Karen continues move toward northern Gulf Coast BRAITHWAITE, La. (AP) — Tropical Storm Karen weakened overnight but kept chugging toward the northern Gulf Coast on Saturday, with forecasters predicting rain, potential flooding and a decrease in speed later in the day.The National Hurricane Center reported early Saturday that Karen’s maximum sustained winds had dropped to 40 mph, making it a weak tropical storm. It was moving north at 10 mph (16 kph), and center forecasters said in their advisory that they expect Karen to decrease in speed later Saturday and turn toward the northeast.”This is certainly something that you can remain safe in — it’s a lot weaker than it was, no chance of it becoming a hurricane — as long as you follow advice from local officials,” Rick Knabb, the director of the National Hurricane Center, said.Vulnerable areas of Louisiana remained under evacuation orders with possible high winds, heavy rain and storm-driven tidal waters still a concern in areas not protected by levees. More than 80 evacuees from Plaquemines Parish at the state’s southeastern tip took refuge at a public shelter.Elsewhere along the coast, some tourists ventured out onto beaches to watch the heavy surf.View gallery.”C.J. Johnson pulls a shrimp boat out of the water in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm K …Ray and Lynn Walls of Shepherdsville, Ky., had the beach to themselves Saturday on the western tip of Dauphin Island, Ala. It was sunny and mild as big waves pounded the seawall protecting nearby homes, and a locked gate blocked the entrance to a public beach that was closed because of Karen.The trip had been planned for four people, but only two showed up, Ray Walls said. „The rest of them got a little scared of the storm.”A tropical storm warning is in effect from Morgan City to the mouth of the Pearl River, which forms part of the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. A tropical storm watch covers the New Orleans area and a stretch from east of the Pearl River’s mouth to Indian Pass, Fla.Forecasters expected the storm’s center to be in the warning area Saturday night or Sunday morning, and they note that an increase in speed is possible Sunday. Rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the central Gulf Coast and southeastern U.S. are possible through Monday night, with isolated totals up to 6 inches.Karen began losing some of its punch late Friday, after a busy day of preparations along the Gulf Coast for the storm. Karen is a late-arriving worry in what had been a slow hurricane season in the U.S. Karen would be the second named storm to make landfall in the U.S. — the first since Tropical Storm Andrea hit Florida in June.View gallery.”Amiyah Harvey, 18 months, sits in the back seat as her parents load the family cars as they prepare …Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida had each declared a state of emergency as of Friday. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Interior Department recalled workers, furloughed because of the government shutdown, to deal with the storm and help state and local agencies.And in low-lying areas of southeast Louisiana, pickups hauling boat trailers and flatbed trucks laden with crab traps evacuated. Officials in Plaquemines Parish, La., an area inundated last year by slow-moving Hurricane Isaac in 2012, ordered mandatory evacuations Friday, mostly on the east bank of the Mississippi River. The parish, home to oil field service businesses and fishing marinas, juts out into the Gulf of Mexico from the state’s southeastern tip.Guy Laigast, head of emergency operations in the parish, noted an earlier forecast with a westward tick. „The jog to the west has got us concerned that wind will be piling water on the east bank levees,” he said. Overtopping was not expected, but the evacuations were ordered as a precaution, he said.Evacuations also were ordered on Grand Isle, a barrier island community where the only route out is a single flood-prone highway, and in coastal Lafourche Parish.Traffic at the mouth of the Mississippi River was stopped Friday in advance of the storm, and passengers aboard two Carnival Cruise ships bound for weekend arrivals in New Orleans were told they may not arrive until Monday.View gallery.”A worker secures a flood gate after a crane lowered it into Hero Canal, as part of the hurricane pro …In New Orleans, Sheriff Marlin Gusman announced that he had moved more than 400 inmates from temporary tent facilities to safer state lockups as a precaution. Mayor Mitch Landrieu said a city emergency operations center would begin around-the-clock operations Friday evening.In the Plaquemines Parish town of Braithwaite, swamped last year by Isaac, Blake Miller