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At least 37 dead as migrant boat sinks off Turkey

Gorkha Post

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AYVACIK — The Turkish coastguard on Saturday recouped the bodies of women and children washed up on a beach after yet another migrant boat sank while trying to reach Europe, leaving at least 37 dead.

In harrowing scenes reminiscent of the death of Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler photographed lying dead on a Turkish beach in September, the body of a small child could be seen among those strewn over a beach near the town of Ayvacik in north-western Canakkale province.

A Turkish official said the Turkish coastguard recovered 37 bodies. In an earlier statement the coastguard said 75 people had been rescued.

Photos showed the dead child dressed in dark trousers and a blue top, face covered with a small hat. In another image, a Turkish gendarme is seen lowering the body of an older child into a body bag.

A number of other children also drowned after the boat ferrying them and their families — some from Syria, others from Afghanistan and Myanmar — to the nearby Greek island of Lesbos sank just off the Turkish coast.

The incident comes two days after 25 migrants, including 10 children, drowned off the Greek island of Samos.

The coastguard also said it could not give an exact number of asylum seekers in the boat based on the testimony of the rescued people.

The capsized boat was visible around 50 metres from the shore, where divers from the coastguard were still searching for the missing. Military police in green berets placed bodies in bags to be taken to a morgue.

Life jackets and other refugees’ belongings were seen dotted across the beach.

The drownings continue a grim trend that accelerated last year when nearly 4,000 people died trying to reach Europe by sea, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

The influx, which has been fuelled by Syria’s civil war, has continued throughout the winter.

During the first 28 days of 2016, a further 244 asylum seekers died at sea, with at least a dozen more dying on land, the IOM said.

Turkey, which is hosting at least 2.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war, has become the main launchpad for migrants fleeing war, persecution and poverty to Europe.

The Turkish Government struck a deal with the EU in November to halt the outflow of refugees, in return for 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in financial assistance, but the agreement has failed to check the migrant tide.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday that with 2,000 new asylum seekers entering the Balkans on their journey to northern Europe every day the EU “urgently” needed to implement its side of the agreement.

Italy has however questioned how much of the money should come from the EU budget, and how much control the bloc will have over how Ankara spends the funds.

AFP

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Health

Regular bedtime beneficial for heart and metabolic health among older adults

Raghu Kshitiz

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KATHMANDU — Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But a new study on sleep patterns has suggested that a regular bedtime and wake time are just as important for heart and metabolic health among older adults too.

Researchers at Duke Health and the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a study of 1,978 older adults, have found that people with irregular sleep patterns weighed more, had higher blood sugar, higher blood pressure, and a higher projected risk of having a heart attack or stroke within 10 years than those who slept and woke at the same times every day.

The study  was published Sept 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

“From our study, we can’t conclude that sleep irregularity results in health risks, or whether health conditions affect sleep,” said study’s lead author Jessica Lunsford-Avery.

“Perhaps all of these things are impacting each other.”

African-Americans had the most irregular sleep patterns compared to participants who were white, Chinese-American or Hispanic, the data showed.

Still, the data suggest tracking sleep regularity could help identify people at risk of disease, and where health disparities may impact specific groups.

Irregular sleepers were also more likely to report depression and stress than regular sleepers, both of which are tied to heart health.

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