migranti, izbjeglice, more, brod.jpg
Photograph: EPA/KAY NIETFELD

Forty-five bodies were recovered and 135 migrants rescued from a semi-sunken ship, the Italian Navy said overnight, reporting on the third shipwreck in three days in the central Mediterranean.

On Twitter, the navy said Saturday that the corpses were being taken to a yet-to-be disclosed Italian port.

It added that an additional 629 migrants were picked up over the course of several operations and were also being transported to Italy.

In earlier deadly incidents this week, the European Union's naval mission, Eunavfor Med, intervened Thursday to save 96 people from a sinking boat, and said its units had spotted about 20 bodies at sea. They have not been recovered.

On Wednesday, the Italian Navy rescued more than 550 people and five bodies after a migrant boat overturned because it had too many people on board. According to survivors, 650 people were on the vessel, suggesting that about 100 passengers are unaccounted for.

Most of this week's rescues took place about 55 kilometres north of the Libyan city of Zuwarah, a well-known hub for migrant smugglers and departure point for Europe-bound sea journeys.

The number of arrivals to Italy is expected to surge in the coming months as warmer weather facilitates more departures from Libya.

Since Monday, Italian authorities have coordinated the rescue of more than 12,000 sea migrants. This compares with just 1,641 arrivals last week, according to figures compiled by the International Organization for Migration.

Latest news

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan: 100,000 facing starvation

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan, three UN agencies said Monday as they declared famine in parts of the country.

North Korean envoy to Malaysia: 'We cannot trust the investigation'

North Korea "cannot trust the investigation" by Malaysian police into the death last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia said Monday.

Kim Dotcom loses latest round in extradition saga

German internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has lost another legal round after the New Zealand High Court ruled that he and three of his colleagues can be extradited to the United States, but he said Monday his fight is far from over.

Thai monks clash with police on fifth day of high-profile temple raid

Several monks were injured early Monday in clashes with Thai police at a Buddhist temple where thousands of officers have been searching for a former abbot wanted on money laundering and land encroachment charges.

Cambodia passes bill easing requirements to abolish political parties

Cambodia's parliament passed a controversial bill on Monday allowing the government to abolish political parties whose members have been convicted of criminal charges, a senior opposition lawmaker has confirmed to dpa.

Former VP Moreno wins first round of Ecuador's presidential elections

Leftist former vice president Lenin Moreno has won the first round of presidential elections in Ecuador on Sunday, according to preliminary results released by the country's electoral authority.

Report: US and Russia supply over half of global arms

The United States and Russia supplied more than half of the world's arms over the past five years, a period that saw arms transfers reach their highest volume since the end of the Cold War, a Swedish-based research institute said Monday.

Messi's last minute penalty saves Barcelona from shock draw

Barcelona beat Leganes 2-1 with a last minute penalty from Lionel Messi in the Spanish first division on Sunday.

At least 30 injured after explosion in Bogota

A explosion in the Macarena area of Bogota injured at least 30 people on Sunday, many of them police officers who were guarding a bull running through the streets of the Colombian capital.

Vojvodina institutions hold conference on Bunjevci's non-Croat ethnic background

There are around 16,000 members of the Bunjevci community in Vojvodina who deny their Croat ethnic background. They are represented by the Bunjevci National Council which enjoys the support of state authorities, and, since the change of government in Vojvodina, of the provincial authorities as well.

SpaceX rocket blasts off from historic launch pad en route to ISS

A commercial rocket built by SpaceX is on its way to the International Space Station (ISS) with a load of research equipment, cargo and supplies, NASA said Sunday.

Defence deals worth 1.2 billion dollars announced at key UAE show

Deals worth nearly 4.4 billion dirhams (1.2 billion dollars) were reached at a major defence show that opened Sunday in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), an official said.