TIME Military

Retired Generals Wage Letter War Over Iran Nuclear-Deal Vote

Controversial Heavy Water Plant Nears Completion In Iran
Majid Saeedi / Getty Images The Obama Administration argues Iran's Arak nuclear facility won't be capable of producing fuel for nuclear weapons under the proposed deal.

The Pentagon's new dead-letter office

Last week, nearly 40 retired U.S. generals and admirals urged Congress to endorse the deal the U.S. and five other nations have struck with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions. “We, the undersigned retired military officers, support the agreement as the most effective means currently available to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” they wrote.

The other side, nearly 200 strong, lobbed a return brass barrage Wednesday. “In our judgment as former senior military officers,” they said, the deal “would threaten the national security and vital interests of the United States and, therefore, should be disapproved by the Congress.”

Sure, brigades of special interests, including arms-control organizations, foreign-policy shops and even rabbis have been urging Congress to vote the pact up or down. But these ex-military officers are different, aren’t they? They spent their careers fretting over national security. Maybe that’s why, if you doubt the deal makes sense, you squirmed over last week’s letter. But you cheered this week’s, with five times as many signatures.

What’s a poor fence-sitting American to think? Not much, according to a sampling of retired general officers. “Having signed neither is about all I wish to say about this sort of thing,” says one former four-star, although he declined to say so on the record. “Those with the most insights and knowledge of the deal,” adds another, also speaking privately, “were not among the signatories.”

“I’m convinced that 90% of the guys who signed the letter one way or the other don’t have any clue about whether it’s a good or bad deal,” says Anthony Zinni, a retired four-star Marine officer who says he refused requests from both sides to sign their letters. “They sign it because somebody’s asked them to sign it.”

So how would he vote? Zinni says he can’t say, because he hasn’t had the closed-door intelligence briefings offered to lawmakers that he says would answer his two critical questions:

First, how airtight is the inspection regime? The more intrusive the inspections, the better the deal for the U.S. and its negotiating allies.

Secondly, how united are the allies in re-imposing economic sanctions if Iran is found to be cheating? The weaker the prospect of future sanctions, the worse the deal is for Washington.

“Everyone is speculating on worst case or best case,” says Zinni, who oversaw U.S. military dealings with Iran from 1997 to 2000 as chief of U.S. Central Command. “The guys who like the deal are saying `It’ll all work!’,” he says. Among those signing are Marine general James Cartwright (vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, 2007-2011), Marine general Joseph Hoar (chief of Central Command, 1991-1994) and Air Force general Merrill McPeak (Air Force chief of staff, 1990-1994).

“Those who oppose it,” Zinni adds, “are saying `They can cheat here, and here, and there!’” Opponents include Navy admiral Leon Edney (vice chief of naval operations, 1988-1990), Navy admiral Timothy Keating (chief of U.S. Pacific Command, 2007-2009) and Air Force general William Bigert (commander, Pacific Air Forces, 2001-2004)

Their views, Zinni argues, are driven largely by their politics. “It’s basically a Democrat-Republican issue,” he says. Like the lawmakers they are trying to influence, the signers who oppose the deal tend to be conservative. Those supporting it lean liberal (at least for retired military officers). It’s no surprise the generals against the deal outnumber those who support it. Surveys show that conservative military officers handily outnumber their liberal comrades.

“The agreement’s fine, if you think it can work. But if this is a Neville Chamberlain,” Zinni adds, citing the British Prime Minister who signed a peace pact with Adolf Hitler shortly before World War II, “then you’re in a world of shit.”

TIME weather

Tropical Storm Erika Kills 4 People in Dominica

Tropical Storm Erika is pictured in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Venezuela in this NASA handout satellite photo
NASA/Reuters Tropical Storm Erika is pictured in the Atlantic Ocean northeast of Venezuela in this NASA handout satellite photo on Aug. 26, 2015.

The storm caused blackouts and took out water supplies on the island

(ROSEAU, Dominica) — Streets across Dominica turned into fast-flowing rivers that swept up cars as Tropical Storm Erika pummeled the eastern Caribbean island, unleashing landslides and killing at least four people.

The storm, which forecasters said could reach Florida as a hurricane on Monday, knocked out power and water supplies on Dominica as it dumped 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain on the small island and headed west into the Caribbean Sea.

