Around 60 migrants most of them from Bangladesh have died after their boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea after it left Libya for Italy, the Tunisian Red Crescent said Saturday.
Survivors told the Red Crescent the tragedy unfolded after some 75 people who had left Zuwara on the northwestern Libyan coast late Thursday on a large boat were transferred to a smaller one that sank off Tunisia.
“The migrants were transferred into a smaller inflatable boat which was overloaded, and 10 minutes later it sank,” Mongi Slim, a Red Crescent official in the southern Tunisian town of Zarzis, told AFP.
Tunisian fishermen rescued 16 people and brought them to shore in Zarzis.
The survivors said they spent eight hours trapped in the cold sea before they were spotted by the fishermen who alerted the Tunisian coastguard, Slim said.
The bodies of three people were plucked out of the waters on Friday, the Tunisian defence ministry said.
Survivors said the boat was heading to Italy and had on board only men, 51 from Bangladesh, as well as three Egyptians, several Moroccans, Chadians and other Africans.
Fourteen Bangladeshi nationals, including a minor, were among the survivors, said the Red Crescent.
“If the Tunisian fishermen hadn’t seen them (migrants), there wouldn’t have been any survivors and we would have never known about this” boat sinking, said Slim.
Charity ships have plied the Mediterranean Sea to rescue migrants in large numbers but the number of rescue operations have dwindled as these vessels have come under fire, namely from the populist Italian government, over their action.
Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has imposed a “closed ports” policy, refusing to allow migrants rescued at sea to enter his country.
On Friday, however, more than 60 migrants disembarked in Italy after two boats which had left Libya faced difficulties at sea and needed assistance.
The UN agency for refugees UNHCR called for stepped up search and rescue operations to avoid future tragedies in the Mediterranean, which it calls the “world’s deadliest sea crossing”.
“Across the region we need to strengthen the capacity of search and rescue operations,” said Vincent Cochetel, the agency’s special envoy for the Mediterranean.
“If we don’t act now, we’re almost certain to see more tragic events in the coming weeks and months,” he warned.
According to the UNHCR, the journey across the Mediterranean “is becoming increasingly fatal for those who risk it”.
“In the first four months of this year, one person has died (crossing the Mediterranean) for every three that have reached European shores, after departing from Libya,” it said.
Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the 2011 uprising that killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi, has long been a major transit route for migrants desperate to reach Europe.
Flytime Music Festival started off with a Bang
LAGOS—Pepsi Rhythm Unplugged took over Lagos’s Eko Convention Centre on December 20, for a night of world-class performances, luxurious raging, and a charged carnival atmosphere.
The legacy concert of renowned promoters Flytime Promotions, which takes place annually in Nigeria drew thousands of attendees and featured sets from many luminaries of African and world music, including Burna Boy, Olamide, Mayorkun, Zlatan Ibile, Patoranking, Teni Makanaki, breakout Jamaican singer Koffee, and veteran American Hip-hop legend, Ma$e among others. In addition to its sold-out crowd and stacked artist lineup, the concert is also marking its 15th anniversary with a pioneering 5-day music festival.
“Pepsi Rhythm unplugged has come in leaps and bounds, setting the pace of concerts in Nigeria, and inspiring a generation of talents to come forward with their best work,” says Cecil Hammond, the CEO of Flytime Promotions. “This year, we’re offering a decade-defining week, with specially curated concerts to define the holiday season.”
Hosted by Bovi, the night launched with a charged set from DJ Obi, before openers Jeff Akoh, Tolani and B-Red carried it forward. Fireboy DML would raise the crowd, right in time for a retro-fusion performance from DJ Cuppy, complete with dancers and miming.
20-year-old breakout Jamaican singer Koffee delivered a thrilling performance, running through her hit records, before ending with an emotional vote of thanks. Teni threw in her comic bent, and DJ Neptune charted the creative history of Nigerian music, soundtracking each era with hits and dancing from an electrifying group led by Kaffy.
Dressed like royalty in flowing Agbada, veteran rapper Ma$e took everyone back a few decades, to a time when he ruled Hip-hop. Backed by nostalgia, he ran through his vast catalogue of hits. Patoranking, Zlatan and Mayorkun played high-energy sets, before Burna Boy rounded off the show with a powerful performance.
Pepsi Rhythm Unplugged is a toast to 15 years of remarkable growth and exceptional concerts by Flytime. It is the first of a
The festival organizers will host legendary R’n’B trio, BoyzIIMen on Day 2, 21st December 2019. Day 3 will welcome the hottest girl of the summer, Megan Thee Stallion to new Flytime franchise—the Alternative Concert—on 22nd December. Flytime Music Festival has also announced the Everything Savage concert, headlined by Tiwa Savage on the 23rd of December. The festival will close on Christmas Day with a headliner concert by Burna Boy!
UNESCO adds Morroco’s Gnawa culture to list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
Gnawa culture, a centuries-old Moroccan practice rooted in music, African rituals and Sufi traditions, has been added to UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
UNESCO announced this via its Twitter account, on Thursday, December 12, 2019.
Gnawa refers to a “set of musical productions, fraternal practices and therapeutic rituals where the secular mixes with the sacred”, according to the nomination submitted by Morocco.
Often dressed in colourful outfits, Gnawa musicians play the guenbri, a type of lute with three strings, accompanied by steel castanets called krakebs.
