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Libya’s United Nations-backed prime minister has told Sky News that there could be an influx of more than 800,000 migrants from his country into Europe if the instability in his country continues.

Fayez al Sarraj, the prime minister of Libya is a very polite man, a trained architect who entered politics in his 50s but he is a man with a tough message and he’s not mincing his words right now.

We’re sitting in a meeting room inside the prime minister’s office in the capital – about seven miles (12km) away from the battlefronts raging on the edge of the city.

Fighters loyal to him are trying to stop an advancing self-styled army commanded by a warlord who was a General under the country’s former dictator, Colonel Gaddafi.

It is his first interview since Khalifa Heftar declared he was going to clear the capital of “terrorists” less than a fortnight ago.

Libyan forces are pushing back against former Libyan leader's allies to try and hold on to power
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Libyan forces are pushing back against former Libyan leader’s allies to try and hold on to power

The two men were meant to be sitting down talking peace right now in negotiations facilitated by the United Nations. Instead there’s frantic fighting on the perimeter of the city and thousands of civilians have fled their homes to escape the battling.

The prime minister runs the government in Tripoli, the authority in the west of Libya, which is recognised by the United Nations – while General Heftar has set up a rival administration in the east from his base in Benghazi. The idea of peace negotiations now seems very far off the mark.

“We still want peace,” Prime Minister Fayyaz al Serraj told us, “but if we are forced to fight, we are up for the fight. Talking about sitting around a negotiating table before the retreat of these aggressive forces, I think is not appropriate.

The Libyan Prime Minister warns nearly a million migrants could make their way over to Europe
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The Libyan prime minister warns nearly a million migrants could make their way over to Europe

“The international community must pressurise these forces and call it by its name and pressurise them to go back to where they came from.”

He chooses his words carefully.

The International Criminal Court has been gathering evidence of possible war crimes being committed on the capital by General Heftar’s men.

There has been attacks on schools, homes and offices – hit by rockets and bombs apparently dropped by the Heftar forces. The General has declared he’s clearing the capital of “terrorists”.

Libya has become a battleground
Image:
Libya has become a battleground

The prime minister claims this is a thinly-disguised military grab of power.

“Has Tripoli all of a sudden become a terrorist city?” he asks.

The UN secretary general was in the capital meeting him only about 12 days ago. “And are all its residents now terrorists? Are Abu Salim residents who were bombed yesterday now terrorists? Or those living in Ain Zara, or Sawani? Are all of these terrorists? Or are these crimes against humanity? Isn’t it time now to call it as it is?”

He wants the fighters who’re carrying out the attacks to be tried for crimes against humanity and for Khalifer Heftar to be held accountable.

Putting more pressure on the international community, the leader warned about a European migrant crisis.

Around 800,000 migrants have used the country’s instability to try and make their way to Europe, and now the prime minister warns the international community that they could make their way to Europe.

“But what’s going to happen with this security breakdown is that 800,000 illegal migrants on Libyan ground will have to leave Libya and will cross the sea towards Europe,” he said.

“Amongst these 800,000 there are terrorists and criminals. This will be disastrous”

800,000 migrants are in Libya attempting to reach Europe
Image:
800,000 migrants are in Libya attempting to reach Europe

He also won’t rule out getting military help from outside.

I ask him what he wants the international community to do.

He replies: “We speak about a political intervention. But when we see civilians targeted in their houses, hospital and schools – our electricity being cut because of destruction to our infrastructure – I think all means are possible for us to get the help of one of the parties to stop this assault.”

I press him three times on whether he means military help.

The PM claims opposition forces are attacking civilians
Image:
The PM claims opposition forces are attacking civilians

And three times he replies: “We hope it doesn’t reach that level, but the protection of civilians is a top priority.”

Civilians we’ve spoken to have spoken angrily about how they believe the West let Libya down after their intervention during the Arab Spring revolt which led to the toppling of their former leader, Colonel Muamar Gaddafi.

The country’s been in turmoil ever since.

“Yes, this is true. This is what happened in 2011,” the Libyan prime minister says. “The world has abandoned Libya and left it to suffer on its own and a lot of things have become complicated. And I fear that’s what’s happening will happen again and the world will abandon Libya again and it will go into another dark tunnel.

“Some are trying to portray this conflict as one between east and west; trying to recruit the tribal loyalty of some to this conflict but this is not true.