An elderly blind man and two children were killed when a mudslide crashed into their home in the southeast of the island, said Police Superintendent Daniel Carbon. Another man was found dead near his home in the capital of Roseau after a mudslide, but the cause of death was could not be immediately determined, Carbon told The Associated Press.

Police said another 20 people have been reported missing.

Erika was centered about 175 miles (280 kilometers) west of Guadeloupe, and was moving west at 15 mph (24 kph) with maximum sustained winds that had slipped slightly to 45 mph (75 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Erika was expected to move near Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Thursday and be near or just north of the Dominican Republic on Friday as it heads toward Florida early next week, possibly as a hurricane.

Chris Landsea, a meteorologist at the hurricane center, said the storm could dissipate if it passed over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico or it could gather and pose a potential threat to Florida next week. “The uncertainties are very high,” he said.

As the storm entered the Caribbean, it did the heaviest damage to Dominica, an island of about 72,000 people of lush forests and steep terrain. Authorities were still conducting a full damage assessment after rivers surged over their banks and walls of mud surged into homes.

About 80 percent of the island was without electricity, and water supply was cut off, authorities said. Trees and light poles were strewn across streets as water rushed over parked cars and ripped the scaffolding off some buildings. The main airport was closed due to flooding, with water rushing over at least one small plane.

The main river that cuts through the capital overflowed its banks and surging water crashed into the principal bridge that leads into Roseau.

“The capital city is a wreck,” policewoman Teesha Alfred said. “It is a sight to behold. It’s a disaster.”

Erika was likely to hit the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, said chief forecaster James Franklin at the National Hurricane Center.

“That would certainly not be good news for Hispaniola,” he said. “They’re very vulnerable to flooding. And even if Erika is a weak system that could be very bad there.”

Officials shuttered schools, government offices and businesses across the region and warned of flash flooding because of dry conditions caused by the worst drought to hit the Caribbean in recent years. Authorities warned power and water service might be temporarily cut off.

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said the storm could bring badly needed rains to the parched U.S. territory.

“We’re happy given the dry conditions, but it does highlight the need to be on alert,” he said, adding that heavy downpours could lead to flash floods. He activated the National Guard as a precaution.

The heaviest rains were expected to hit Puerto Rico’s eastern region, with the storm expected to pass about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of the island overnight Thursday, said Odalys Martinez, with the National Weather Service in San Juan.

Erika is expected to dump between 4 to 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain across the region, with up to 12 inches (31 centimeters) in some areas.

Dozens of flights were canceled in the region, and the U.S. Coast Guard closed all ports in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Ignacio strengthened into a hurricane. The storm’s maximum sustained winds increased Thursday morning to 90 mph (150 kph).

Hurricane Ignacio was centered about 1,135 miles (1,825 kilometers) east-southeast of Hilo, Hawaii, and was moving west-northwest near 13 mph (20 kph).

Also in the Pacific, a new tropical storm formed Thursday morning. Tropical Storm Jimena had maximum sustained winds near 45 mph (75 kph) and was expected to strengthen to a hurricane Friday. Jimena was centered about 890 miles (1,430 kilometers) south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula.

___

Coto reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press reporters Ben Fox and Tony Winton in Miami contributed to this report.

TIME A Year In Space

How Astronauts Dock at the Space Station

Need a lift? A Souyz spacecraft after undocking from the space station on June 11, 2015
NASA Need a lift? A Souyz spacecraft after undocking from the space station on June 11, 2015

A wee-hours maneuver of a Soyuz spacecraft is critical for keeping things safe

One of the trickiest questions for a Soyuz spacecraft approaching the International Space Station (ISS) is where to park. The ISS may be larger than a football field, but it’s got only so many ways to get inside, and with crewed spacecraft and uncrewed cargo ships regularly shuttling up and down, docking ports—or at least the right docking port—can be at a premium.

In the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 28, space station astronaut Scott Kelly, along with cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Gennady Padalka, will be required to do a bit of delicate flying to sort just that kind of problem out.

