Melbourne boy with bloody feet heads home

A teenager has left hospital in a wheelchair three days after tiny sea crustaceans made a meal of his legs during a dip at a Melbourne beach.

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Shocking images of Sam Kanizay’s lower legs and feet have been beamed around the world after the 16-year-old went for a dip at Brighton’s Dendy Street Beach on Saturday night to cool his aching muscles following a tough game of footy.

He walked out of the water covered with “hundreds of little pin holes” that wouldn’t stop bleeding thanks to sea crustaceans which feed on flesh, Sam’s father Jarrod Kanizay told AAP.

After three days bedridden at Dandenong Hospital, Sam on Tuesday needed the help of a wheelchair to get home, his feet still bandaged.

“They were so small but they’ve made such an impact on Sam. There must have been thousands around his legs,” Mr Kanizay told AAP.

“He’s got some soft spots at the back of his leg where they must have eaten a little bit more.”

Doctors were initially at a loss to explain what had caused the excessive bleeding but the tiny creatures turned out to be scavenging crustaceans known as lysianassid amphipods.

“It’s not a burrowing animal, it’s not a toxic animal, and it just loves eating our flesh,” Mr Kanizay said.

Museums Victoria marine biologist Genefor Walker-Smith, who examined a sample of the bugs collected by Mr Kanizay, said it was possible they contained an anti-coagulant similar to that produced by leeches, which explained the inability to stem the flow of blood.

The family knew of four other cases where people walked out of the water with unexplained bloody bites but Mr Kanizay said Sam’s experience wouldn’t deter them from going for a dip.

“We all need to go into the water and celebrate the bay and use it,” he said.

“Sam will be back in the water within no time, he can’t wait.”

The story of the boy with the bloody feet made global headlines, with the Kanizays hearing from relatives who watched news reports in Slovenia.

The story also made news in Norway, Sweden and Tanzania.

“It’s great that people are being educated along the way – educated and I guess entertained,” Mr Kanizay said.

Same-sex marriage vote may go postal

Australians look set to be heading to the postbox rather than the ballot box to decide the issue of same-sex marriage.

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At a special meeting on Monday, party members voted to back the Coalition’s long-standing policy to hold a plebsicite on the issue, to be held on November 25.

A proposal will be resubmitted to parliament this week.

If, as predicted, it again fails, a voluntary postal vote will be held.

If the result of this ballot is “yes”, a private member’s bill will go to parliament, followed by a free vote.

This will not happen if most respondents vote “no”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says voters will get the chance to have their opinion heard.

“The important thing is that every Australian gets their say. Every Australian, as Mathias (Cormann) said, on the electoral roll will get a ballot paper and they will be able to fill that in and express their say and their vote..hang on…their vote will be counted.”

Mr Turnbull says the Australian Bureau of Statistics would be tasked with running the ballot, at a cost of $122 million.

Papers would be sent out in mid-September, and the result determined by November 15.

The Nick Xenophon Team is among those crossbenchers who have declared they will block attempts to hold a postal plebiscite.

MP Rebekha Sharkie has told Sky news should one go ahead, she will work to ensure everyone gets a say.

“What I’ll be campaigning for is for people to vote. I think it’s really important that people don’t boycott any sort of election or voting opportunity, and a lot of people do that. A lot of people feel disenfranchised and they don’t even vote in our general elections. I won’t be campaigning for yes or no, but I’ve made it very clear that I do support marriage equality.”

The path to a postal vote is uncertain, with one advocacy group calling it “unconstitutional” and announcing it will launch a High Court challenge.

Co-chair of Australian Marriage Equality, Alex Greenwich, has told the ABC he is concerned about reviving a very public and, at times, unpleasant debate.

“Well we’ve obviously seen the conduct of the opponents of marriage equality all along and it has indeed been disappointing. Obviously, they seem to have no plans to change their tack. So, I think that the Labor Party is absolutely right in that concern and that concern is shared by many people.”

Under pressure, Prime Minister Turnbull insists he is demonstrating his strength as a leader by sticking to his promises.