and others hauled paintings and valuables to the upper floor of the plantation home he owns.”We came out to move the antique furniture upstairs, board up the shutters, get ready. We don’t know for what, we hope not much, but we have to be ready,” Miller said.”I’m not expecting another Isaac, but we could get some water, so I’m moving what I can,” said Larry Bartron, a fisherman who stowed nets and fishing gear in his 26-foot fishing boat, which he planned to move inside the levee system.Along the Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts, officials urged caution. Workers moved lifeguard stands to higher ground in Alabama and Florida. But there were few signs of concern among visitors to Florida’s Pensacola Beach, where visitors frolicked in the surf beneath a pier and local surfer Stephen Benz took advantage of big waves.View gallery.”Tony Danos secures a shrimp boat to pull it out of the water, in anticipation of Tropical Storm Kare …”There is probably about 30 days a year that are really good and you really have to watch the weather, have the availability and be able to jump at a moment’s notice,” Benz said.____Kevin McGill reported from New Orleans. Associated Press reporters Melissa Nelson in Pensacola, Fla.; Tony Winton in Miami; and Jay Reeves in Dauphin Island, Ala., contributed to this story. Tropical Storm Karen weakens as it nears U.S. Gulf CoastKathy Finn 1 hour ago View gallery By Kathy FinnNEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Karen continued to weaken on Saturday as it approached the Louisiana coast after prompting the evacuation of some low-lying coastal areas and disrupting U.S. energy output in the Gulf of Mexico.Karen’s top winds dropped to 40 mph, down from 65 mph on Thursday and 50 mph on Friday, and National Hurricane Center forecasters in Miami said they no longer expected it to gain strength over the weekend, keeping it a weak tropical storm.Originally forecast to become a hurricane, authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders for low-lying areas south of New Orleans on Friday.Tropical storm watches and warnings were still in effect in other areas including metropolitan New Orleans and Lake Pontchartrain. Tropical storms carry winds of 39 mph to 73 mph.View gallery.”Tropical Storm Karen is seen in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Geostationa …The governors of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama declared states of emergency to speed storm preparations and the Federal Emergency Management Agency recalled some workers who were furloughed in the federal government shutdown to assist.Oil output in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico was cut in half as oil and gas firms shut platforms and evacuated some workers in preparation for the storm. The Gulf accounts for about 19 percent of U.S. oil production and 6 percent of natural gas output.By early Saturday, the storm was centered about 185 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was moving north but was forecast to turn to the northeast as it crossed the coast.Karen’s projected path shifted slightly westward and it was expected to move ashore over Louisiana on Saturday night and into Mississippi and then Alabama on Sunday.The storm could dump up to 6 inches of rain in some areas and to push a surge of seawater over the shoreline, the hurricane center said.View gallery.”Surfers watch from the beach as waves generated by Tropical Storm Karen roll to the shore next to th …(Writing by David Adams; Editing by Vicki Allen) China’s capital to replace some coal-fired heating plants5 hours ago View gallerySmoke billows from the chimneys of a heating plant near a residential compound in Beijing, in this November …BEIJING (Reuters) – China will replace four coal-burning heating plants in the capital Beijing with natural gas fired ones by the end of next year as it steps up efforts to clean up pollution, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.The report, citing the city’s Municipal Commission of Development and Reform, said the four plants and some 40 other related projects would cost around 48 billion yuan ($8 billion)and cut sulphur dioxide emissions by 10,000 metric tons. It did not detail the related projects.The plan is the latest step by authorities to deal with a persistent smog crisis in China’s big cities that is fuelling public anger. The capital has been shrouded in thick hazardous smog for several days during the ongoing seven-day national holiday.China has been under pressure to tackle air pollution to douse potential unrest as an increasingly affluent urban populace turns against a growth-at-all-costs economic model that has besmirched much of China’s air, water and soil.Last month the government announced plans to slash coal consumption and close polluting mills, factories and smelters, though experts said implementing the targets would be a major challenge.The new plants will replace four coal-fired ones that provide heating for homes in the city’s central urban area as well as generating electricity, Xinhua said.The four burned 9.2 million metric tons of coal in 2012, or 40 percent of the 23 million metric tons the city consumed in the year, it added.