World Briefs: 3,740 refugees died crossing Mediterranean

3,740 refugees died crossing Mediterranean

GENEVA • At least 3,740 refugees and migrants have died in the Mediterranean so far this year, nearly matching the death toll for all of last year when three times as many people took to the seas, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said yesterday.

UNHCR spokesman William Spindler voiced alarm at the high death toll among the 327,800 people crossing this year, against 3,771 who died among more than one million last year. He said the death rate is by far the worst seen in the Mediterranean.


World's oldest library going digital

RABAT • A ninth-century library in Morocco, widely believed to be the oldest in the world, is going digital to make its ancient treasures available to a wider audience.

The al-Qarawiyyin library in the former Moroccan capital, Fez, has some of the rarest manuscripts in the world, with access limited to just the curator in some special cases.

A new laboratory to oversee the protection and digitalising of the 4,000 manuscripts has scanned around 20 per cent of them with machinery also able to identify holes in the ancient rolls that need repairing.


BA flight diverted after crew fall ill

TORONTO • A British Airways (BA) flight from San Francisco to London was diverted to Vancouver after 25 cabin crew became unwell, the airline said yesterday.

British Airways spokesman Michele Kropf said the crew were admitted to local hospitals as a precaution but had now been discharged. She said no passengers were taken to hospital. Ms Kropf said the crew had not been treated for smoke inhalation, as reported earlier by CBC News.

BA did not comment on the cause of the problem.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2016, with the headline 'World Briefs'. Print Edition | Subscribe