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Boatload of migrants rescued off Italy

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Around one hundred migrants were rescued from a packed dinghy off the Italian coastline on Friday after being at sea for four days. An Italian police boat spotted the vessel off the coast of Lampedusa island. The migrants who appeared to be all male and of African origin, were wearing lifejackets but were precariously perched inside the overcrowded boat. The police team completed the vessel transfer at sea, bringing the migrants safely into the port on Lampedusa. An estimated 1,500 migrants lost their lives in the Mediterranean in 2011, many of them trying to escape the turmoil caused by the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa, according to Human Rights Watch. It estimated the death toll in 2012 at more than 300. Close to one thousand migrants have arrived on Italian shores in the recent months, with more regular arrivals as weather conditions improve.

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