($1 = 6.12 yuan)(Reporting by Jonathan Standing; Editing by Nick Macfie) Foul weather could force Monday finish for Presidents CupSimon Evans 14 hours ago By Simon Evans DUBLIN, Ohio (Reuters) – Two long rain delays have already forced a backlog of matches at the Presidents Cup on Saturday and the forecast for more showers on the weekend could send the event into a Monday finish, tournament director Steve Carman said.After a two and a half hour delay, only two of Friday’s six foursomes matches were completed, with the remaining four contests held over to be finished early on Saturday.Five four-ball matches and five foursomes are also scheduled for later on Saturday with the 12 singles matches to follow on Sunday.With more foul weather expected, the prospect of the tournament being decided on Monday was now looming large.”Monday is a consideration,” Carman said.”And I believe the (tournament rules) document tells that you if we don’t finish by sunset on Monday, then the team with the most points at that point would be declared the winner.”Carman said officials also had the option of moving Sunday’s singles matches to an earlier start if rain was threatening to force an extra day.”Tomorrow, after we get the more current (weather) models, maybe we’ll have a more accurate picture of what the time frame is going to be and based on that information,” he said.”We would make the decision whether we were going to try and play early or try and beat the weather or go with the original plan.”Play did not commence until after lunchtime on Friday even though there was no rain in the morning, but Carman defended the decision to start later.”There was no discussion today about playing earlier,” he said.”We lost some pretty good weather in the morning, however, the forecast was for scattered showers. There was a chance that it wouldn’t materialize and we obviously wanted the golf to be live on television.”Going forward, we’ll make our best effort to try and finish (on Sunday) as we’ve done with this plan.”(Reporting By Simon Evans,) Fukushima 101: 5 questions answered about Japan’s crippled nuclear reactorsJustin McCurry 4 hours ago Two-and-a-half years after the disaster, the nuclear plant continues to pose problems. Here’s what you need to know now. Three of six Fukushima Daiichi reactors suffered core meltdowns during the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. The plant is still leaking contaminated water into the ocean, and work has yet to begin on decommissioning. Tens of thousands of evacuated residents, meanwhile, do not know when, or if, they will be able to return.Q: How stable is the situation at the Fukushima reactors?The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco), brought Reactors 1, 2, and 3 to a stable state known as „cold shutdown” – meaning that the temperature of the water cooling the nuclear fuel rods remains below the boiling point – in late 2011, so there is no immediate risk of another meltdown. There is concern, though, about the safety of 1,300 spent fuel assemblies being stored near the top of Reactor No. 4, which was weakened by an explosion in March 2011. Recognizing the need to place these in safe storage, Tepco plans to begin the unprecedented task of removing the spent fuel assemblies in November. The operation is expected to last a year.Q: What needs to happen before the reactors can be considered „safe”?Some areas of the plant have radiation levels that are still so high that they are inaccessible to humans. The site itself is still far from safe for the workers there, although the threat of dangerous atmospheric radiation releases over a wider area has passed. The consensus is that the site will not be completely safe until the molten fuel in three reactor basements has been removed – a dangerous process expected to take about 40 years. Workers will have to continue pumping coolant water into the reactors for years, until the molten fuel reaches a state in which it can be air-cooled. Therein lies another problem: Nuclear officials admit they are not sure exactly where the fuel is resting.RECOMMENDED: Think you know Japan? Take our quiz to find out.Q: How has the situation been handled?Badly. In the early days of the disaster, Tepco was criticized for acting