount of weight loss was modest – on average two to four kilograms for the 250 participants, but for those choosing the fasting or Mediterranean diets, clinically significant improvements in blood pressure were also seen, said co-lead author Melyssa Roy, Research Fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

After 12 months, the average weight loss was 4 kg for those choosing the fasting diet, 2.8 kg on the Mediterranean diet and 1.8 kg on the paleo diet, said the study.

The aim of the research was to examine how effective all three diets were in a “real world” setting, where participants self-selected which diet they wished to follow, without any ongoing support from a dietitician.

The evidence shows that for some people the Mediterranean, fasting or paleo (Paleolithic) diets can be “healthful, beneficial ways to eat”, Roy said.

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Overweight adults who follow the Mediterranean, intermittent fasting and paleo diets can accrue weight loss and other health benefits, suggests new research. Pixabay

“Like the Mediterranean diet, intermittent fasting and paleo diets can also be valid healthy eating approaches – the best diet is the one that includes healthy foods and suits the individual.”

The Mediterranean diet encouraged consumption of fruit, vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, legumes, nuts, seeds and olive oil with moderate amounts of fish, chicken, eggs and dairy and red meat once a week or less.

The paleo diet consists of mostly less-processed foods with an emphasis on eating fruit and vegetables, animal proteins, nuts, coconut products and extra-virgin olive oil. While “original” paleo diets strictly exclude all legumes, dairy and grains, this study used a modified version including some dairy as well as up to one serving daily of legumes and grain-based food.

The results showed people found the Mediterranean diet to be the easiest to adhere to, said co-lead author Michelle Jospe, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Otago.

Most of the 250 participants (54 per cent) chose the fasting diet, while 27 per cent chose the Mediterranean and 18 per cent the paleo.

Breakfast, Healthy, Smoked Salmon, Salad, Egg
The amount of weight loss was modest – on average two to four kilograms for the 250 participants, but for those choosing the fasting or Mediterranean diets, clinically significant improvements in blood pressure were also seen. Pixabay

After 12 months, the Mediterranean diet had the best retention rate with 57 per cent of participants continuing, with 54 per cent still fasting and 35 per cent still on the paleo diet.

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Reduced systolic blood pressure was observed among those participating in the fasting and Mediterranean diets, together with reduced blood sugar levels in the Mediterranean diet. (IANS)