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Nepali asylum seekers opt to return home after 19 months on a Micronesian island

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At least seven Nepali men have decided to return home after 19 months of detention in a Micronesian island while they were attempting to reach Australia, New Zealand or the United States unlawfully.

Sixteen Nepali men and 18 Indian men were detained at a wharf in Yap since the boat they were travelling on was detained in November 2014, ABC Online reported.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said seven of the Nepalese men would now return home.

According to the reports, when they landed on Yap, one of the Federated States of Micronesia in the north-western Pacific Ocean, they told local police they were hoping to reach Australia, New Zealand or the United States.

They have been detained ever since on a Yap wharf in conditions described by locals as “dire”.

A local clam farmer, Australian citizen Phillipe Dor, said at the time the boat’s crew said they were sent there, with the guidance of GPS, by Indonesian people smugglers who assured them they would be taken from Yap to Australia or elsewhere.

Philip Raffilpiy of the IOM’s office in Yap said the Nepali men who had opted to return home had done so of their own will.

“It appears they’re in a very clear state of mind, they know what they’re doing,” he told Pacific Beat.

“I would not say more on that because they have been here for over a year and maybe they’re stressed and tired of being here and it may have helped them make the decision.”

Mr Raffilpiy said the rest of the Nepali men were reluctant to leave.

The process of determining whether the Nepali men were genuine refugees was still ongoing, he said.

He said moves were also underway to repatriate the Indian men, with the assistance of the Indian Government, which was providing passports and coordinating travel arrangements with Micronesian officials.

“It is the Government of India’s [will] that all those from India should go back,” Mr Raffilpiy said.

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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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