Libya’s GNA Chief al-Sarraj meets Italy’s Conte as diplomatic flurry over crisis continues | AFP

Libya’s GNA leader Fayez al-Sarraj meets Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte as part of a diplomatic offensive by Europe and North Africa to reduce tensions in Libya. IMAGES

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Tourists and Parisians seek relief from sizzling heat | AFP

Paris prepares Monday for a blistering heatwave with the mercury set to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) as summer kicks in on the back of a wave of hot air from North Africa.

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Heatwave kicks off in Paris | AFP

Paris prepares Monday for a blistering heatwave with the mercury set to hit 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) as summer kicks in on the back of a wave of hot air from North Africa. IMAGES

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Today in History for April 27th

Highlights of this day in history: President and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant born; Explorer Ferdinand Magellan killed; U.S. Marines attack North Africa during the First Barbary War; Ailing baseball star Babe Ruth honored. (April 27)

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‘Refugees pay life savings but end up homeless as traffickers say EU will accept them’ – filmmaker

Last year Spain witnessed a record number of migrant arrivals by sea with many of them helped across by people smugglers. In what’s claimed to be the first ever interview with a human trafficker from Morocco, the man told political activist Lauren Southern, that moving people from North Africa to Europe is a hugely lucrative business. READ MORE: https://on.rt.com/9rei

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SpaceX launches Qatari Es’hail-2 communications satellite

COURTESY SPACEX.COM

SpaceX launched a Qatari communications satellite from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The company’s Falcon 9 rocket carried the Es’hail-2 satellite on Thursday.

According to SpaceX, Es’hail-2 will provide secure communications for the business and government sectors across the Middle East and North Africa.

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Crisis looms as Bosnia races to shelter migrants before winter

With winter knocking at the door, Bosnia is racing to avert a humanitarian crisis for thousands of EU-bound migrants crossing its mountainous terrain and sleeping without proper shelter as temperatures drop. The poor Balkan state has become a well-trodden stop on the new route to the European Union for migrants escaping war and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

Today in History for April 27th

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Highlights of this day in history: President and Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant born; Explorer Ferdinand Magellan killed; U.S. Marines attack North Africa during the First Barbary War; Ailing baseball star Babe Ruth honored. (April 27)

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European migration routes

EU interior ministers met Thursday to discuss plans to ease pressure on Italy, grappling with a rising wave of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa. Italy has accepted some 85,000 of the 100,000 people who have arrived this year, and has appealed desperately for help. VIDEOGRAPHIC

‘Freedom!’ 100s of migrants celebrate after breaking through EU border fence

Hundreds of migrants are being given food and first aid by Spanish authorities and charities after storming and climbing over a six-meter barbed-wire fence to enter Ceuta, Spain’s enclave in North Africa, bordering Morocco.

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Cameron responsible for rise in xenophobia & racism abuse in UK – watchdog

A report condemning “considerable intolerant political discourse in the UK, particularly focusing on immigration” was published by the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) on Tuesday. David Cameron was singled out, in particular, for describing asylum-seekers arriving from the Middle East and North Africa as a “swarm.”

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The Deadly Journey From Libya’s Migrant Jails

Desperate to escape conflict and poverty, thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the perilous journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

In the wake of the decommissioning of Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation run by Italy, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), launched their own vessel, named the Bourbon Argos, to find those stranded at sea and save those in trouble on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

On board the vessel, refugees and migrants are provided with medical aid, food, and shelter, then brought safely to Italian shores. Having survived life in Libya, ruthless treatment by smugglers, and horrific conditions aboard flimsy boats, once aboard the Bourbon Argos they face yet more uncertainty as they approach Europe.

VICE News teamed up with MSF to document these missions in the Mediterranean. In this extra scene, we speak with rescued refugees and migrants, where they describe the situation in Libya before embarking on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

Watch “Surviving One of the Deadliest Routes to Europe: Refugees at Sea” – http://bit.ly/1SuiByR

Read “Migrants Keep Coming — And Dying — as EU Deportation Deal With Turkey Takes Effect” – http://bit.ly/22LpDYh

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Surviving One of the Deadliest Routes to Europe: Refugees at Sea

Desperate to escape conflict and poverty, thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the perilous journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

In the wake of the decommissioning of Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation run by Italy, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), launched their own vessel, named the Bourbon Argos, to find those stranded at sea and save those in trouble on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

On board the vessel, refugees and migrants are provided with medical aid, food, and shelter, then brought safely to Italian shores. Having survived life in Libya, ruthless treatment by smugglers, and horrific conditions aboard flimsy boats, once aboard the Bourbon Argos they face yet more uncertainty as they approach Europe.

