World Bulletin/News Desk
Italian coastguards rescued more than 350 African migrants off the small Italian island of Lampedusa over the weekend as they tried to reach European shores on rickety wooden boats, a coastguard official told Reuters on Sunday.
Last year tens of thousands of refugees and would-be migrants arrived in Lampedusa during the upheavals in North Africa, setting off a crisis that threatened to overwhelm the tiny island, but the flow has eased this year.
Coastguards rescued 231 people from sub-Saharan Africa on Saturday from a 15 metre wooden boat, including 33 women and four children, a coastguard official said.
Later on Saturday coastguards launched another rescue operation, this time involving 126 Tunisians who were on board a 10-metre-long wooden boat, the official said.
The migrants were taken to a reception centre on the island and were going through an identification process and screening to see if they had rights to asylum, he said.
Italy has borne the brunt of a wave of clandestine seaborne migration from Africa to southern Europe that has reached crisis proportions at times in the past few years.
Most migrants risk the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean Sea in small, overcrowded fishing boats, and thousands have died as a result of shipwreck, harsh conditions at sea or lack of food and water.
Lampedusa lies south of Sicily and about 130 km (80 miles) east of Tunisia, the closest point on the north African coast.
British PM promised to fullfil 'moral duty' yet seeks comprehensive solution
Attacks targeted Far North region of country, where Cameroon's army is struggling to contain the overflow of violence from Boko Haram
EU foreign affairs head proposed to defence ministers to discuss capture and destruction of smugglers' vessels
Cluster bombs continue to be used in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine & Yemen despite global ban, UN report says
Family of a Syrian toddler whose body washed up on a Turkish beach has been trying to emigrate to Canada after fleeing war-torn town of Kobani
NATO reports getting 'mixed' reports from Ukraine, undrescoring that the situation remained 'very fragile'
Recently Russia has detained, jailed a number of foreigners on political motives
Whether China can manage a soft landing after years of explosive economic growth will be at the heart of G20 talks
British actress Emma Thompson says UK has 'plenty' of room for refugees, wants them to be accepted
Contrary to other European nations, the Vienna police chief has said that there are no plans to stop or check arriving refugees
New military doctrine approved by country's National Security Council announces Russia as military adversary
Hungarian PM Orban defends his government's handling of a wave of refugees, migrants
UK's former PM allegedly tried to 'cut a deal' for Gaddafi during 2011 NATO-led military campaign against Libya
Hundreds of Britons are calling on the government to take in more refugees, with some even offering their homes.
Three countries' foreign ministers signed a joint letter emphasising 'the shortcomings' of the current European asylum system
Despite no trains currently travelling to western Europe, thousands of refugees have stormed a train to safeguard their way out of Hungary.