The Independent

World news in brief

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Oscars goes without red carpet for first time since 1961

For the first time since 1961, the Academy Awards was last night without its iconic red carpet. That’s because, this year, the Oscars opted for stars to strut their stuff down a carpet with a champagne hue. The move breaks away from the 62-year tradition and is down to the Academy wanting a “soothing” colour for the event in Los Angeles.

Italy fears huge numbers of migrants might sail from Libya

Intelligen­ce reports indicate nearly 700,000 migrants are in Libya awaiting an opportunit­y to set out by sea toward Italy, a lawmaker from premier Giorgia Meloni’s far-right party said yesterday. Tommaso Foti, the lower parliament­ary house whip for the Brothers of Italy Party, told television channel Tgcom24 the Italian secret services estimate there are 685,000 migrants, many of them in Libyan detention camps, who are eager to sail across the central Mediterran­ean Sea in smugglers’ boats.

Some 105,000 migrants reached Italy by sea in 2022. From the start of this year through 10 March, some 17,600 arrived, including a few thousand who disembarke­d at Italian ports in the last several days. Italy’s coast guard said it rescued more than 1,000 migrants off the country’s southern mainland in recent days. Hundreds more reached the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, after setting off from Tunisia, according to authoritie­s. With the island struggling to care for so many people arriving within a short time, authoritie­s have transferre­d hundreds of them by boat and aircraft to other temporary shelters for asylum-seekers.

Yesterday, three more bodies were found from the 26 February shipwreck just offshore the Italian peninsula, raising the known death toll in that disaster to 79 migrants, Italian state TV said. A wooden boat that had sailed from Turkey ran into sandbank in rough seas off a beach in Calabria, the toe of the Italian peninsula. There were 80 survivors, and an undetermin­ed number of people were believed to be missing and presumed dead.

Rapper dies aged 28 after ‘collapsing on stage’

Costa Titch has died aged 28 after “collapsing on stage” at a music festival. The South African musician – full name Costa Tsobanoglo­u – was performing as part of the Ultra South Africa festival at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesbu­rg on Saturday. According to reports, Tsobanoglo­u collapsed on stage during his

performanc­e, with his family confirming on Instagram that he died soon after.

“Death has tragically knocked at our door robbing us of our beloved son, brother and grandson Constantin­os Tsobanoglo­u who South Africa had come to love and idolise under his stage name Costa Titch,” their statement read. “It is with deep pain that we find ourselves having to acknowledg­e his passing at this time.” No cause of death was given.

School accused of barring white students from production

A conservati­ve parent group in Massachuse­tts has accused a high school of barring students from joining a play about people of colour. The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights is investigat­ing claims made by Parents Defending Education in October 2022, Fox News Digital reported.

They alleged white teens at Newton North High School were discrimina­ted against and deterred from participat­ing in the play “Lost and Found: Our Stories as People of Color,” which was open for BIPOC (Black, indigenous and people of colour) students. “... the applicatio­n to register for an audition slot requests a headshot (“You can take a selfie with a phone if you choose”), which appears to reinforce the identity-based nature of this event; furthermor­e, it asks students how they ‘identify racially/ethnically’, the group wrote in its website.

But the school denied the allegation­s in a statement to Fox, saying that while BIPOC students were especially encouraged to take part in the production of the play, white students were not banned.

Three Palestinia­ns killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

Israeli forces shot and killed three Palestinia­n militants yesterday who opened fire on troops in the occupied West Bank, the military said, the latest bloodshed in a year-long wave of violence in the region. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, an armed

offshoot of Palestinia­n president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, claimed the men killed as members.

The Palestinia­n Health Ministry said the men were killed by Israeli fire near the city of Nablus and identified them as Jihad Mohammed al-Shami, 24, Uday Othman al-Shami, 22 and Mohammed Raed Dabeek, 18. The military said it confiscate­d three M16 rifles from the militants after the shootout and that one gunman turned himself in and was arrested. The deaths yesterday bring to 80 the number of Palestinia­ns killed since the start of the year, as Israel has stepped up arrest raids in the West Bank. A spasm of Palestinia­n attacks against Israelis has killed 14 people in 2023.

The fresh violence follows an Israeli military raid last week on the West Bank village of Jaba, where three Palestinia­n militants were killed. Hours later, a Palestinia­n gunman opened fire on a busy Tel Aviv thoroughfa­re at the start of the Israeli weekend, wounding three people before being shot and killed. The current round of violence is one of the worst between Israelis and Palestinia­ns in the West Bank in years. It began last spring after a series of Palestinia­n attacks against Israelis that triggered nearnightl­y Israeli raids in the West Bank.

Oil giant Saudi Aramco made £134bn profit last year

Saudi Aramco announced yesterday it earned a $161bn (£134bn) profit last year, attributin­g its earnings to higher crude oil prices. The firm, known formally as the Saudi Arabian Oil Co, said in its annual report that the profit represente­d “its highest annual profits as a listed company”.

“Given that we anticipate oil and gas will remain essential for the foreseeabl­e future, the risks of underinves­tment in our industry are real – including contributi­ng to higher energy prices,” Saudi Aramco CEO and President Amin H Nasser said in a statement.

Nasser said Aramco would spend $37.6bn (£31.2bn) to expand its production capacity. Aramco also declared a dividend of

$19.5bn (£16.2bn) for the fourth quarter of 2022, to be paid in the first quarter of this year.

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 ?? (AFP/Getty) ?? Last - minute preparatio­ns are made last night along the champagne - coloured carpet ahead of the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood
(AFP/Getty) Last - minute preparatio­ns are made last night along the champagne - coloured carpet ahead of the 95th Academy Awards in Hollywood
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