VICE News teamed up with MSF to document these search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean and speak to rescued refugees and migrants, hearing about the suffering they have endured in their attempts to reach a new life.

Watch “My Escape From Syria: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1LiVIJk

Read “Wet, Sick, and Stuck: Thousands of Children Are Facing Deteriorating Conditions on Europe’s Borders” – http://bit.ly/1pzpdCu

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Lifeline: Refugees at Sea (Trailer)

Desperate to escape conflict and poverty, thousands of migrants and refugees attempt the perilous journey to Europe each year, with many crossing the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa in rubber dinghies and wooden boats.

In the wake of the decommissioning of Mare Nostrum, a search and rescue operation run by Italy, the humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), launched their own vessel, named the Bourbon Argos, to find those stranded at sea and save those in trouble on one of the deadliest routes to Europe.

On board the vessel, refugees and migrants are provided with medical aid, food, and shelter, then brought safely to Italian shores. Having survived life in Libya, ruthless treatment by smugglers, and horrific conditions aboard flimsy boats, once aboard the Bourbon Argos they face yet more uncertainty as they approach Europe.

VICE News teamed up with MSF to document these search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean and speak to rescued refugees and migrants, hearing about the suffering they have endured in their attempts to reach a new life.

Watch “Libya’s Migrant Trade: Europe or Die (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1V943t1

Read “Thousands of Refugees Are Trapped in a Greek Mudbath as EU Edges Towards Controversial Deal” – http://bit.ly/21kQggK

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Keeping Human Traffickers in Business (Excerpt from ‘People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die’)

In June the European Union (EU) responded to the colossal toll of people fleeing war and poverty dying on its borders by launching an 11.8 million euro ($12.8m) per year naval mission. EUNAVFOR Med was launched to tackle human trafficking from North Africa, a major contributor to the migration crisis that has claimed 2,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2015 alone.

But while the EU has declared war on traffickers in Libya and elsewhere, another trade is booming on its doorstep. Land smuggling preys on desperate migrants and refugees hoping to escape the EU’s Dublin Regulation — whereby people seeking refuge are required to do so in the first country that they set foot in — and illegally cross European borders.

VICE News travels to Sicily, a main stepping stone into Europe, to follow a police operation to arrest suspected smugglers at a boat landing. We also find out about the land smuggling business of taking people from Sicily to northern Europe, and meet a small group of activists helping newly-arrived migrants and refugees avoid being exploited.

In this excerpt from ‘People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die,’ VICE News meets a former smuggler who provides an insight into the vast network of people involved in the grim business of trafficking, and suggests ways Europe could save many migrants’ lives.

Watch “People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1NwZh2z

Read “Germany Is Set to Accept Asylum Applications From all Syrians Who Arrive There” – http://bit.ly/1fFsz1j

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Europe’s Largest Migrant Reception Center (Extra Scene from ‘People Smuggling in Sicily’)

In June the European Union (EU) responded to the colossal toll of people fleeing war and poverty dying on its borders by launching an 11.8 million euro ($12.8m) per year naval mission. EUNAVFOR Med was launched to tackle human trafficking from North Africa, a major contributor to the migration crisis that has claimed 2,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2015 alone.

But while the EU has declared war on traffickers in Libya and elsewhere, another trade is booming on its doorstep. Land smuggling preys on desperate migrants and refugees hoping to escape the EU’s Dublin Regulation — whereby people seeking refuge are required to do so in the first country that they set foot in — and illegally cross European borders.

VICE News travels to Sicily, a main stepping stone into Europe, to follow a police operation to arrest suspected smugglers at a boat landing, and meet a former member of a people trafficking network operating between Libya, Egypt, and Italy. We also find out about the land smuggling business of taking people from Sicily to northern Europe, and meet a small group of activists helping newly-arrived migrants and refugees avoid being exploited.

In this extra scene from ‘People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die,’ VICE News visits Europe’s largest migrant reception center, Cara di Mineo. We try to find out if the prospects for migrants who choose the legal route of entering the Italian system are better than for those who attempt illegal smuggling routes into other European countries. What we discover is a segregated migrant city of more than 3,200 frustrated residents, hidden away in a former US army base in the Sicilian countryside.

