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More International In Brief

Published:Tuesday | September 16, 2014 | 9:00 AM

500 feared dead after boat rammed

GENEVA (AP): The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) says about 500 migrants are feared to have died after their boat was rammed and sank off the Malta coast last week.

IOM spokeswoman Christiane Berthiaume said yesterday that witnesses told the organisation that the boat left Damietta, Egypt, in early September with Syrians, Palestinians, Egyptians and Sudanese aboard. It sank last Wednesday, reportedly after a group of human traffickers rammed it with another boat.

Berthiaume told The Associated Press that two Palestinian survivors said there had been a violent confrontation between the migrants and the traffickers, who wanted to move everyone to one of their smaller vessels.

She says the traffickers "used one boat to knock the other" and that there were about nine known survivors in all.

Gov't dismisses call from opposition leader

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): Government has sought to downplay a call by Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley who has called on Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar and President Anthony Carmona to explain why the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF) reserves have been called out until early next year.

National Security Minister Gary Griffith has accused Rowley of creating instability and panic in the country, insisting that calling out reserves was nothing new and has been done for the past several years.

In a statement over the weekend, Rowley had said that neither President Carmona nor Prime Minister Persad Bissessar had informed the nation what "risk or real and present danger of a riot" was occurring in the nation that warranted the calling out of the reserves.

He said the in the proclamation issued by President Carmona, the reserves were also being asked to "assist the civil authority in providing security support for law enforcement activities throughout Trinidad and Tobago leading into and including the Christmas period, for the period August 29, 2014 to January 7, 2015".

Detroit joins list of immigrant-friendly cities

DETROIT (AP): The city of Detroit is joining a national initiative aimed at creating immigrant-friendly environments.

The Detroit Immigration Task Force plans to announce that Detroit will participate in 'Welcoming Cities & Counties'.

It joins New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities in the programme that also looks to maximise opportunities for economic growth through immigration.

Task force members include immigrant community leaders, non-profit service providers and immigration experts. The group has been working since January to draft a comprehensive city-wide plan to help Detroit become a diverse, inclusive and global city.

City Councilwoman Raquel Castaneda-Lopez says, "Detroit's immigrants historically played a key role in making the city one of the greatest in the world."