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Greenpeace urges Arab League to act before it’s too late on Yemen’s FSO Safer

Greenpeace sounded the alarm about the derelict oil tanker FSO Safer floating offshore of Yemen’s Hodeida governorate and urged the Arab League to convene an urgent meeting to avert the humanitarian and environmental threats it poses.
In a letter addressed to Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, Greenpeace called on Arab foreign ministers to meet to fund a UN plan to address the threats posed by the decaying tanker.
With an estimate of 1.1 million barrels of oil onboard, there is a risk of a serious environmental and humanitarian disaster should the tanker explode or large amounts of oil spill into the sea.
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Executive Director at Greenpeace MENA Ghiwa Nakat said the organization called on Aboul Gheit to hold an urgent meeting of the Arab League member states to work on funding the plan to salvage the tanker “before it is too late.”
“It is deplorable that the Safer crisis has yet to be resolved due to the lack of financial support. Tragically, only one Arab state has so far contributed to the funding of the plan which has amounted so far to only half of the money needed,” Nakat said.
She also warned that if the threats posed by Safer are not resolved, the consequences of a possible disaster will be harsh as they will not only impact the environment but also people’s livelihoods and health.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia controls Yemen’s western Red Sea ports, including Ras Issa, 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from where the Safer tanker has been moored since the 1980s.
According to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press in June 2020, seawater had entered the engine compartment of the tanker, which has not been maintained for more than six years, causing damage to the pipelines and increasing the risk of sinking.
According to the AP report, experts said maintenance is no longer possible because the damage to the ship is irreversible.
Nakat noted that the amount needed to fund the plan, which is $80 million, is a “drop in the ocean” compared to the cost which Arab countries will bear in case of an oil spill and which is estimated at $20 billion.
In May, the United Nations said $144 million is needed to fund the salvage operation of Safer. This amount includes $80 million to transfer the crude oil from the tanker.
With The Associated Press
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US: Bodies of two of three missing kids found in Minnesota lake

The bodies of two young children have been recovered from a Minnesota lake, and searchers are still looking for a third they fear may have been intentionally drowned.

Meanwhile, the father of the children died at a different location hours earlier, and their mother is missing. Names have not been released.

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The chain of events began Friday morning when the father was found dead at a mobile home park in the town of Maplewood, near Minneapolis. Police determined that the woman had left with the children, and a search began.

Maplewood Police Lt. Joe Steiner said the woman’s car was found near Vadnais Lake around 4 p.m. Friday. The shoes of the children were found on the shore.

A search of the lake found one child’s body Friday evening. A second body was found overnight. Searchers from several organizations were busy Saturday looking for the third, as well as the mother.

Authorities believe all three children were under the age of 5.

“There’s nothing more tragic than the loss of young children,” Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher said at a news conference on Friday. He called the deaths a “likely triple homicide.”

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

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Foreign firefighters arrive in Greece for summer wildfire season

Several dozen Romanian and Bulgarian firefighters took up their posts in Greece on Saturday, the first members of a European force being deployed to the country to provide backup in case of major wildfires during the summer.

More than 200 firefighters and equipment from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Romania, Norway and Finland will be on standby during the hottest months of July and August in Greece, where a spate of wildfires caused devastation last summer.

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A group of 28 Romanian firefighters with eight vehicles, and 16 firefighters from Bulgaria with four vehicles, were the first to arrive for the two-month mission, financed and coordinated under the European Union’s civil protection mechanism.

“We thank you very much for coming to help us during a difficult summer for our country, and for proving that European solidarity is not just theoretical, it’s real,” Greek Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides said on Saturday as he welcomed the members of the Romanian mission in Athens.

“When things get tough, you will be side by side with our Greek firefighters so we can save lives and property.”

The Bulgarian firefighters have been stationed in Larissa, in central Greece.

Last summer’s wildfires ravaged about 300,000 acres (121,000 hectares) of forest and bushland in different parts of Greece as the country experienced its worst heatwave in 30 years.

Following sharp criticism of its response to the fires, the Greek government set up a new civil protection ministry and promised to boost firefighting capacities.

In Greece’s worst wildfire disaster, 102 people were killed when a blaze tore through the seaside town of Mati and nearby areas close to Athens during the summer of 2018.

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One killed, six injured in shootout between migrant groups in Serbia

One migrant was killed and at least six others, including a teenage girl, were injured Saturday in a shootout between migrant groups in Serbia near the Hungarian border, the state-run RTS television reported.

The 16-year-old girl sustained life threatening injuries in the incident that occurred in a forest in the outskirts of Subotica, some 160 kilometers (100 miles) north of Belgrade, where the injured were hospitalized, RTS reported.

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Police, who made no immediate comment, blocked access to the forest where the incident took place, only around a kilometer from the Hungarian border.

Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin rushed to the scene.

The injured, aged between 20 and 30, have no documents, Subotica mayor Stevan Bakic told local media.

It is not known what triggered the incident, he added.

Local media reported that the shootout occurred between Afghan and Pakistani migrants most likely over human trafficking from the area to European Union member Hungary.

Serbia lies on the so-called Balkans route used by migrants heading towards Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Although the route is nowhere as busy as it was during Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, tens of thousands of illegal migrants still cross the region annually.

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