Watch “People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1NwZh2z

Read “Syrian Migrants Are Now Being Processed on a Cruise Ship in Greece” – http://bit.ly/1Nn3XJg

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People Smuggling in Sicily: Europe or Die

In June the European Union (EU) responded to the huge numbers of migrants and refugees dying on its borders by launching an 11.8 million euro ($12.8m) a year naval mission. EUNAVFOR Med was launched to tackle human trafficking from North Africa, a major contributor to the migration crisis that has claimed 2,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2015 alone.

But while the EU has declared war on traffickers in Libya and elsewhere, another trade is booming on its doorstep. Land smuggling preys on desperate people hoping to escape the EU’s Dublin Regulation — whereby migrants seeking refuge are required to do so in the first country that they set foot in — and illegally cross European borders.

VICE News travels to Sicily, a main stepping stone into Europe, to follow a police operation to arrest suspected smugglers at a boat landing, and meets a former member of a people trafficking network operating between Libya, Egypt, and Italy. We also find out about the land smuggling business of taking people from Sicily to northern Europe, and meet a small group of activists helping newly-arrived migrants and refugees avoid being exploited.

Watch “Migrants Stranded on Kos: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1M8CkSt

Read “Hundreds of Migrants Locked in Greek Soccer Stadium as Kos Crisis Hurtles ‘Out of Control'” – http://bit.ly/1DML6ED

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People Smuggling In Sicily: Europe Or Die (Trailer)

In June the European Union (EU) responded to the colossal toll of people fleeing war and poverty dying on its borders by launching an 11.8 million euro ($12.8m) per year naval mission. EUNAVFOR Med was launched to tackle human trafficking from North Africa, a major contributor to the migration crisis that has claimed 2,000 lives in the Mediterranean in 2015 alone.

But while the EU has declared war on traffickers in Libya and elsewhere, another trade is booming on its doorstep. Land smuggling preys on desperate migrants and refugees hoping to escape the EU’s Dublin Regulation — whereby people seeking refuge are required to do so in the first country that they set foot in — and illegally cross European borders.

VICE News travels to Sicily, a main stepping stone into Europe, to follow a police operation to arrest suspected smugglers at a boat landing, and meet a former member of a people trafficking network operating between Libya, Egypt, and Italy. We also find out about the land smuggling business of taking people from Sicily to northern Europe, and meet a small group of activists helping newly-arrived migrants and refugees avoid being exploited.

Watch: Migrants Stranded on Kos: Europe or Die – http://bit.ly/1M8CkSt

Read: At Least 600 Migrants Drown as Boat Capsizes in the Mediterranean – http://bit.ly/1gfes3d

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Selling Weapons: It’s Good for Business (Excerpt from ‘Rearming Iraq’)

As violence escalates across the Middle East and North Africa, the United States remains the largest exporter of weapons to the region, and private US defense companies and contractors have opened local offices as the demand shows no sign of abating.

VICE News traveled to this year’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi to examine the competition between arms manufacturers vying for a greater portion of the lucrative market.

From Abu Dhabi we traveled to Iraq, where US weapons have fallen into the hands of non-state actors such as the so-called Islamic State militant group, Kurdish Peshmerga, and militias aligned with the Iraqi government. Rather than block sales, the US government and others actively promote them — ensuring there will be enough arms to fuel the region’s wars and revolts for years to come.

In this excerpt from the International Defense Expo in Abu Dhabi, VICE News speaks with representatives from arms manufacturers as well as a general from the US military overseeing foreign military sales about their current business in the Middle East.

Watch “Rearming Iraq: The New Arms Race in the Middle East” – http://bit.ly/1Guq8tl

Watch “’Terrorists’ Take Over the Stage (Extra Scene from ‘Rearming Iraq’)” – http://bit.ly/1KAdhbi

Read “‘Liberating Ramadi Will Not Take Long’: Iraq Starts Major Operation to Repel Islamic State” – http://bit.ly/1HLwrYb

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“Terrorists” Take Over the Stage (Extra Scene from ‘Rearming Iraq’)

As violence escalates across the Middle East and North Africa, the United States remains the largest exporter of weapons to the region, and private US defense companies and contractors have opened local offices as the demand shows no sign of abating.