The three crewmen arrived at the station on March 29, with Padalka slated to spend six months aloft, and Kelly and Kornienko scheduled for a marathon one year in space. They docked their Soyuz spacecraft at the station’s Poisk module—a 16-ft. (4.8 m) Russian node that was added to the ISS in 2009 as a science lab, observation point and egress compartment for astronauts embarking on spacewalks. It’s remained there ever since, and that’s a concern.

The five-plus months the ship has been hanging off the station in the alternating searing heat and deep freeze of orbital space can take its toll on the hardware, and since the crews rely on the ships as their way back to Earth, NASA and the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, instituted a rule: 180 days is the maximum amount of time a Soyuz can remain aloft before detaching and returning to Earth. But Kelly and Kornienko are set to stay for 365 days—which complicates their ride home.

MORE: TIME is producing a series of documentary films about the record-breaking mission to space. Watch them here.

Their Soyuz is not the only one that’s on hand. There’s another one for the other three crewmembers who are currently aboard. (Another NASA-Roscosmos rule: there must always be enough seats for everyone to be able to bail out immediately in the event of an emergency.) And on September 2, a third ship, carrying three more crew members, is set to arrive for a changeover of personnel. Not all docking nodes are equal—the Poisk is a better target since it faces Earth—and that requires a little juggling. Mission rules—to say nothing of basic physics—make the job a delicate one.

At 3:09 AM EDT, the complete Padalka-Kornienko-Kelly team will climb fully suited into their Soyuz. Technically, it does not take all three men to do the job. Padalka, who is one of the most experienced Soyuz pilots extant, has joked that he could fly the thing with two cabbages in the other seats. But in the event of Soyuz emergency requiring an immediate reentry, all three men must be aboard—lest a solitary pilot come home, leaving five people aboard the ISS and only three seats on the remaining Soyuz.

The crew will then undock from the Poisk and re-dock to the nearby Zvezda module, or service module—a straight distance of only a few dozen yards. But these kinds of orbital maneuvers require care, with both the station and the Soyuz orbiting the Earth at 17,133 mph (27,572 k/h) but moving just a few feet or inches at a time relative to each other.

“They’ll undock, then back out 200 meters or so,” says NASA TV commentator and overall space station authority Rob Navias. “Then they’ll fly around to the back end of the service module, do a lateral translation, fly retrograde, then move in for a docking at the aft end of the module.” If that sounds like an awfully complicated way to say, essentially, that they’ll back up, turn around and pull in at another door, it’s less techno-babble than it is a reflection of the complexity of even the most straightforward maneuvers in space.

Two of the newly arriving crew members will be only short-timers, staying on the station for just 10 days. They’ll then fly home with Padalka in the older ship, leaving the fresh one for Kelly, Kornienko and another crew member six months later.

The ISS may be the most complicated job site on—or off—the planet, but it’s one that could proudly display a sign reading “14 years without an accident.” Playing by all the workplace safety rules will help keep that record going.

TIME A Year In Space

See the Best Photos From an Astronaut’s Fifth Month in Space

Astronaut Scott Kelly just passed the five-month mark in his yearlong stay aboard the Space Station. Here is a collection of the best photos he's snapped so far

TIME is following Kelly’s mission in the new series, A Year In Space. Watch the first two episodes here.

MORE: See more photographs from Scott Kelly’s yearlong mission in space here.

TIME

This is What Killed Knut the Polar Bear

Vanity Fair Knut the Polar Bear on the cover of Vanity Fair

The four-year-old bear died in March 2011 after suffering an apparent seizure

(BERLIN) — The sudden death four years ago of Knut, the celebrity Berlin Zoo polar bear who ended up on the cover of Vanity Fair, shocked his fans around the world and posed a riddle for veterinarians anxious to keep other animals from suffering the same fate.

What killed Knut?

The answer turned out to be even more useful than scientists could have hoped for.

Researchers in Germany said Thursday they have found the cause of Knut’s untimely demise — and the discovery may help raise awareness of a condition that affects humans, possibly saving lives.

The four-year-old bear died in March 2011 after suffering an apparent seizure and collapsing into his enclosure’s pool in front of hundreds of visitors at the Berlin Zoo. His short life came as a surprise — polar bears can live for up to 20 years in the wild and sometimes longer in captivity.

