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News In Focus: A Look At This Week’s Most Interesting Stories

South Africa: South African authorities deployed troops on Tuesday to the cities of Durban, Alexandra and Johannesburg to help local police suppress anti-immigrant violence that started three weeks ago, and which led to at least seven deaths and thousands fleeing their homes.

Immigrants from such South African countries as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Ethiopia have been targeted in the xenophobic attacks.

They’re accused of stealing jobs and business opportunities from South Africans at a time when the country’s economy is slowing and unemployment has reached as high as 24 percent.

The spate of attacks erupted around three weeks ago in Durban after Goodwill Zwelithini, South Africa’s Zulu king, made xenophobic comments against immigrants and asked foreign nationals “to pack their belongings and go back to their countries.”

The Zulu king did change his stance on Monday, but his appeal didn’t end the attacks.

Here’s a Sky News report:

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Europe: A Europe-bound vessel filled with illegal immigrants capsized last Sunday between the Libyan coast and the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The United Nations confirmed on Tuesday that at least 850 migrants drowned and only 28 survived.

The victims were of multiple nationalities, including Syrians, Eritreans and Somalians.

Media have described the incident to be “the worst disaster yet involving migrants being smuggled to Europe.”

The record-high death toll served as a wake up call for the EU.  On Monday, EU officials released a 10-point plan to prevent future tragedies.

Why are the migrants risking so much? A story from BBC News:

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Armenia: The world remembered the horrific genocidal campaign against the Armenian people, which began exactly 100 years ago.

On 24 April 1915, the Ottoman government began a systematic purge of Armenian minorities within its boundaries.  The killing – which took the lives of 1.5 million people – continued until 1923.

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu extended condolences to the descendants of those killed, whilst the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution to commemorate the event.

And at Mass last Sunday, Pope Francis remembered the victims, warning that “today, too, we are experiencing a sort of genocide created by general and collective indifference.”

The following documentary discusses the Armenian Genocide, also known as “The Hidden Holocaust”:

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Chile: Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupted on Wednesday after having been dormant for 42 years.

The volcano is about 1,000 kilometres south of the Chilean capital of Santiago, and is near the tourist towns of Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt.

The eruption occurred at around 6 pm local time with the volanco billowing a towering ash column over the southern Chilean sky, and giving rise to concerns that the ash could contaminate water and cause respiratory illnesses.

No casualties have been reported so far.  But the Chilean authorities have ordered the evacuation of more than 4,000 people within a 20-kilometre radius. LATAM Airlines, Chile’s national airline, has cancelled its flights to and from neighbouring Puerto Montt due to the volcanic ash.

The 6,500-foot Calbuco last erupted in 1972 and is considered one of the top three most potentially dangerous among Chile’s 90 active volcanos.

Footage of the eruption comes courtesy of the Associated Press:

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Image: “Armenian widow with 3 children seeking help from missionaries in 1899. Her husband was killed in the aftermath of the Armenian Massacres of 1894-1896. She walked 90 miles from Geghi to Harput.” Courtesy of Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com