Daily World News Digest, 30 November 2016

Migrant boat traffic from Libya to Europe is surging and turning deadlier

The Washington Post reports today that the number of migrants heading to Italy from Libya in leaky boats and inflatable dinghies has broken an annual arrivals record, according to Italian authorities. The number of boat migrants reaching Italy from North Africa this year surpassed 171,000, topping the previous record of 170,100, set in 2014, the Italian Interior Ministry said Monday. But 2016 is also the most lethal year for those trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. So far, 4,690 people have died en route, compared with 3,771 deaths for all of last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency. http://wapo.st/2gES2g8        

Mexican archdiocese closes missing persons registry

The Catholic News Agency, from the US, published an article yesterday about the Archbishop of Guadalajara in Mexico announcing that his diocese is calling off its distribution of a list of missing persons, because of fears of retaliation against family and friends of those who have gone missing in the Mexican state of Jalisco. “The people, because of fear, do not want their names to appear,” Cardinal José Francisco Robles Ortega explained in a statement on the archdiocese’s decision. http://bit.ly/2gF1Erl 

Mass abduction reported in Iraq 

BuzzFeed carried a story yesterday describing the experience of villagers who returned to their homes in the summer after large parts of Anbar Province were liberated from so-called Islamic State by forces loyal to the Iraqi government. It describes an incident in which more than 1,250 men of military age were rounded up by the government forces and taken away. Those left behind were suspicious, pleading with the soldiers for information. “We asked, ‘Where are you going to take them?’” said Nidhal Ali, who watched her husband and hundreds of other men being taken away. “They said, ‘Don’t worry. We’re just going to check their names on the computer.’” But Ali said her husband knew it was the end, that he would probably never see his wife and kids again. “Take care of the children” was the last thing the 35-year-old Iraqi farmer told his wife before he was taken away. That was nearly six months ago, and she has not heard from him since. Along with the rest of the men, he was disappeared, in what appears to be the largest mass abduction in Iraq’s recent history. http://bzfd.it/2gwbyIL

Genome sequencing moves from lab to clinical practice

The Financial Times carried an article today about applications of genomics — reading and analysing the DNA that stores genetic information in all living cells —moving from lab research into clinical practice for diagnosis and therapy, as a range of “next generation sequencing” technologies helps to cut costs and improve performance. “Genome sequencing is already changing the face of medicine, making possible more accurate and personalised treatments,” said Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, the largest UK bioscience charity. http://on.ft.com/2gsTWxu

Plague pit with skeletons of 48 Black Death victims found in England 

The Independent carries an article today about a plague pit containing the skeletons of 48 Black Death victims, including 21 children, discovered at the site of a 14th century monastery hospital. The macabre find in Thornton Abbey, near Immingham in North Lincolnshire, was discovered by a team from Sheffield University. The presence of such a large burial site – which included both male and female adults as well as the children – suggests the community was overwhelmed by Black Death and left unable to cope with the number of people who died, they said. http://ind.pn/2guRTsT

Items in Daily World News Digest are summaries of published reports relevant to the issue of missing persons, compiled by ICMP staff.  These items do not necessarily reflect the position of ICMP.