A necropsy quickly established that Knut suffered from encephalitis, a swelling of the brain. Initially, scientists thought the inflammation had been caused by an infection, but that theory was later discounted.

“At the beginning of 2014, we had basically exhausted every option,” said Alex Greenwood of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, which led much of the initial research into Knut’s death. Greenwood said his team shelved their samples, figuring it might take decades to figure out why Knut died.

Then they got a call from Harald Pruess, a neurologist at Berlin’s Charite hospital and a researcher at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Pruess said he noticed that Knut’s case showed similarities to some of his human patients who suffered from anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The autoimmune disease, in which the body attacks its own brain cells, was only discovered in humans eight years ago and never previously found in animals.

“It was a bit of a long shot, but after six or eight weeks we saw that it really was that,” Greenwood told The Associated Press.

Had Knut’s keepers known what their star attraction was suffering from, he likely could have been treated, said Greenwood.

Humans with the condition are given cortisone, a drug that suppresses the immune system until the body can recover. In most cases they are able to return to a normal life, though some suffer from memory problems and have difficulty concentrating.

Pruess, the neurologist, said Knut’s case may help raise awareness of what is still a relatively unknown illness in humans. The disease, which affects at least one in 200,000 people each year and often involves sudden behavioral changes, can be detected with a simple procedure.

Greenwood said Knut’s misfortune — he might have survived if he hadn’t fallen into the water — was a stroke of luck for scientists.

“It’s just for us incredible that the most famous bear in the world dies and it turns out to be the first description of this disease,” said Greenwood. “The knowledge gained from his death should benefit both human medicine, because people will know the Knut disease and be more aware of it, and animal medicine.”

Their research was published Thursday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

TIME energy

The ‘Fusion Engine’ Could Become a Reality Before 2020

"I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source"

Fusion has always been maligned by the old joke that it is a breakthrough technology that is just 20 years away…and always will be. Indeed, fusion energy has failed to materialize despite decades of hype. Although the idea has repeatedly disappointed, the concept of generating energy from fusion is still around as companies like Lockheed Martin, Lawrenceville Plasma, Tri Alpha and Helion Energy are developing their own fusion reactors.

Fusion is a basically a process through which the heated ions collide and fuse together by releasing an enormous amount of energy which is almost 4 times the intensity of a nuclear fission reaction. Another advantage of a fusion reaction is that it is much cleaner and safer when compared to a fission reaction.

There have been some promising developments in the field of nuclear fusion in last few years.

Lockheed Martin, the U.S. defense giant, has been one of the front runners in an effort to successfully develop and commercialize the nuclear fusion reaction as it has been working on a ‘compact fusion’ reactor that might be capable of powering commercial ships, power stations and air travel in the near future. Helion Energy is another company that has been in news thanks to the fresh round of funding for its own fusion reactor.

Helion Energy raised close to $10 million in a recent funding round that took place in July 2015. This was disclosed by Helion through a filing with Securities and Exchange Commission. This funding would enable the Redmond-based group to build its own fusion reactor for generating massive amounts of clean power.

What is interesting is the fact that the company further intends to raise more than $21 million by continuing the current raising. Helion is working on a ‘Magneto-Inertial’ fusion process which combines the heat of pulsed inertial fusion and the stable nature of steady magnetic fusion. Helion claims that this combination creates a ‘system’ which is cheaper and smaller than other fusion reactors such as the one being developed by Lockheed Martin.

As the company gears up to perform further tests and experiments, it’s CEO, David Kirtley, has indicated that Helion would be able to develop its fusion machine by 2016 at an expected cost of $35 million. He further claims that Helion could build commercial fusion systems by year 2020 at a cost of $200 million.

Detailed Plan or a ‘Pipe dream’?

Calling its creation “The Fusion Engine,” Helion Energy’s system would heat helium and deuterium from seawater as plasma and then compress it to achieve fusion temperature (greater than 100 million degrees) using magnetic fields. Although this seems to be a perfect technological innovation, there is still a lot to be done as far as getting the fusion engine to hold up under strict field tests. The size of these reactors, for example, is still a drawback as they are bulky and occupy a lot of space.