too slowly to inform the public about the gravity of the accident, although the government has won praise from the United Nations, among others, for quickly ordering the evacuation of communities near the plant. Since the disaster, Tepco’s response has been dogged by mishaps, including power cuts, shoddy construction of water tanks, and the use of substandard equipment to monitor radiation. Tepco’s reluctance to quickly disclose problems at the site has added to public mistrust of the utility and sparked calls for the formation of an international task force to oversee the decommissioning of the reactors.Q: What’s the major concern now?Water. This summer, Tepco finally admitted that as much as 300 tons of contaminated ground water was seeping into the Pacific Ocean every day. The ground water flows down from the hills behind the plant and mixes with water that is being used to cool the reactors. It also emerged that several tanks used to store toxic water pumped out of the reactor basements had sprung leaks, sending radiation in the immediate vicinity to dangerously high levels. There are ambitious, and costly, plans to build an underground „ice wall” to prevent ground water from reaching the reactors, and to replace poorly constructed storage tanks prone to leaks. The water leaks have caused anger overseas, prompting South Korea last month to impose a ban on all fish imports from a large area of Japan.Q: Was it the reactors’ design, their location, or simply a lack of planning that resulted in the crisis?On-line reactors at Fukushima Daiichi automatically shut down when the magnitude-9.0 earthquake struck Japan’s northeast coast March 11, 2011. While there is disagreement over whether the meltdowns were triggered by the earthquake or the ensuing tsunami, it is the latter that caused the most damage. Tepco had ignored warnings that the area was prone to very powerful tsunamis; waves as high as 46 feet easily breached the plant’s 19-foot protective seawall, while its backup power generators, located perilously close to the ocean, were quickly rendered useless. In the quest to keep costs down, Tepco, aided by Japan’s toothless nuclear regulators, had failed to prepare Fukushima Daiichi for a major natural disaster. It is for that reason that a key report on the Fukushima disaster published in July 2012 described it as „man-made.” 10 Top Cars and SUVs for Taking on the Snow Justin Lloyd-Miller Google+ Twitter | More Articles October 05, 2013
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Those accustomed to winter driving can understand the importance of having the appropriate car. “When all four tires are working to move a car forward, each requires less traction,” Kelley Blue Book explains. ”And when one tire does slip, there are three more to shoulder the load, not just one. That, in a nutshell, is why all-wheel drive is good in the snow, and so popular in the highest and northernmost parts of the country.”Here were the 10 top picks that Kelley recommends for winter driving. Notably, we swapped out the Ferrari FF for the Volvo XC70, since the FF and its $300,000 price tag is generally out of reach for the average buyer. Nonetheless, we’re sure it’s a fantastic car. The following are not ranked by any particular measure, and this is far from a comprehensive list. What do you drive?
Great Plains storm brings both snow, tornadoesView gallery CHET BROKAW 1 hour ago PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — In the span of 24 hours, the scenic Black Hills in South Dakota were coated in up to three and a half feet of wet, heavy snow, one of several Great Plains states walloped by a storm system that’s caused millions of dollars in damage.Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were recorded in the Black Hills, National Weather Service meteorologist Katie Pojorlie said Saturday morning, but the snow was expected to end later Saturday, giving people a chance to start digging out from the unusual early fall snowstorm that set records.But wintry weather wasn’t the only thing wrapped into the powerful cold front, as thunderstorms brought heavy rain, hail and tornadoes in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. No one died in the tornadoes, reports said, but snow was blamed in the deaths of three people who were killed in a traffic accident on U.S. 20 in northeast Nebraska.Forecasters said the front would eventually combine with other storms to make for a wild — and probably very wet — weekend for much of the central U.S. and Southeast.Pojorlie said the historic mining city of Lead, S.D., in the northern Black Hills had received 43 ½ inches of snow by 7:30 p.m. Friday and more had fallen overnight. Rapid City had 21 inches, but 31 inches