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Extra! EU Summit On Mediterranean Migrants

La Sicilia, April 23 2015

EU leaders are due to hold an emergency summit Thursday to look for ways to quell the number of migrants risking their lives on journeys across the Mediterranean. Sicilian-based daily La Sicilia writes that ships, planes and surveillance programs will be used to combat the traffickers.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi outlined his proposals — which he hopes will be swiftly implemented — in a New York Times editorial on Wednesday. He said current European Union resources devoted to combating the human trafficking were inadequate, and called for "at least doubling" the money spent in the effort. He also suggested that the the EU should repeat its successful use of naval force to combat piracy around the Horn of Africa to eliminate the vessels used in human trafficking.

"Human traffickers are the slave traders of the 21st century, and they should be brought to justice," Renzi wrote.

The number of migrants rescued by the Italian navy in 2014 was almost 170,000, while 36,000 people have reached Malta, Italy and Greece so far this year.

ABOUT THE SOURCE:La Siciliawas founded and first published in 1945. Published in the coastal city of Catania, it is the second best-selling newspaper in Sicily.

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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