They practice “a therapeutic ritual of possession… which takes the form of all-night ceremonies of rhythms and trance combining ancestral African practices, Arab-Muslim influences and native Berber cultural performances. The tradition, which includes the veneration of Islamic holy men, dates back to at least the 16th century.
Originally practised and transmitted by groups and individuals from slavery and the slave trade”, today it is one of the many facets of Moroccan culture and identity.
Gnawa was popularised by a festival that started in 1997 in the southern port city of Essaouira.
Until then, Gnawa brotherhoods had been little known, even marginalised.
Now, they attract waves of fans each year from across the globe to the Gnawa and World Music Festival in Essaouira that highlights a unique mix of musical styles.
Gnawa groups “form associations and organise festivals” year-round, which enable the younger generation “to have knowledge of both the lyrics and musical instruments as well as practices and rituals” linked to Gnawa culture.
10 Safety and Security Tips You Should Note as You Travel this Christmas
How to stay safe during your travels this festive period.
You can’t wait for Christmas to come. You’ve made or are currently making plans of how to make the best out of this Christmas season away from home in a vacation you’ve dreamt about all year long. December is finally here, you remember how you’ve googled the best destinations to travel to and how you finally made a choice. It’s a wonderful feeling.
There’s no doubt that travelling during the festive period can be a whole new level of excitement. However, it’s easy to lose your guard and get caught up in the thrill of Christmas adventures and/or shopping. While you get busy thinking about living your best life away from home, make sure that you don’t neglect travel security with these safety tips.
While you are preparing for your December vacations, like many, you may think you have it all sorted. Do you really have everything sorted out? Let’s look at a few things’ travellers like you should consider when travelling.
Here is a list of 10 safety and security tips that may come in handy as you make final preparations for your December getaway.
As you begin to book your travel, research the destinations you will be visiting beforehand. Take note of risky areas and places you would need to seek out assistance for. Familiarise yourself with emergency numbers and take note of specific country restrictions such as electrical outlet wattage, local customs, traditions and holiday schedules.
The idea here is that while you’d be a stranger visiting the place, probably for the first time, you don’t want to end up being embarrassed or be robbed of a valuable possession. So, research and get a deep insight into the area, the people and be sure of the places you must avoid while vacationing there.
Pack smartly as you travel this Christmas
Only take what you need for the trip and where possible, leave valuable jewellery, clothing and other items at home. According to worldaware.com, “While you should leave unnecessary valuables at home while travelling, it’s important to know how to keep important items as protected as possible”.
Do not leave your valuable items like jewellery in checked bags. They should be in your possession either within your hand luggage or better still, in a waist belt or neck bag. It is equally ideal to have a change of clothes in your hand luggage. This will come in handy if your checked bag(s) gets missing or stolen.
Communicate with family during your trip
As you plan to make that trip, it is also important you tell family and friends about your travel plans and share your itinerary with them beforehand. Make plans for how family, friends and acquaintances can contact you while you’re away. Check-in periodically with family/friends as a basic precaution.
During your vacation, you may change hotels, get on a cab or use other means of transport. You can always share your location with family and friends using the share location feature of Google Maps. If you’re using any cab/ride-hailing service like Uber or Lyft, you should also share your trip with a few family members or friends.
Arrive early at the airport on your travel date
Allocate plenty of time to pass through security checkpoints as high travel volume during the holidays is likely to increase delays. Ensure you have obtained all necessary documents prior to departure including country-specific visas. Where you’re not clear, ensure to get clearance before the day of your trip. Call the airline you’re using or call the agent that helped with your flight/hotel booking.
Prearrange transportation throughout your trip
Typically, this is best done through your hotel or host. App-based rideshare services are also often an acceptable method of travel, though this can vary by location and local restrictions. If using taxis, make sure they are officially licensed. Remember to always share your transport routes and destinations with family and friends.
Don’t stick out or draw unnecessary attention while on vacation
People who look like they’re from out of town are especially vulnerable to crime, so try to blend in as much as you can. Be discreet when looking at maps and approach people carefully if you need to ask for directions. Maintain a low profile to prevent drawing attention to yourself and avoid obvious displays of wealth.
Travel in groups this Christmas
It’s pretty much easier to rob one person than a group of people. So, where possible, plan your trips and vacations in a group. Asides being safer, travelling in a group could be much more fun than you could have travelling solo especially if visiting a foreign language country. So, before finalising your travel plans, find out if there are any organised group packages to your chosen destination.
Know your surroundings and stay current
When on vacation, you should be extra sensitive. If something or someone seems out of place, listen to your gut instinct and remove yourself from the situation or seek help. Stay informed of what’s happening in the area you’re travelling to.
Never carry a lot of cash on you as you travel
Avoid carrying and using too much cash while travelling. As you make plans for your Christmas vacation, consider obtaining a pre-loaded debit card not tied to any of your bank accounts back home. Always keep a small separate amount hidden somewhere on your person in case of emergency. Avoid carrying valuables including tablets, laptops or expensive cameras when out for the day.
Be wary of public Wi-Fi while on your vacation
When you use public Wi-Fi, hackers looking to steal valuable information can access your data including credit card information. If you do need wireless internet service, set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that will allow you to access the internet securely while travelling. You can learn how to stay safe or set up a VPN while using public Wi-Fi here.
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