was recorded just a mile southwest of the city.View gallery.”A house damaged by a tornado, in the background, sits among the damage Friday Oct 4 2013 in Wayne, N …The wet, heavy snow was more like a typical spring storm, she said. Though the Dakotas have mostly recovered from last year’s drought, the rain and snow will help ease conditions that have remained fairly dry.”Normally, we get some snow events here in October that give people a little bit of a chance to learn how to drive in snow again. This year, we got started with a blizzard.”Snow postponed the annual Octoberfest in Deadwood, S.D., including Friday night’s dancing-and-singing pub crawl and Saturday’s Wiener Dog Races and Beer Barrel Games.Julie Lee said she and fellow members of the White Rose Band had barely unloaded their instruments in the Old West casino town before the heavy snow started falling and closed part of Interstate 90, the area’s only interstate.”Our car is like an igloo,” said Lee, who sings and plays the clarinet and saxophone for her North Dakota-based polka band. „I’m glad we got everything out.”View gallery.”Zack Ruml, 20, of Rapid City, S.D, lifts a heavy crab apple tree branch off of his 1998 Pontiac Gran …I-90 was still closed in the western part of the state on Saturday morning, and officials advised against travel on other roads in the area.In southwest North Dakota, about 10 inches of snow fell Friday, National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Jones said from Bismarck.”There might have been some isolated areas that got 12 inches,” he said.The snow was expected to stop later Saturday in western South Dakota, and as the cold front pushed east, accumulations would decrease, Pojorlie said.Meanwhile, meteorologists with the National Weather Service said they were still trying to figure out exactly how many tornadoes touched down Friday evening. Some of the most severe tornado damage was in Wayne, Neb., where at least 10 buildings were destroyed and five were heavily damaged in the town of 9,600, the Omaha World-Herald reported. Ten homes near the town were also damaged.View gallery.”Ronnie Tonuci, 21 of Rapid City, S.D., puts gas in his pickup truck after it ran out in the middle o …Mayor Ken Chamberlain said at least 15 people were injured, with one person in critical condition. He said all of the residents in the northeast Nebraska town were accounted for, but the storm caused millions of dollars in damage to an area that includes businesses and the city’s softball complex.In northwest Iowa, a mile-wide tornado touched down near the town of Cherokee, cutting a 2- to 3-mile path through farmland but missing any population centers, the state Department of Homeland Security said.The cold front is moving slowly east and expanding south and will meet up with the remnants of Tropical Storm Karen. Though much of the Midwest and Southeast may get soaked, it won’t be as devastating as past combination storms, such as Superstorm Sandy, said William Bunting, operations chief at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.___Associated Press writers Grant Schulte in Lincoln, Neb., Seth Borenstein in Washington, D.C., James MacPherson in Bismarck, N.D., and Dirk Lammers in Sioux Falls, S.D., contributed to this report. Japan cancels flights as typhoon nears OkinawaView gallery 5 hours ago Tokyo (AFP) – Powerful Typhoon Fitow forced flight cancellations and power outages as it barrelled towards Japan’s southern island chain of Okinawa on Saturday, officials said.Japan, Taiwan and China were all bracing for the storm, with Japan’s meteorological agency warning of strong winds and heavy rain, as well as the risk of tornados, just two weeks after Typhoon Usagi wreaked havoc in the region.At 4:00 pm (0700 GMT), Fitow was about 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Okinawa, and moving slowly northwest.Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways and its low-cost carrier Peach Aviation said that their flights to and from Naha had been cancelled because the typhoon.Hong Kong’s Dragonair also said its Okinawa flights had been cancelled.View gallery.”Tourists pose for pictures at Hoping island, in Keelung, northern Taiwan as Typhoon Fitow approaches …About 200 households lost electricity due to the storm, the Okinawa Electric Power said, adding that strong winds and heavy rain were hampering efforts to restore power.The typhoon, named after a flower from Micronesia, was heading towards Taiwan, which said the storm would likely pass to the north of the island on Sunday.The Central Weather Bureau in Taiwan said the typhoon had gathered momentum and was packing gusts of 137 kilometres per hour.”Fitow is maintaining its strength and will bring heavy rains to