Italy boat sinking: Hundreds feared dead off Lampedusa 

At least 130 African migrants have died and many more are missing after a boat carrying them to Europe sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

A total of 103 bodies have been recovered and more have been found inside the wreck, coast guards say.

Passengers reportedly threw themselves into the sea when a fire broke out on board. More than 150 of the migrants have been rescued.

Most of those on board were from Eritrea and Somalia, said the UN.

The boat was believed to have been carrying up to 500 people at the time and some 200 of them are unaccounted for.

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Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos arrested 

Golden Dawn leader Nikolaos Michaloliakos arrested
Greek anti-terror police hold leader and senior members of far-right party on charges of forming a criminal organisation
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Helena Smith in Athens, Saturday 28 September 2013 13.28 BST

Greek police have mounted an unprecedented crackdown on the neo-fascist Golden Dawn party, arresting its leader, three MPs, and more than a dozen other key members.

As the prime minister, Antonis Samaras, held emergency talks on Saturday with his public order and justice ministers, Nikos Michaloliakos, the extremist organisation's enigmatic founder, was being held by counter-terror officers after a carefully orchestrated operation that began in the early hours of the morning.

The arrested officials will appear in court over the weekend on charges of forming a criminal organization, police said.

Emerging from the talks with Samaras, the justice minister, Charalambos Athanasiou, said: "Justice has moved with decisiveness and transparency. I want to say for all those who have been arrested if they are sent to trial there will be just justice."

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Impossible biographies  

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Detention center in Amygdaleza, just outside of Athens. Nikos Pilos


It was one of his usual journeys. Late every Thursday, Shehzad Luqman would bicycle through the streets of Athens to the house of a farmhand, a friend who would often give him fresh produce. On Jan. 17, Shehzad set out on his bike, met his friend, but never made it back. Residents along a portion of Shehzad’s regular route say they heard the sound of a crash, cries for help, and a motorbike speeding away. The 27-year-old Pakistani immigrant was dead; he had been stabbed in the chest by two neo-Nazis in their 20s dressed in black, according to eyewitness accounts. The next day, protestors laid siege to the city center. With Shehzad’s body in a wooden coffin in the middle of the throng, immigrants and Greeks protested side by side against the rising tide of xenophobia that has engulfed their country.

Shehzad, who came to Europe seeking a better future, was a casualty of the Greek economic crisis. Six years of negative growth have left the country devastated, its economy resembling that of a country at war. Unemployment, 11 percent in 2007, is now 30 percent—and it’s nearly double that for young Greeks.

All this has fueled anger in the streets and resentment especially toward immigrants who mop up the low-paying and few jobs that are available. Hate crimes are on the rise, making life for refugees and labor fleeing war zones or poverty in Asia and Africa even grimmer. In such circumstances, Shehzad’s killing was not unusual. “This attack was not an isolated case,” says Amnesty International’s Marek Marczynski. “We have seen a dramatic escalation of racially motivated attacks over the recent past.”

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The Transformation of the Summer Pasture: Geography, Migration, and Social Change in the Middle East 

The Transformation of the Summer Pasture: Geography, Migration, and Social Change in the Middle East

Chris Gratien, Ph.D. Candidate, Georgetown University

Summer is upon us and as in many summers past, millions will visit the various beaches of Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean shores in search of fun and sun at popular holiday destinations such as Bodrum, Ayvalık, Fethiye, and Kaş. The warm coasts of modern Turkey are increasingly a vacation destination for those looking near and far for excitement or relaxation. The phenomenon of beach culture and many of the things that come with it are historically recent on the global stage; yet, summer sojourns to alternative locations are nothing new. In fact, long before the beach resorts of Bodrum, swarms of seasonal travelers once flocked not towards but rather away from the coasts during the hot Mediterranean summers.

The summer destination of choice throughout the Ottoman period was of course the mountains, where cooler air promised health and respite from the scorching heat of the plains and coasts. While for well-to-do city-folk this might have been a trip to a summer home in the mountains, all segments of society participated in this seasonal migration. In particular, pastoralist communities would move their entire herds and property to a summer pasture referred to as a yaylak (or yayla), where they would set up camp until the passing of the hottest months allowed them to migrate back down to the grassy plains for winter grazing. This seasonally migratory pattern arose out of a symbiosis between geography, climate, and human activity that defined life and politics in many parts of the Anatolian countryside.

Changes in the political, economic, and technological contexts of human society have dramatically transformed the function of the yaylas that nonetheless continue to hold symbolic significance for many. The massive migrations of people and animals have become a thing of the past, and while this has meant an overall decrease in the geographical significance of highland plateaus, people continue to find new ways of making use of these spaces. This short essay offers a historical glimpse at summer pastures and the migrations they encouraged over the course of dramatic changes in ecology within Turkey over the past two centuries complete with a compilation of maps new and old.

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