Over 400 drowned off the Libyan coast
Over 400 migrants are feared to have drowned off the Libyan coast in an attempt to reach Italy. The boat, carrying over 550 migrants, capsized just 24 hours after leaving Libya. The Italian coast guard launched an immediate air and sea search operation after rescuing 150 people on Tuesday. The Italian spokesman of the International Organisation for Migration’s (IOM), Flavio Di Giacomo, said there were between 500 and 550 people on board when the ship sank. “We are continuing to investigate in order to understand how the shipwreck happened,” Mr Di Giacomo said. These deaths add to the heightened number of migrants lost at sea with the IOM has estimated that up to 3072 migrants are believed to have died in the Mediterranean in 2014.
Obama to take Cuba off terror list
The White House has announced it will remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in a bid to normalise relations between the two countries. Cuba will not be officially removed from the terror list for 45 days, to allow Congress to deliberate the President’s decision. “Cuba has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future,” President Obama said. The U.S. has long since stopped actively accusing Cuba of supporting terrorism. When Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a thaw in relations in December, the US president expressed his willingness to remove Cuba from that list. The historic talks marked the first formal meeting between the leaders of their countries in a half-century. Removing Cuba from the terror list could give the US the opportunity to open a US Embassy in Havana. Administration officials said they were optimistic about the prospects of opening the embassy, but did not provide any specific updates in timing.
First female ambassador is set to be appointed in Iran
Iran is set to appoint their first female ambassador since the Islamic revolution in 1979 and amid tight regulations that surround women. Marzieh Afkham is set to become the countries first female foreign minister, although her appointment is yet to be officially announced and her position is still unknown. Once appointed, Ms Afkham will be the second woman to be granted a government role in Iran. Regulations stand that women in Iran must seek the permission from their husband or legal custodian in order to travel overseas. Ms Afkham reportedly married last year.
Teachers at the centre of Americas largest cheating scandal jailed
Teachers of Atlanta’s public school were sentenced to prison after a widespread conspiracy to cheat on state tests. Investigators found that as far back as 2005, educators from the Atlanta school system gave answers to students or erased and changed answers on tests after they were turned in. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jerry Baxter called the case “the sickest thing that’s ever happened in this town”. Judge Baxter had delayed sentencing by a day after he encouraged all defendants to negotiate deals with the prosecution, however only two deals followed through. Five educators have received five-year sentences, two are serving time in prison and three of the educators have been granted one year imprisonment.
US soul singer Percy Sledge dies at 74
The man behind one of the most beloved songs When a Man Loves a Woman, Percy Sledge, has died at 74. Mr Sledge passed away in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The soul singer underwent surgery for liver cancer in January 2014, but resumed touring shortly after. In a career that started in the 1960s, Sledge had a number of hits, including Take Time to Know Her, Warm and Tender Love and It Tears Me Up among them. His first and biggest hit, When a Man Loves a Woman, towered over them all becoming a classic. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005, while Rolling Stone magazine put When a Man Loves a Woman at number 53 on its list of 500 greatest songs of all time. – Compiled from web sources by Kayla Burke
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