northern and northeastern Taiwan, especially Taipei and New Taipei cities. Its impact is expected to be at the strongest on Sunday morning,” the bureau said.At least 25 international flights were cancelled while 20 ferry services were suspended, including the one linking Taichung in central Taiwan with Xiamen city in southeastern China, Taiwanese officials said.View gallery.”Waves cover a swimming pool at Hoping island in Keelung, northern Taiwan as Typhoon Fitow approaches …Although the typhoon was unlikely to make landfall, the military stepped up its preparations and ordered more than 20,000 troops to be on standby.A firework preview for Taiwan’s October 10 National Day celebrations in the northern Hsinchu city later Saturday was postponed because of the bad weather, officials said.China has also issued a warning over the typhoon, which is set to hit the country’s southeast coastline late Sunday.The National Meteorological Centre raised a red alert Saturday afternoon — the highest level in a four-tier system — saying the storm would make landfall in the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian, state news agency Xinhua reported.Typhoon Usagi left 25 dead last month when it crashed into southern China, throwing the region’s transport systems into chaos and leaving tens of thousands of airline passengers stranded in Hong Kong.In 2007, a strong typhoon also called Fitow slammed into the Tokyo region, bringing downpours and violent winds that left one person dead, more than 40 injured and flooded hundreds of homes. Australia presses Russia over detained Greenpeace activistView gallery 10 hours ago Nusa Dua (Indonesia) (AFP) – Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop Saturday expressed concern to Russia about an Australian crew member of a Greenpeace ship facing a „very serious” piracy charge over an Arctic oil exploration protest.Colin Russell is one of 30 activists from the Arctic Sunrise ship who were detained in Russia and are facing the charge, which can carry a lengthy jail term, after last month’s protest.After talks with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Indonesia’s Bali, Bishop said she had raised „Australia’s concern about the case”.She said she asked the minister „that Russian authorities accord due legal process to Mr Russell and other detainees”, adding that Australia was looking into whether the „very serious charge” was appropriate.”I’m seeking advice on the details of the piracy charges. I understand they were brought under a Russian law but we’re seeking advice as to whether these charges are appropriate,” she said.View gallery.”Australian Colin Russell, a crew member from the Greenpeace Arctic Sunrise, is escorted into a polic …Piracy by an organised group carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years in Russia.Bishop said Australian consular officials had been in touch with Russell, adding: „I understand he is well, his conditions of detention are adequate.”A prisoners’ rights activist told AFP this week the detainees were complaining of cold cells, chain-smoking fellow prisoners and difficulties communicating with guards, hardly any of whom speak English.The September 18 protest saw several activists scale an oil platform owned by energy giant Gazprom in the Barents Sea to denounce Russia’s plans to drill in the Arctic.Russian border guards lowered themselves onto the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise from a helicopter, locked up the crew and towed the ship to Murmansk, located nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) north of Moscow.View gallery.”The Arctic Sunrise Greenpeace protest ship (R) lies moored next to a Russian Coast Guard ship in Kol …Russian investigators charged all 30 crew members with piracy over the protest. They accused the activists of trying to seize property with threats of violence.Greenpeace denies the crew members — who come from 18 different countries including Britain, Russia, New Zealand, Canada and France — committed any crime.Lawyers for the 30, who are being held in Murmansk and the nearby town of Apatity, have filed appeals against the decision to hold them in detention.The Netherlands said Friday it had started legal action to free the crew members. Italian fishermen honor dead migrants at seaView gallery ANDREA ROSA 2 hours ago SocietyLampedusaLAMPEDUSA, Italy (AP) — A flotilla of Italian fishermen motored into rough seas off Lampedusa on Saturday to drop a bouquet of yellow flowers near the spot of a shipwreck where more than 100 African migrants drowned. Some of them bristled at reports that a boat may have violated the „law of the sea” and ignored migrants fighting for their lives.The search to recover more bodies, meanwhile, was