But Greens leader Richard Di Natale has accused Mr Turnbull of failing to stand up to the hardline conservative elements within his own party.

“If Malcolm Turnbull can’t lead the Liberal party, he can’t lead the nation. What we’re seeing is a Prime Minister who is a huge disappointment as the Prime Minister of this country. And the reason? Because he won’t stand up to Tony Abbott and the hard-right in the Liberal party, and if you can’t show leadership there, you can’t lead the nation.”

Also facing a difficult choice, the Opposition will have to decide whether to campaign for the “yes” vote or support a potential legal challenge to a postal plebiscite.

Labor leader Bill Shorten says the issue has snowballed out of control.

He says he believes his view echoes that of most Australians – just get it done.

“And for two good reasons we should have a vote in parliament: one, because it’s a good idea; and two, because this nation needs to do some other work, this parliament needs to do some other work. Electricity prices, housing affordability, climate change, low wages, more…dealing with inequality in this country, and yet the Liberal party and the Nationals turn themselves inside-out over marriage equality.”

 

 

NSW announces law change to move homeless from CBD in National Homelessness Week

Its announcement has been made during National Homelessness Week.

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The camp of homeless people mushroomed at the top of Sydney’s famous Martin Place in December last year.

Around 70 people remain at the camp, which was last cleared by Sydney City Council workers and police in June this year.

But people have since returned to the camp, resulting in tensions between the state government and Sydney mayor, Clover Moore, who the government accuses of not doing enough to move people on.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian says the government has no choice but to introduce legislation into Parliament to end the impasse in Martin Place.

“There was nothing in the existing laws we could do that would resolve this issue amicably over and above what the City of Sydney could do. That’s why today the Minister for Crown Lands will be introducing legislation to Parliament to give State Government the right over any Crown land within the City of Sydney to be able to move in and take property and also ask people to move on if it’s deemed to be a public safety issue. This is a course of action I wish I didn’t have to take, but it’s a course of action we have have to take because the City of Sydney has not done what it had within its power to do and what it should have done.”

Sydney Mayor Clover Moore has released a statement saying she wants a peaceful resolution, not a repeat of what happened in Melbourne with vulnerable homeless people being dragged away by police.

Ms Moore argues there’s been decades of inaction by successive governments on homelessness, and the council has no power to move people on.

The state government has also announced it has secured an after-hours service for rough sleepers in Sydney.

The Wayside Chapel will deliver the service which will run until 11pm with a possible extension to 24 hours pending development application approval.

A spokesman for the homeless camp, Lanz Priestley, says the group will move once a suitable 24-hour facility is available.

“If they get that right all the people will go there and there will be no need for this to exist. To be clear I don’t want this to exist any more than the Council do or the State Government do, but I do want it to cease to exist when the need ceases to exist.”

Homeslessness Australia chairwoman Jenny Smith says rough sleepers, such as those seen on the streets in major cities, are a minority, making up around six per cent of the homeless population.

She says the number of what she calls the “hidden homeless” has increased dramatically, with a huge jump in the number of people sleeping in cars and staying short-term with friends or family.

“And we’re seeing a particular increase in that group amongst older women, women over 50, with an 83 per cent increase in the last four years. We’re also seeing more people presenting to our services who are sleeping in the back of cars and a 60 per cent increase in the last four years in that group. 280,000 people approached our services last year looking for assistance – that’s 43,000 more people than the year before.”

Ms Smith says to mark Homelessness Week, her organisation is calling on the federal government to build 100,000 new public and community housing properties in the next five years.

 

 

Police boo and heckle WA Premier

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has been booed and heckled in front of Parliament House by hundreds of police officers, who are demanding a higher pay rise.

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Officers are angry that Labor has broken an election promise to stick to the previous Coalition government’s 1.5 per cent wage deal for all public servants.

Mr McGowan announced in May that public servants’ pay increases will be capped at $1000 a year, because the state budget was in a dire state with the highest debt in the nation.

“If we do anything different, all we’re doing is borrowing money so that yourselves, your children and grandchildren will have even more debt to pay off into the future,” he told the rally.

