March 19 - Italian coast guard and navy ships rescue more than 2,000 people traveling in boats from North Africa in just 48 hours. Leigh Paterson reports.
More than two thousand north African migrants make it to safety after Italian naval and coast guard vessels come to their rescue. The rescue underscores the scale of illegal migration into southern Europe. The 48 hour mission was carried out off the southern coast of Sicily, and follows a similar rescue of some 500 just a day before. But the problem is not new. Italy has struggled for decades with a steady stream of people traveling in small, unsafe boats from North Africa. But since the turmoil of the Arab Spring beginning in 2011, the number coming to Italy from that region is on the rise -- with no end in sight. Italy increased its naval and air patrols off the coast of Sicily after hundreds of migrants drowned last year in two separate disasters.