The EU needs to find better answers on immigration as ending the Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue operation has not stopped desperate people from attempting this perilous journey.
Tragically, it’s Groundhog Day in the Mediterranean. Around 400 migrants are feared dead after drowning between Libya and Italy. And just two days ago, Italian coastguards rescued over 6,000 stricken migrants who had attempted to reach Europe from the north African coast.
Both scenarios are desperately familiar. The former echoes disasters in February 2015 and September 2014. And, in fact, most of last summer, which saw record numbers die in the Mediterranean.
Coverage of the latter could have been almost entirely copied from reports published 12 months ago to the week, when a similar number were hauled from the sea during the equivalent weekend of 2014.
There were some who hoped that 2015 might be different. Last autumn, the EU opted not to create a like-for-like replacement for Operation Mare Nostrum, a huge Italian-run search-and-rescue operation that saved up to 100,000 lives in the Mediterranean last year. In the words of one British minister, Baroness Anelay, Mare Nostrum created “an unintended ‘pull factor’, encouraging more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing and thereby leading to more tragic and unnecessary deaths”.
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Mostafa Hefny feels he's been black his whole life. The U.S. government doesn't agree.
Anyone who’s ever filled out a census document or taken the SATs is familiar with that odd moment when you have to bubble in your racial classification. For many, the choices are confusing, limiting, and problematic. In the end, each person bubbles in what they best feel represents their identity. But when Mostafa Hefny immigrated to the United States from Egypt in 1978, he didn’t get a say in that decision.
“The government [interviewer] said, ‘You are now white,” Hefny told CBS Detroit.
Since the 1980s, CBS reports, Henfy has been fighting to have the U.S. government reclassify him as black, which is how he’s always seen himself. “My classification as a white man takes away my black pride, my black heritage and my strong black identity,” Henfy told the Detroit News.
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Approximately three percent of Africa’s population have migrated internationally, many to Europe, North America and Australia. One health issue immigrants from Africa face is a stark decrease in the amount of vitamin D they get.
Much of Africa sits very close to the equator, getting intense year-round sun exposure, intense enough to stimulate vitamin D production in dark-skinned Africans. Because of this intense year-round sun exposure, Africans evolved to have dark skin to protect their bodies to a certain extent. Their skin color evolved in the African environment likely to strike a balance between fulfilling their vitamin D needs and protecting themselves from over-exposure.
When Africans emigrate away from Africa, suddenly their skin type no longer fits their environment. Their skin is designed to handle much more sun exposure, much more intense and frequent UV rays. The result is their skin-type overprotecting their skin and not allowing it to produce enough vitamin D. This is why the majority of immigrants and people of African descent are vitamin D deficient.
Recently, researchers in Australia wanted to get a sense of how aware immigrants were of vitamin D deficiency, if they knew they were at risk and what would entice them to actually correct their deficiency.
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