He was booed, with some police shouting out that the state’s financial problems were not their fault and pointing out Labor party employees recently got a 9.5 per cent pay rise over three years, although that was not taxpayer-funded.

People at the rally held placards depicting bloody images of police injuries, including an officer who was recently struck with a samurai sword, fracturing his skull.

The government has leaked details about the confidential negotiations showing the union has asked for a 6.5 per cent pay rise over two years.

Union president George Tilbury said that was merely its initial counter offer at the start of negotiations months ago but he did think police deserved a higher pay rise than the $1,000 the rest of the public sector was getting.

“The job we do is difficult and dangerous, police officers put their lives on the line, they are the only public servants that have to act when an offence is committed whether they witness it on or off duty,” he said.

The union has threatened to launch a third phase of industrial action on top of measures already taken that will hit the government’s hip pocket, such as issuing cautions rather than fines for minor offences, but strike action is not being considered.

WA’s public servants, including its police officers, are the best paid in the country dating back to the mining boom.

Suns to start search for Eade replacement

Gold Coast assistant coach Dean Solomon is the best man to lead the Suns this weekend, but chief executive Mark Evans says the AFL club has not given a thought to who will coach them beyond this season.

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Speaking on Tuesday as they announced the sacking of Rodney Eade, Evans and club chairman Tony Cochrane were adamant they had not started the search for his replacement.

Current AFL assistant coaches Stuart Dew (Sydney), John Barker (Carlton) and Brett Ratten (Hawthorn) are among the contenders being thrown up to take over from Eade.

Admitting there was an “experience vacuum” at the club, Cochrane would not be drawn on whether they would attempt to lure a veteran coach or take a chance on someone new.

“We honestly have not considered a replacement, I promise you we have not spent a known second of time considering who his replacement may be,” Cochrane said.

Cochrane said the board unanimously endorsed the decision to part ways with Eade after Evans presented the findings from an ongoing review on Monday.

Solomon will coach the side for the remaining three games of the season, Eade closing with 16 wins from 63 games to his name since arriving on the Gold Coast at the start of the 2015 season.

“I haven’t spoken to anybody about being senior coach of Gold Coast Suns for next year,” Evans said.

“He (Solomon) has that level of respect for them and they have that for him and that makes him quite clearly the best person to galvanise what we need to do now.”

Eade told the Herald Sun that he was disappointed, but accepted the decision.

“I’m too experienced and been through a lot to be bitter – bitter is not an emotion,” he said.

The remainder of the football department is under serious examination following another underwhelming season, in which the Suns sit 15th.

The Suns sacked inaugural coach Guy McKenna at the end of the 2014 season, bringing in Eade from Collingwood where he was an assistant to Nathan Buckley.

While the Suns have struggled and never finished higher than 12th in six seasons, fellow expansion side Greater Western Sydney have excelled in the past two years, making the preliminary finals last year and sitting second in 2017.

Evans indicated there could be more changes as they seek to emulate the Giants’ rise.

“Rodney took us to a level and now we’ve decided it’s time to have a change of senior coach to go to the next level,” he said.

“Of course we’ll get the best coach to take us to that.”

Adding to the Suns’s woes, co-captain Tom Lynch will miss the last three games of the season with a knee injury.

Tensions high as Kenyans vote in election ‘too close to call’

President Uhuru Kenyatta is seeking a second and final term in office and is facing his long-time rival, Raila Odinga.

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The election has already been subject to violence and claims of vote-rigging.

Opposition Leader Raila Odinga says a lack of high-speed mobile phone coverage in some areas means the electronic voting system being used could prove unreliable.

“We are saying that the law says Kenyans must cast their ballots through the electronic voting system which is called EVID, Electronic Voter Identification Devices, and we have said that if that system does not work, this vote count cannot go on. This is what we have said to our supporters everywhere, because what was going to happen was not valid. We are saying that if this happens, that polling station should be shut down until the changes are made. That is the law.”

Kenya’s electoral authority, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, says it will use satellite phones to transmit electoral results in areas without 3G or 4G mobile coverage.