“Whats happening now is a conflict between who wants a civilian democratic state with an army which is under the control of a political authority – and who wants a military rule and a totalitarian ruling.”

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Unhatched birds can warn other eggs in nest of danger by vibrating | Science & Tech News

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Unhatched baby seabirds can warn each other of impending danger by vibrating within their shells, scientists have discovered.

A study of yellow-legged gull embryos, found they reacted to warning calls from a parent and even passed on the message to siblings who had not heard the call.

The researchers collected gull eggs and divided them into groups of three.

A week before hatching, two of the three eggs in each nest were temporarily removed and exposed to a recording of a predator alarm call.

The noise was delivered four times a day at random intervals for three minutes at a time until hatching.

The third egg from each group remained in the nest in silence.

All three eggs were then reunited and left to hatch.

It was found the embryos responded to the external alarm calls by vibrating more.

This information appeared to be passed on to the third egg which had not been directly exposed to the sounds and it then mimicked the vibrations.

Experts from the Animal Ecology Group at the University of Vigo in Spain discovered all the chicks underwent genetic changes that delayed hatch time.

There was also evidence of increased production of stress hormones which is known to make birds more aware of their surroundings after hatching.

The findings were published in the journal, Nature Ecology and Evolution.

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Bali arrests: Shackled Australians facing jail over ‘cocaine use’ | World News

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Two Australian men have been paraded in front of the media a week after being arrested in Bali on suspicion of cocaine use and possession.

Indonesian police are preparing to charge the pair and are currently searching for a third suspect after a series of drug raids in the village of Canggu, a popular nightclub area on the island of Bali.

The two men, who have been named as William Cabantong, 35, and David Van Iersel, 38, were led out in front of the media in hand and foot shackles, alongside local drug suspects.

Police acted on a tip-off, and said they found 1.12g of cocaine in the pockets of one of the men, as well as drug equipment including a set of broken scales.

The men bought 2g of cocaine for three million rupiahs (£172), according to police.

The pair have undergone days of interrogation and tests while in prison. Police say a blood test revealed that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel were cocaine users.

Denpasar police chief Ruddi Setiawan told reporters: “We advise tourists, locals, and foreigners to come here for a holiday, don’t come to have a drugs party or to use drugs.

“We will take firm action if any foreigners resist. We will not be lenient.”

The men are expected to be charged under Indonesian law 112, legislation which covers drug possession. The punishment carries a possible jail term of between four and 12 years, as well as a fine of 800 million rupiah (£45,000).

The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges
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The men hid their faces as they stood with others arrested on drug charges

It is understood that both Mr Cabantong and Mr Van Iersel worked as nightclub promoters whilst they lived in Australia before they travelled to Bali.

Indonesia is known for its strong penalties against those who commit drug offences. In 2017, Indonesian President Joko Widodo told police officers to shoot drug traffickers.

He said: “Be firm, especially to foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist arrest. Shoot them because we indeed are in a narcotics emergency position now.”

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Drug-resistant malaria strains spread through south east Asia | World News

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Strains of drug-resistant malaria are becoming more dominant in Vietnam, Laos and northern Thailand after spreading rapidly from Cambodia.

Malaria is caused by parasites which are carried by mosquitoes and spread through their blood-sucking bites.

And scientists have discovered a growing number of cases where the parasite has mutated making it resistant to drugs.

“We discovered (it) had spread aggressively, replacing local malaria parasites, and had become the dominant strain in Vietnam, Laos and northeastern Thailand,” said Roberto Amato, from the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Malaria can be successfully treated with medicines if it is caught early enough, but resistance to anti-malarial drugs is growing in many parts of the world, especially in south east Asia.

The first-line treatment for malaria in many parts of Asia in the last decade has been a combination of dihydroartemisinin and piperaquine, also known as DHA-PPQ.

Researchers found in previous work that a strain of malaria had evolved and spread across Cambodia between 2007 and 2013 that was resistant to both drugs.

This latest research, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, found it has crossed borders and tightened its grip.

“The speed at which these resistant malaria parasites have spread in south east Asia is very worrying,” said Olivo Miotto, who co-led the work.

“Other drugs may be effective at the moment but the situation is extremely fragile and this study highlights that urgent action is needed.”

Almost 220 million people were infected with malaria in 2017, according to World Health Organisation estimates, and the disease killed 400,000 of them.

The vast majority of cases and deaths are among babies and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

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