“I would like nuclear fusion to become a practical power source. It would provide an inexhaustible supply of energy, without pollution or global warming,” said the world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking. If there are timely innovations in field of superconductors, batteries and materials that facilitate a compact and a more efficient fusion reactor, that could be enough to make fusion energy viable. The technology that is available today can only produce a Helion ‘fusion engine’ which is capable of producing commercial energy of around 50 megawatts.

Still, there have been many promises before. We should await more permanent proof that the scientists can overcome the significant engineering obstacles in their way. But, unlike in the past, there are now a range of private companies and venture capital in the space, no doubt a development that bodes well for the technology’s eventual commercialization.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com

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TIME Africa

How to Buy an Ethical Diamond

The diamond industry is still tainted by conflict, but it's possible to buy a jewel that helps people—instead of hurting them

As I write in the cover story in this week’s TIME International, blood diamonds still exist, and the industry as a whole is still beset by problems over conflict, smuggling and child labor. Even worse, because the existing Kimberley Process certification system has so many loopholes, it can be almost impossible to be sure that your diamond isn’t tainted. But if you’re in the market for an engagement or wedding ring, there are ways to ensure that your money is more likely to help miners on the ground in countries like the Congo than it is to hurt them. Here is a checklist to make sure your lifetime investment doesn’t mean a lifetime of poverty and suffering for someone else:

Ask your jeweler where the diamonds were mined. A responsible jeweler will know every step in the path from mine to market. If he doesn’t, move on.

Demand details. Don’t settle for vague assurances about reputable suppliers or Kimberly Process certification—the KP does not ban diamonds that fund war crimes and human rights abuses by government forces. Nor does it address unfair labor practices or environmental degradation brought about by irresponsible diamond mining.

Avoid diamonds that come from countries like Zimbabwe and Angolab, where human rights abuses in and around mines have been well documented by organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

Look for diamonds mined in Canada. They may be more expensive, but labor and environmental standards are rigorously enforced. That said, buying Canadian diamonds doesn’t help African countries improve their industries. Consider donating to organizations like Diamond Development Initiative International, a group that’s working to support small-scale diamond operations around the world.

In Africa, Namibia and Botswana are another good bet. Those countries work with small-scale miners as well as large-scale industry to make sure that income from mining creates jobs and leads to development. Both countries enforce strict labor and environmental standards. Sierra Leone is going in that direction, though the recent Ebola outbreak has temporarily set progress back.

Recycle. Look for vintage or antique rings. A good jeweler can reset, or even recut, an old stone to make a modern ring. They may have had bloody beginnings, but at least its over.

Don’t stop with the diamonds. Check the origin of your gold as well. Gold mining leaves toxic wastes like mercury and cyanide which are very damaging for the environment and the people who mine it. Opt for recycled gold, or Fair trade gold.

TIME conflict

This Graphic Shows How Blood Diamonds Arrive in the U.S.

There are many loopholes in the global supply chain

The diamond industry created the Kimberley Process in 2003 to reassure consumers that their gemstones had not been used to finance conflicts.

But while the Kimberley Process removed some conflict diamonds from the market, many still slip through loopholes along the supply chain, as detailed in the TIME article Blood Diamonds. Another problem is that the Kimberley Process’ narrow definition of “conflict diamond” does not include some of the practices in diamond mining and sale that consumers find troubling, including environmental degradation, child labor, worker exploitation and state-sanctioned violence. That allows for unethically sourced gems to end up in stores in the U.S.

This graphic shows how conflict diamonds can easily become part of the global supply chain:

blood.diamond

Read Next: TIME’s Report on Blood Diamonds

TIME China

Giant Sinkhole Swallows 5 Pedestrians in China

It was not immediately clear what caused the sidewalk to collapse

(BEIJING) — A sinkhole in a northeastern Chinese city swallowed five people in a dramatic scene that was captured on security video and shared widely on Chinese social media.

A provincial broadcaster said four people were injured in the Saturday incident in the provincial capital of Harbin.

The surveillance camera video shows pedestrians walking or standing on the sidewalk when it suddenly gave in.

Three people fell straight into the hole, while a woman clung to pipes just underneath the sidewalk. Another person standing on the edge fell sideways into the hole.

Heilongjiang Network Broadcasting Television said the people were probably waiting for a bus because it occurred at a bus stop. The bus sign also was swallowed by the sinkhole, the broadcaster said.