The Commission’s chairman is Wafula Chebukati.

“We wish to assure you all that we have taken steps to ensure that the results are electronically transmitted from all the polling stations through satellite transmission. We have provided satellite capability to all the 290 tallying centres from where presiding officers will take their results for transmission in any event.”

A computerised voting system used in the 2013 election failed, forcing the manual counting of votes.

Afterwards Mr Odinga turned to the courts, alleging electoral fraud but lost his case.

In 2007, more than 1,100 Kenyans died and 600,000 were displaced after elections results were disputed – an outcome neither candidate wants repeated.

President Kenyatta has made a televised address urging Kenyans to respect the result and not resort to violence.

“No matter the result of this election, we must stand together as one people. Above all, we must reject intimidation. We must reject violence or any attempt to divide us.”

The opposition also says the deployment of at least 150,000 members of the security forces is designed to intimidate voters, an accusation rejected by Kenya’s Interior Minister, Fred Matiangi.

“Our security forces are not at the polling stations to hurt the people, they are there to facilitate our people, they are there to ensure the citizens of this nation enjoy, exercise and they are free to do so as their democratic right in terms of voting.”

The lead-up to the election was marred by violence with an election official in charge of the computerised voting system, Chris Msando, tortured and strangled to death.

There are eight presidential candidates and if there’s no outright winner, a run-off election will be held between the top two candidates.

 

Opening salvo set for Swift ‘grope’ trial

Lawyers on both sides of a trial pitting pop star Taylor Swift against a Colorado radio personality she accused of groping her are expected to deliver opening statements to jurors hearing the case in a federal courtroom in Denver.

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The process of selecting an eight-member jury was due to conclude early on Tuesday, with presentations to follow from attorneys for the 27-year-old singer and David Mueller, who lost his job at Denver radio station KYGO-FM over Swift’s allegation.

Mueller, 55, says he was falsely accused.

US District Judge William Martinez and lawyers for the two parties spent Monday quizzing members of the jury pool to detect any bias, asking, for example, if any were fans of Swift or regular listeners of KYGO.

Swift, one of America’s top-selling recording stars, attended Monday’s proceedings, turning to face the prospective jurors when introduced by the judge, then taking notes on a pad of paper during the selection process.

She made it into the courtroom without being spotted by the media outside the downtown Denver courthouse. Her mother, Andrea Swift, was also present. The singer is expected to take the witness stand during the trial.

The litigation centres on her allegations that Mueller slipped his hand under her dress and grabbed her bare buttocks as the two posed during a meet-and-greet session before a June 2013 concert in Denver.

“It was not an accident, it was completely intentional, and I have never been so sure of anything in my life,” Swift said in a deposition.

Mueller sued first, saying Swift fabricated the allegation and pressured station management to oust him from his $US150,000-per-year job.

His case cites tort claims of interference with contractual obligations and prospective business relations.

His lawsuit denies anything inappropriate occurred during the brief backstage encounter in which he and his girlfriend stood on either side of the pop star.

Swift countersued for assault and battery, and the two civil complaints were merged for trial. In court filings, Swift said her representatives informed KYGO management about the incident, but she did not demand Mueller be fired.

Swift, one of the most successful contemporary music artists, earned $US170 million between June 2015 and June 2016, following a world tour and her best-selling 1989 album, Forbes Magazine said.

Bird-Smith wants walk medal in London

Australian walker Dane Bird-Smith has every intention of leaving the world championships in London with another medal to add to the bronze he won in the 20km last year in Rio.

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And this time, he wants to ensure his coach and father is actually on hand if and when it’s draped around his neck.

Dave Smith was a walker with enough ability to compete at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics, although he did not reach the heights of his son.

But Smith inadvertently upstaged Bird-Smith at the worst possible moment in Rio last year.

Smith was arrested by military police as he tried to get through a security checkpoint without the necessary pass so he could celebrate with his son at the finish line of the 20km race.

He was eventually released after paying a $3000 fine, but not before missing the medals ceremony.

