ROME – Two Italian ports faced an influx of hundreds of migrants Saturday, as a charity ship sailed toward a Sicilian port with 236 people rescued in the Mediterranean from traffickers' boats, while Italian coast guard and border police brought 532 others to a tiny island.
The maritime rescue group SOS Mediterranee said a ship it operates, Ocean Viking, pulled the migrants to safety four days ago from two rubber dinghies. Upon instructions from Italian authorities, the Ocean Viking was sailing to Augusta, Sicily, with its passengers, who it said included 119 unaccompanied minors.
SOS Mediterranee said some passengers told rescuers they were beaten by smugglers based in Libya and forced to embark on the unseaworthy dinghies despite high waves. Warmer weather in the spring often increases the number of vessels launched toward Europe by Libya-based migrant traffickers. Italy has been equipping and training the Libyan coast guard to rescue migrants in their search-and-rescue area and to discourage traffickers.
Diplomats split on Iran nuclear talks
High-ranking diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia and Britain made progress at talks Saturday focused on bringing the United States back into their landmark nuclear deal with Iran but said they need more work and time to bring about a future agreement.
After the meeting, Russia's top representative, Mikhail Ulyanov, tweeted that members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, “noted today the indisputable progress made at the Vienna talks on restoration of the nuclear deal.”
The three Western European countries involved in the talks struck a more restrained note.
“We have much work and little time left. Against that background, we would have hoped for more progress this week,” the senior diplomats said talking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to be publicly named.
World's workers rally on May Day
Workers and union leaders worldwide dusted off bullhorns and flags that had stayed furled during coronavirus lockdowns for slimmed down but still boisterous – and at times violent – May Day marches Saturday, demanding more labor protections amid a pandemic that has turned economies and workplaces upside down.
In countries that mark May 1 as International Labor Day, the annual celebration of workers' rights produced a rare sight during the pandemic: large and closely packed crowds, with marchers striding shoulder-to-shoulder with clenched fists behind banners.
In France, some marchers battled with riot police. In Turkey and the Philippines, police prevented the May Day protests, enforcing virus lockdowns and making hundreds of arrests.
Northern Japan hit with latest quake
A strong earthquake struck off northern Japan early Saturday, causing no risk of a tsunami but leaving three people injured and shaking buildings in Tokyo, authorities said.
Miyagi prefecture, in the country's rugged northeast, was heavily damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 18,000 people dead.
Late last month, another strong earthquake occurred off the coast of Miyagi prefecture, triggering a tsunami advisory for a part of the northern coast. No major damage was reported, but several people had minor injuries. In mid-February, another powerful quake in the region killed one person and left more than 180 injured, although most injuries were minor.