VICE News traveled to this year’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi to examine the competition between arms manufacturers vying for a greater portion of the lucrative market.

From Abu Dhabi we traveled to Iraq, where US weapons have fallen into the hands of non-state actors such as the so-called Islamic State militant group, Kurdish Peshmerga, and militias aligned with the Iraqi government. Rather than block sales, the US government and others actively promote them — ensuring there will be enough arms to fuel the region’s wars and revolts for years to come.

In this extra scene, we catch a glimpse of the opening ceremony at IDEX and speak with a Saudi CEO from Automotive Development Company about the arms race in the Middle East.

Watch “Rearming Iraq: The New Arms Race in the Middle East” – http://bit.ly/1Guq8tl

Watch “Should the US Send Lethal Aid to Ukraine?” – http://bit.ly/1CxBCJ5

Read “‘Liberating Ramadi Will Not Take Long’: Iraq Starts Major Operation to Repel Islamic State” – http://bit.ly/1HLwrYb

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More videos from the VICE network: https://www.fb.com/vicevideos

Rearming Iraq: The New Arms Race in the Middle East

As violence escalates across the Middle East and North Africa, the United States remains the largest exporter of weapons to the region, and private US defense companies and contractors have opened local offices as the demand shows no sign of abating.

VICE News traveled to this year’s International Defense Exhibition and Conference in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi to examine the competition between arms manufacturers vying for a greater portion of the lucrative market.

From Abu Dhabi we traveled to Iraq, where US weapons have fallen into the hands of non-state actors such as the so-called Islamic State militant group, Kurdish Peshmerga, and militias aligned with the Iraqi government. Rather than block sales, the US government and others actively promote them — ensuring there will be enough arms to fuel the region’s wars and revolts for years to come.

Watch “The Future of Amphibious Warfare: War Games” – http://bit.ly/1v1rzVD

Watch “War Games: Israeli Urban Warfare” – http://bit.ly/1v1ruS3

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Escaping Hell: Libya’s Migrant Jails (Part 3)

Watch Part 1, “Drowning for Freedom” – http://bit.ly/1HZMQHS
Watch Part 2, “Trapped and Forgotten”: http://bit.ly/1Cwjv9k

As Libya descends further into civil war and lawlessness, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to journey to the country’s coast in search of smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe.

Search and rescue operations by Libya’s coast guard are restricted due to diminishing resources, and have to contend with dangerous gangs of armed traffickers.

Those rescued at sea by the coast guard are brought to detention centers, where they face deplorable conditions and are forced to remain for long periods of time. In some instances, migrants are detained by militias in unofficial prisons outside of government control.

In the final part of our series, VICE News travels to Tripoli to detail the hardships of migrant communities and speaks to a survivor of the journey to Europe who talks of the true cost and terrible tragedy of crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

Watch “Italy’s Mediterranean Mass Grave: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1EbVKhG

Watch “Trapped In Bulgaria: Europe Or Die” – http://bit.ly/1Fgsiwl

Read “Italy Backs Controversial Plan to Build Migrant Reception Centers in North Africa” – http://bit.ly/1CdUluB

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Drowning for Freedom: Libya’s Migrant Jails (Part 1)

Watch Part 2, “Trapped and Forgotten” – http://bit.ly/1Cwjv9k
Watch Part 3, “Escaping Hell” – http://bit.ly/1xCZ5nP

As Libya descends further into civil war and lawlessness, migrants from Africa and the Middle East continue to journey to the country’s coast in search of smugglers to take them across the Mediterranean Sea and into Europe.

Search and rescue operations by Libya’s coast guard are restricted due to diminishing resources, and have to contend with dangerous gangs of armed traffickers.

Those rescued at sea by the coast guard are brought to detention centers, where they face deplorable conditions and are forced to remain for long periods of time. In some instances, migrants are detained by militias in unofficial prisons outside of government control.

In part one of a three part series, VICE News is given access to chilling footage filmed by the Libyan coast guard, who have witnessed an influx of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, recovering hundreds of bodies of those who’ve drowned on their journey to Europe.

Watch “Italy’s Mediterranean Mass Grave: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1EbVKhG

Watch “Trapped In Bulgaria: Europe Or Die” – http://bit.ly/1Fgsiwl

Read “Italy Backs Controversial Plan to Build Migrant Reception Centers in North Africa” – http://bit.ly/1CdUluB

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