“He was pretty devastated as you would be because we’d been working towards this for so long,” said the 25-year-old Bird-Smith.

“For his journey as well as an Olympian he knows how much it means and there was this moment that he was so disappointed that he was not able to be there for me.

“But I came straight in and said ‘that moment getting that medal wasn’t the moment that I needed you for’.

“You were there for me every other day, every time we were out rain, hail or shine.”

Jared Tallent has long been the public face of Australian race walking, but he will miss the London championships after withdrawing from the 50km event on Tuesday due to a hamstring injury.

That leaves Bird-Smith as the only standout medal chance among the walkers, where he is among the favourites in the shorter race on Saturday.

He equalled his PB in his most recent 20km race in February and has been thrilled with the times he has been setting in training.

In a 5km time trial at the pre-championships training camp in Tonbridge, Bird-Smith defied wet and windy conditions to better the Australian record by five seconds.

“I know I am strong and that I have got the speed at the end,” he said.

“I am chasing medals, I am here for the business end.”

And if that chase ends successfully, Bird-Smith trusts his dad will be there for the big moment.

“Every single time at plane security, or if you hear a police siren or anything, I joke ‘hey dad – they must be after you’,” said Bird-Smith.

“I think he has learned his lesson for jumping fences and we have all learned a lesson that if you are going through secure areas you have all your credentials and you take it slow.

“I don’t think it will be a problem here.”

‘Was Donald Trump right?’: Turnbull questioned over death on Manus Island

Refugee advocates say the death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamed Shamshiripour on Manus Island was avoidable, and on Tuesday prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called it ‘regrettable’.

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“We all regret the death the honourable member referred to (of) the person detained in PNG,” Mr Turnbull said in question time.

Hamed Shamshiripour reportedly had a history of mental illness, and refugee advocates and other asylum seekers say they had been calling for extra support prior to his death.

It’s believed the 31-year-old had spent the last four years in detention.

Mr Turnbull told parliament: “We stand for the integrity of Australia’s borders.”

“We are not going to outsource our borders to people smugglers ever again.”

The prime minister was quizzed about Mr Shamshiripour’s death and Mr Trump’s praise of Australia’s tough border policies by Greens MP Adam Bandt.

“People’s lives have been broken in immigration detention and yesterday another asylum seeker died on Manus Island,” he put to the prime minister.

“Was Donald Trump right when he said that you are worse than he is?”

The question referenced the recently leaked transcript of Mr Turnbull and Mr Trump discussing a refugee swap deal in January.

A photograph of a protest at Manus Island in wake of the death of Hamed Shamshiripour. (Amir Taghinia on Twitter)Amir Taghinia Twitter

The prime minister assured the new president the US was not obliged to accept a single refugee, needing only to go through the vetting process for those held in detention to honour the bargain.

Greens senator Nick McKim also disrupted parliament on Tuesday to demand the immediate evacuation of all of those held in detention on Manus Island and Nauru.

“The overwhelming majority of people that Australia has detained on Manus Island and Nauru have been found to be genuine refugees, that is, they have a well-founded fear of persecution, which means they cannot, without being placed in danger, in some cases danger of death, arbitrary imprisonment and torture, be returned to their home countries,” Senator McKim said.

“There are now eight people who have died on Manus Island and Nauru whilst being Australia’s responsibility. They have effectively died at Australian hands.”

Dear Australian friends. Please tell to every other Australian to join and follow me because with solidarity we can be like an army .

— shahriar hatami (@Shahriarhatami1) August 8, 2017

Senator McKim read aloud the names of eight people who have died while in offshore detention since 2013, before pausing for a minute’s silence.

Cabinet minister Michaelia Cash labelled his move “way worse than disgusting”.

Iranian journalist and asylum seeker Behrouz Boochani on Manus Island accused the prime minister of being more concerned with politics than people.

“The PM is more concern with his political party than the Australian people. People are dying in Manus and Nauru in Australia’s name, (sic)” he wrote on Twitter.

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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says it is gravely concerned by deteriorating conditions at the Manus Island regional processing centre as authorities shuffle detainees around ahead of its October closure.

