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January 24, 2018

Seventeen migrants dead, 278 saved in Strait of Sicily: navy

ROME (Reuters) – Italian sailors have rescued 278 migrants in the Strait of Sicily but found 16 others dead in their inflatable boat and one more who died shortly after help arrived, the navy said on Friday.

The dead apparently succumbed to hypothermia and dehydration in one of three boats found on Thursday south of the island of Lampedusa, it said.

There were 75 survivors from the boat carrying the corpses and another 202 people were rescued from the two other inflatable boats found in the same area.

Photographs released by the navy showed standing passengers packed into the overcrowded outboard-powered boats.

Some 3,200 migrants have died this year trying to reach Europe from Africa, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has said. Many of them are fleeing conflict and human rights abuses at home.

Italy is closing its “Mare Nostrum” search and rescue mission which has saved some 100,000 migrants, and making way for a smaller pan-European project called Triton.

Mare Nostrum, which included five warships on permanent patrol, was launched last October after more than 360 migrants died when their boat capsized a mile off the coast of Lampedusa.

The mission cost nearly 10 million euros ($12.35 million) a month, becoming a controversial strain on an economy that is suffering its third recession in six years.

(Reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

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Seventeen migrants dead, 278 saved in Strait of Sicily: navy

Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras

By Peter Polack

GEORGE TOWN Cayman Islands (Reuters) – A group of 15 Cuban migrants waved to onlookers as they set sail from Grand Cayman aboard a 14-foot homemade boat on Friday after a brief overnight stop, hoping to make the risky 400-mile journey across the Caribbean to the north coast of Honduras.

The boat, made from metal and fiberglass with inner tubes attached to wooden outriggers, was carrying five woman and 10 men and set off last week from Manzanillo, in eastern Cuba. Three other passengers abandoned the journey and turned themselves over to Cayman authorities for repatriation to Cuba.

Cubans seeking to flee the communist-run island are heading in increasing numbers by sea to Central America and then making a long journey overland to reach the United States.

One group of 32 Cuban migrants drifted for three weeks without food or water this summer after their engine failed. Only 15 were found alive when they were rescued by Mexican fishermen.

U.S. officials say more than 16,000 Cubans arrived without visas at the border with Mexico in the past year, the highest number in a decade.

Cuban officials have not commented on the illegal boat departures, but blame the U.S. policy for encouraging migrants to risk their lives.

Under Washington’s “wet foot, dry foot policy,” Cuban migrants who make it onto U.S. soil are allowed to remain, while those intercepted at sea are turned back.

One man, who identified himself as Ediberto, said he worked in a hospital, but undertook the dangerous journey because of poor economic conditions in Cuba.

“There is food available, but you have to have money to pay for it,” he said.

Another passenger, Manuel, a farmer from Ciego de Avila, said there is dissatisfaction in the countryside, but people are afraid of Cuba’s communist government.

U.S. Coast Guard patrols have made it hard to reach the United States undetected via the Florida Strait, which separates Cuba and Florida by only 90 miles at its narrowest point.

Many Cubans now opt for the longer western route to Honduras, a trip of about 675 miles, via the Cayman Islands, which takes about 10 days.

Honduran authorities give Cuban migrants temporary visas allowing them to head north for the United States.

(Editing by David Adams. Editing by Andre Grenon)

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Cuban migrants head off from Caymans, bound for Honduras

Kenya's Kipsang, Keitany win NYC Marathon crowns

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wilson Kipsang won a lucrative duel to the finish to join compatriot Mary Keitany in a Kenyan sweep of the men’s and women’s races at a cold, windy New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Kipsang and Keitany both pulled away in the last Central Park stretch, with Kipsang’s victory bringing him a $600,000 payday as the win also gave him the $500,000 World Marathon Majors bonus.

“Of course I was thinking about it,” Kipsang said about the bonus. “My only chance to win the jackpot was to win this race. I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure I would win.”

With temperatures around 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius) and wind gusting to 40 miles per hour (64 kph), some 50,000 runners set off in the world’s largest marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island.

Runners wore ski hats or head bands over their ears and some pulled on sleeves or knee-high socks to deal with the elements that eased during the course of the 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race.

Conditions led to deliberate, tactical races that did not see the leading packs break up until after the 20-mile mark.

Kipsang, the London Marathon champion running the New York race for the first time, ran shoulder to shoulder with Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia over the last few miles.

In the final half mile, Desisa snuck ahead of Kipsang, who turned on a final burst to claim victory.

Kipsang crossed the finish line in two hours 10 minutes 55 seconds to win the $100,000 first-place price and catapult past compatriot Dennis Kimetto to win the massive bonus.

Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon winner, who said he felt discomfort from missing a bathroom stop, faded at the last and finished 11 seconds behind Kipsang, with fellow Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam, the 2010 New York champion, third in 2:12:13.

Keitany won an exhilarating duel with compatriot Jemima Sumgong to claim the women’s crown.

The 2012 London Marathon winner, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, edged ahead of Sumgong in the last two miles of the race that covers all five New York City boroughs.

Keitany, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, widened her lead at the end as she crossed the line in 2:25:07, three seconds ahead of Sumgong in tying the closest women’s finish in the New York race.

The winner started her push at the 20-mile mark.

“I knew we still have only five miles to go. So I say let me push in and dig in in order to be in good position,” said Keitany.

Said Sumgong: “My target was to win, but it was Mary’s day.”

Portugal’s marathon debutante Sara Moreira finished third in 2:26:00.

Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who finished her season last week ranked eighth in the world, completed her first marathon in 3:26:33 while running for a charity that benefits youth runners.

(Editing by Frank Pingue)

Excerpt from:  

Kenya's Kipsang, Keitany win NYC Marathon crowns

Athletics-Kenya's Kipsang, Keitany win NYC Marathon crowns

* Kipsang edged Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa by 11 seconds

* Keitany finished three seconds ahead of closest pursuer (Adds quotes, details official times)

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK, Nov 2 (Reuters) – Wilson Kipsang won a lucrative duel to the finish to join compatriot Mary Keitany in a Kenyan sweep of the men’s and women’s races at a cold, windy New York City Marathon on Sunday.

Kipsang and Keitany both pulled away in the last Central Park stretch, with Kipsang’s victory bringing him a $600,000 payday as the win also gave him the $500,000 World Marathon Majors bonus.

“Of course I was thinking about it,” Kipsang said about the bonus. “My only chance to win the jackpot was to win this race. I was trying to apply all the tactics to make sure I would win.”

With temperatures around 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius) and wind gusting to 40 miles per hour (64 kph), some 50,000 runners set off in the world’s largest marathon on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in Staten Island.

Runners wore ski hats or head bands over their ears and some pulled on sleeves or knee-high socks to deal with the elements that eased during the course of the 26.2-mile (42.2 km) race.

Conditions led to deliberate, tactical races that did not see the leading packs break up until after the 20-mile mark.

Kipsang, the London Marathon champion running the New York race for the first time, ran shoulder to shoulder with Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia over the last few miles.

In the final half mile, Desisa snuck ahead of Kipsang, who turned on a final burst to claim victory.

Kipsang crossed the finish line in two hours 10 minutes 55 seconds to win the $100,000 first-place price and catapult past compatriot Dennis Kimetto to win the massive bonus.

Desisa, the 2013 Boston Marathon winner, who said he felt discomfort from missing a bathroom stop, faded at the last and finished 11 seconds behind Kipsang, with fellow Ethiopian Gebre Gebremariam, the 2010 New York champion, third in 2:12:13.

Keitany won an exhilarating duel with compatriot Jemima Sumgong to claim the women’s crown.

The 2012 London Marathon winner, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, edged ahead of Sumgong in the last two miles of the race that covers all five New York City boroughs.

Keitany, whose best New York showing was third place in 2011, widened her lead at the end as she crossed the line in 2:25:07, three seconds ahead of Sumgong in tying the closest women’s finish in the New York race.

The winner started her push at the 20-mile mark.

“I knew we still have only five miles to go. So I say let me push in and dig in in order to be in good position,” said Keitany.

Said Sumgong: “My target was to win, but it was Mary’s day.”

Portugal’s marathon debutante Sara Moreira finished third in 2:26:00.

Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who finished her season last week ranked eighth in the world, completed her first marathon in 3:26:33 while running for a charity that benefits youth runners. (Editing by Frank Pingue)

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Athletics-Kenya's Kipsang, Keitany win NYC Marathon crowns

Iceland cuts aviation alert to orange, no ash from new eruption

By Robert Robertsson and Simon Johnson

REYKJAVIK/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Iceland cut its ash warning level for aviation to orange from red on Sunday, saying a fresh fissure eruption in Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano system was not creating ash.

Iceland’s largest volcanic system, which cuts a 190 km long and up to 25 km wide (118 miles by 15.5 miles) swathe across the North Atlantic island, has been hit by thousands of earthquakes over the last two weeks and scientists have been on high alert.

In 2010, an ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, in a different region of Iceland, closed much of Europe’s air space for six days.

The eruption, which started early on Sunday morning, spewed lava more than 50 meters in the air and is close to an earlier eruption that continued for a few hours early on Friday.

The Met Office raised its ash alert level to red earlier on Sunday but cut it after monitoring the eruption during the day.

“No ash has been detected,” the Icelandic Meteorological Office said in a statement. “The Aviation Colour Code for Bardarbunga has therefore been reset to orange.”

Red is the highest level on a five-color scale and it indicates that an eruption is imminent or under way, with a risk of spewing ash. Orange is the next highest level.

A three nautical mile restricted flight area around the volcanic activity set by the Icelandic Transport Authority has been canceled.

No flight restrictions are in effect as a result of the volcanic eruption.

Icelandic authorities said the latest fissure eruption started in Holuhraun north of Dyngjujokull glacier at around 12 a.m. ET.

Scientists estimate the fissure to be at least 1.5 kilometers long. The lava is estimated to be six to eight meters thick and flowing at a rate of about 1,000 cubic meters per second.

“The eruption is producing 50- to 60-metre high lava fountains,” Armann Hoskuldsson, a geologist at the University of Iceland told Reuters.

Two days ago, a 600 meter-long fissure in a lava field north of the Vatnajokull glacier, which covers part of the Bardarbunga system, erupted.

That eruption only lasted for a few hours and was not in an area covered by ice and did not produce ash. The risk of an ash cloud is highest when there is a sub-glacial eruption as melt water and magma mix to produce ash particles.

The new eruption is very close to Friday’s and is not under the glacier.

“It is almost in the same location. The crack has only extended a little bit further to the north,” Magnusson at the National Crisis Coordination Centre said.

Last week, scientists estimated around 400 million cubic meters of lava had flowed out from under the volcano in a long dike. The eruption on Friday was at its tip.

(Corrects identifying slug, no changes to text)

(Reporting by Robert Robertsson; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Stephen Powell)

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Iceland cuts aviation alert to orange, no ash from new eruption