Thursday, Jun 29 2017 | Time 21:39 Hrs(IST)
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  • All-party meeting decided to carry on indefinite shutdown in
  • Cong, CPI-M term PM's statement on lynching as mere 'eyewash'
  • Air India pride of the country, a plan is being made to sell it off: Mamata
  • Italy gets Brussels backing for EU peers to accept migrants off boats
  • Djokovic leads the way into Eastbourne semi-finals
  • South Sudan says aid workers can not go to 'insecure' rebel-held areas
  • UP prepares for Kanwariya Yatra during Sawan
  • NCP demands judicial inquiry into Manjula Shetye's death
  • ....
  • Implementation of GST in its current form will have wider legal, political ramifications: Tarigami
  • Now, ED serves notice to Huriyat leader Geelani for possessing dollars illegally
  • Cong to boycott GST launch, says Modi has trivialised 'Freedom at midnight moment'
  • Venezuela's shield-bearing protesters inspired by Ukraine
  • Three new records set on first day at State athletics meet
  • Odisha to set up a model weaver village in Berhampur
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Italian court investigates whether smugglers finance rescue boats

By Antonella Cinelli and Steve Scherer
ROME, Feb 17 (Reuters) The chief prosecutor of a Sicilian court said on Friday that a task force is looking into whether people smugglers may be financing rescue boats run by humanitarian groups that operate off the coast of Libya.
A court task force is conducting "an analysis" - not a criminal investigation - into concerns that some boats may be working with smugglers, Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania's chief prosecutor, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"Last summer we saw something we'd never seen before: At times there were 13 boats operated by NGOs working at once," he said. Catania on the eastern coast of Sicily is the near the ports where most migrants are brought after they are rescued.
"Do these NGOs all have the same motivations? And who is financing them?" Zuccaro asked.
The court's concerns are based on the fact that they are conspicuously well-funded operations and on migrant testimony, Zuccaro said, that smugglers provided directions to where rescue boats would be located before they disembarked.
Humanitarian groups said that their boats can be located with free, real-time ship tracking on the Internet.
"This seems to be a notion based on incompetence," said Stefano Argenziano, head of search and rescue operations at Doctors without Borders.
"The problem isn't where rescue ships are, but that hundreds of thousands of people are putting themselves in the hands of traffickers and risking their lives."
A record 181,000 boat migrants came to Italy last year and most of them were rescued at sea. More than 90 percent departed from Libya, and some 5,000 died in the Mediterranean last year.
Not all rescues are carried out by humanitarian groups. Italy's coast guard and navy coordinate and participate in sea rescues, and private ships, vessels working with the European Union border agency Frontex and others with the EU anti-trafficking operation Sophia also frequently help with rescues.
Four groups contacted by Reuters that operated private rescue ships last year said they were funded by donations mainly from private citizens, with some contributions from foundations, companies, or through commercial partnerships and state grants.
All four denied any link with human traffickers.
"It's absolute nonsense," said Ruben Neugebauer, a spokesman for the German humanitarian group Sea-Watch. "We are funded entirely by donations," he said, adding that the average amount given was far less than 100 euros.
"We created our group to respond to the moral and legal obligation to save lives," said Sophie Beau, co-founder of SOS Mediterranee, which operates the Aquarius rescue vessel with donations, which averaged about 170 euros.
REUTERS CJ PM2213
Top News
President praises major financial changes, including introduction of GST

President praises major financial changes, including introduction of GST

Kolkata, Jun 29 (UNI) President Pranab Mukherjee today said major changes have happened in India during 2017 like, budget session has been advanced to the first day of February and the first combined budget of independent India that included Railways was presented in Parliament.

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29 Jun 2017 | 7:14 PM
CBI announces Rs 10 lakh for providing info of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed

CBI announces Rs 10 lakh for providing info of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed

New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) The Central Bureau of Investigation has announced a reward of Rs10 lakh for providing information of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed.

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29 Jun 2017 | 8:55 PM
Terror to figure prominently at G20 Summit, It's in line with

Terror to figure prominently at G20 Summit, It's in line with "Modi's approach": MEA

New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) Terrorism will figure prominently at the G20 Summit at Hamburg in Germany next month, a senior official in the Ministry of External Affairs said here and maintained that the talks proposed at Leaders' Retreat on the theme of terror is also in "alliance" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's own approach on the issue.

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29 Jun 2017 | 8:52 PM
Cong to boycott GST launch, says Modi has trivialised 'Freedom at midnight moment'

Cong to boycott GST launch, says Modi has trivialised 'Freedom at midnight moment'

New Delhi, June 29 (UNI) Announcing its decision to boycott tomorrow’s midnight GST launch at Parliament, the Congress today dubbed it just as a ‘’tamasha’ (‘spectacle) and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was insulting the ‘’freedom at midnight moment’’ by giving a similar importance to a taxation event.

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29 Jun 2017 | 9:11 PM
Modi expresses anguish, anger over killing of people in the name of cow protection

Modi expresses anguish, anger over killing of people in the name of cow protection

Ahmedabad, Jun 29 (UNI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed anger and anguish over the present atmosphere of violence in the nation and asserted that no one can be allowed to kill people in the name of cows.

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29 Jun 2017 | 4:43 PM
Congress decision to boycott GST launch unfortunate: Govt

Congress decision to boycott GST launch unfortunate: Govt

New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) The Government today described as 'unfortunate' the Congress move to boycott tomorrow’s midnight function in Parliament’s Central Hall for launch of the GST, and dismissed all the reasons given by the Opposition party for its decision.

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29 Jun 2017 | 8:05 PM
Assy passes resolutions for reservation of seats for Delhi students

Assy passes resolutions for reservation of seats for Delhi students

New Delhi, Jun 29 (UNI) After a short duration discussion regarding reservation of seats for Delhi's students in colleges, the Delhi Assembly today passed resolutions in these regard including 85 per-cent reservation of seats in colleges that are funded by the State Government.

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29 Jun 2017 | 8:40 PM

Italy gets Brussels backing for EU peers to accept migrants off boats

29 Jun 2017 | 9:24 PM

By Gabriela Baczynska BRUSSELS, Jun 29 (Reuters) The European Union executive today threw its weight behind Italy's plea for fellow EU states to allow humanitarian rescue boats carrying African migrants across the Mediterranean to dock in their ports to alleviate growing pressure on Rome.

UP prepares for Kanwariya Yatra during Sawan

UP prepares for Kanwariya Yatra during Sawan

29 Jun 2017 | 9:21 PM

Lucknow, Jun 29 (UNI) After peaceful passing of Holy month of Ramadan and celebration of Eid, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has now geared up the forces to ensure incident free Kanwar Yatra during the coming month of Shrawan, starting from Sunday.

JPCC celebrates 26th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi

21 May 2017 | 6:22 PM

Ranchi, May 21 (UNI) The Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee today paid floral tributes to former Prime Minister Bharat Ratna late Rajiv Gandhi on his 26th death anniversary which was celebrated by the party as ‘Shahdat Diwas’.

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