called off for a second day because of the bad weather conditions. More than 200 migrants, possibly as many as 250, may still be missing.The 20-meter (65-foot) migrant boat sank Thursday after a fire was set onboard to attract attention of any passing boats or people on shore. So far, 111 bodies have been recovered and 155 survivors have been accounted for.About 10 fishing vessels headed out to the site of the shipwreck in choppy seas to drop the flowers and blast their horns in honor of the migrants who died.Reports that a boat didn’t help the stranded migrants prompted a Dutch lawmaker to call for an investigation. While survivors have told authorities that a boat passed, there has been no single boat identified nor have prosecutors launched a formal investigation.View gallery.”Fishing boat captain Calosero Spalma, right, throws a wreath, with writing on a ribbon written in It …Italian lawmaker Pia Locatelli, who visited the survivors Saturday, told The Associated Press the migrants reported that a boat circled them with a light and then went away. They also saw one or two more boats in the distance before the fire.”They were absolutely sure in telling the boat went around their own boat,” Locatelli said, adding that they said the boat had lights but they were unable to offer a further description.Interpretations of an Italian law aimed at curbing illegal migration dissuade boat captains from helping migrants in distress, legislators have said.”To come to rescue is a duty. Not to come to rescue is a crime,” Laura Boldrini, the Italian house speaker who previously and for many years was the U.N. Refugee Agency spokeswoman in Italy told reporters in Lampedusa after visiting the survivors.She said it was a misinterpretation of the law to conclude that offering aid to people in need on the open sea could in any way result in criminal charges. In addition, Boldrini said the phenomenon needs to be tackled in the countries of origin — and not with punitive measures against those fleeing misery and violence.View gallery.”A wreath from the fishermen of Lampedusa is thrown at sea to pay tribute to the victims of Thursday’ …She cited an Italian law that makes entering Italy a crime. In keeping with the law, a prosecutor in Sicily has confirmed he is preparing paperwork against the migrants — a procedure hampered by their poor Italian and lack of documents.”We won’t ever solve the problem with repressive measures,” Boldrini said. „It is unthinkable that someone who flees wars or death will stop in front of the hypothesis of a crime.”She said she spoke to one 27-year-old who had been forced to serve in the Eritrean military for eight years.”They said how much they paid, how families indebted themselves, how they flee to find a life to find a life of peace and security, and also to pay back their families,” Boldrini said.At the refugee center, Awet, an Eritrean survivor who lost a friend in a shipwreck, told the AP he paid $1,600 to smugglers for the trip. He claimed the captain had a phone, but had thrown it into the sea.View gallery.”A Coast Guard boat maneuvers past a buoy marking the exact point of the sunken ship which was carryi …Fishermen, including one who saved several dozen of the migrants from the shipwreck, said offering help to those in need is part of their code.”It’s the law of the sea!” Vito Fiorini said. „If you find somebody in need you must immediately help. How could you turn away when you see a person who needs help?”They do it (help) all the time, it’s unthinkable that a fisherman of Lampedusa would pretend to see nothing!”Fiorini, who has said he was the first to reach the fiery wreck and sounded the alarm, said some of the 47 migrants he pulled from the sea had been stripped of their clothing, possibly by the current. Some clung onto water bottles to stay afloat for three hours and others were so slippery from being covered in gasoline that it was hard to pull them onboard.The scope of the tragedy at Lampedusa — with 111 bodies recovered so far and more than 200 missing, according to survivor accounts given to U.N. officials — has prompted outpourings of grief and calls for a comprehensive EU immigration policy to deal with the tens of thousands fleeing poverty and strife in Africa and the Middle East.View gallery.”A buoy marks at the exact point where the wreck of a ship carrying African migrants towards Italy re …Thousands make the perilous crossing each year, seeking a new life in the prosperous European Union. Smugglers charge thousands of dollars a head for the journey aboard overcrowded, barely seaworthy boats that lack life vests. Each year hundreds die undertaking the crossing._____AP writer Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.