Passers-by pulled the victims from the hole, which was about 3 meters (10 feet) deep, the broadcaster said.

It said four received minor injuries to their feet, legs, arms and shoulders.

It was not immediately clear what caused the sidewalk to collapse.

TIME Austria

More than 20 Migrant Bodies Found in Truck in Austria

The truck could contain as many as 50 bodies

(PARNDORF, Austria) — Austrian police on Thursday discovered the badly decomposing bodies of at least 20 — and possibly up to 50 — migrants stacked in a truck parked on the shoulder of the main highway from Budapest to Vienna.

The shocking find came as Austria hosted a summit in Vienna on Europe’s refugee crisis for Western Balkan nations, which have been overwhelmed this year by the tens of thousands of migrants trying to get into Europe via their territory.

Police ordered reporters at the scene 25 miles (40 kilometers) southeast of Vienna to move away from the vehicle, a white refrigeration truck with pictures of chicken on it. The truck, with all the bodies still inside, was later taken away to a secure location so forensic experts could better examine it.

The state of the bodies on a hot summer day made establishing the identities and even the exact number of dead migrants difficult, but the total number could rise to 50, said Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of the Burgenland police.

Police spokesman Helmut Marban said police stopped shortly before noon Thursday thinking that the parked truck had some mechanical trouble. Then they “saw blood dripping” from the vehicle and “noticed the smell of dead bodies,” he said.

The truck was apparently abandoned Wednesday and its back door was left open, Doskozil said. It had Hungarian license plates but the writing on its side and back was in Slovak. The state of the bodies suggested the migrants could have been dead for several days.

Police said the investigation could last for days. They declined to give further information on the victims’ possible identities, whether children were among them, how the migrants may have died or other details.

Government officials and rights groups condemned the traffickers.

“Human smugglers are criminals,” said Austrian Foreign Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. “Those who still think that they are gentle helpers of refugees are beyond saving.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the refugee crisis conference, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann said the deadly tragedy showed how critical it was for nations to work together on solutions to the influx of migrants.

“Today refugees lost the lives they had tried to save by escaping, but lost them in the hand of traffickers,” he told reporters.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was also at the summit, said she was “shaken by the awful news that up to 50 people lost their lives on their way to look for more security.”

“This reminds us that we in Europe need to tackle the problem quickly and find solutions in the spirit of solidarity,” she said.

The truck apparently used to belong to the Slovak chicken meat company Hyza, part of the Agrofert Holding, which is owned by the Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis.

Agrofert Holding, in a statement, said they had sold the truck in 2014. The new owners did not remove the truck’s logos as required and Hyza has nothing to do with the truck now, the company said.

On one side of the truck was the slogan “Honest chicken,” while writing on the back read “I taste so good because they feed me so well.”

The Hungarian government said the truck’s license number plates were registered by a Romanian citizen in the central city of Kecskemet.

Migrants fleeing war and poverty from the Middle East, Africa and Asia are flocking to Europe by the hundreds of thousands this year.

Many follow the Balkans route, from Turkey to Greece by sea, up north to Macedonia by bus or foot, by train through Serbia and then walking the last few miles into EU member Hungary. That avoids the more dangerous Mediterranean Sea route from North Africa to Italy, where the bodies of 51 migrants were found Wednesday in the hull of a smugglers’ boat rescued off Libya’s northern coast.

Once inside, the 28-nation EU, most migrants seek to reach richer nations such as Germany, The Netherlands,Austria or Sweden.

Hungarian police said they detained 3,241 migrants on Wednesday, over 700 more than a day earlier and the highest number so far this year. The Hungarian government is quickly finishing a razor-wire border fence to keep the migrants from crossing from Serbia.

Amnesty International alleged that EU indecisiveness was partly to blame for the latest migrant tragedy.

“People dying in their dozens – whether crammed into a truck or a ship – en route to seek safety or better lives is a tragic indictment of Europe’s failures to provide alternative routes,” said a statement from the rights group. “Europe has to step up and provide protection to more, share responsibility better and show solidarity to other countries and to those most in need.”

___

George Jahn in Vienna, David Rising in Berlin, Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary, and Karel Janicek in Prague contributed.

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