“The UNHCR is deeply saddened by the tragic death of a young refugee yesterday, which also highlights the precarious situation for vulnerable people on Manus Island,” the agency said.

The day that we walked and sat silent.#ManusProtest #SOS #auspol #[email protected] do not let us die in PNG, let us live again pic.twitter长沙桑拿按摩论坛,/gucJqwaUAM

— Amir Taghinia (@TaghiniaAmir) August 8, 2017

The UN believes the looming closure of the processing centre, along with the withdrawal of medical care, torture and trauma support and security services, is exacerbating a highly stressful situation for those on the island.

The agency says many of the nearly 800 refugees on Manus Island fear for their safety outside the centre following violent incidents in recent years.

The UN insists critical services on Manus Island must continue, warning any further reduction of fundamental supports for refugees and asylum-seekers would add to the serious health and security risks of detainees.

Hamed Shamshiripour’s death is being investigated by PNG authorities.

The refugees in #Manus are calling for an independent investigation into Hamed’s death. The refugees argue that its suspicious.

— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) August 8, 2017

Following news of the death on Monday, asylum seekers in immigration detention on Nauru posted images and video of a protest calling for the shutdown of offshore immigration centres. There has also been a vigil held on Manus Island.

A protest was held on Nauru calling to shutdown offshore detention centres following the death of a refugee. (@Shahriarhatami1 on Twitter)Twitter

On Tuesday afternoon Mr Boochani said on Twitter he was concerned about the well-being of another asylum seeker he said was “in critical condition” with “a fractured skull”.

He called for the man who was receiving treatment in hospital to be transferred to Australia.

The refugee in critical condition must be taken to Australia now. He has been vomiting blood for two days. Why wasn’t he sent urgently?

— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) August 8, 2017

SBS World News has sought comment and further information from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection who are yet to confirm the claims. 

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467. MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

– With AAP 

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Anti-migrant boat stuck off Tunisia

“To all staff and (security) agents we say: do not let this racist ship soil Tunisia’s ports.

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Keep them out as our brothers in (the ports of) Zarzis and Sfax have already done,” the UGTT union said in Facebook post.

The UGTT, the Tunisian General Labour Union, is best known as a joint winner of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize.

Any plans the C-Star had to dock at Zarzis in southeastern Tunisia on Sunday were scuppered when local fishermen warned they would block access to a refuelling channel.

Chartered by extremist group Generation Identity and crewed by activists from France, Germany and Italy, the C-Star’s declared aim is to disrupt the flow of migrant boats from north Africa to Europe.

They have dubbed their mission “Defend Europe” and say they want to expose what they see as a taxi service for illegal immigrants being operated by privately-funded boats helping to patrol waters off Libya.

Humanitarian organisations operating the rescue boats have branded Defend Europe a potentially dangerous stunt. Two of the NGO vessels were contacted by the C-Star when it passed through waters off Libya on Saturday.

“We start our operation off the Libyan coast and we advise you to leave the SAR (Search and Rescue) area because you’re acting as a pull factor for human traffickers, making them millions,” the crew was recorded as telling their counterparts on the Aquarius, a boat operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors without Borders.

“We will watch you and the days of your unwatched doings here are over.”

A similar, apparently intimidatory, message was delivered to the crew of the Golfo Azzurro, operated by Spain’s Pro-Active Open Arms, who responded by telling C-Star’s staff to stop using a radio channel reserved for emergency communications.

If the C-Star cannot dock in Tunisia it is unclear where else it could go.

Tentative plans to refuel in either Greece or Sicily on the way down to Libya were scuppered by opposition to their mission in both places.

The mission has been dogged by setbacks since the boat was chartered in Djibouti in mid-May with funds raised by crowd-funding. 

The boat was held up for a week in the Suez Canal by Egyptian authorities looking for weapons then delayed further in Cyprus, where some of the Sri Lankan crew got off and claimed refugee status, embarrassingly adding to the list of asylum-seekers the mission is supposed to help cut.

The mission did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.