French customs officers have seized 1.2 million doses of counterfeit aspirin from China, the biggest haul of fake medicines ever in France and the EU, the economy ministry announced Saturday.
Boat in distress found off Indonesia: Australia
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the defence ship HMAS Wollongong had located the vessel south of Indonesia after officials called on boats in the area to offer assistance to the stricken vessel.
"Due to adverse weather conditions it is not safe for HMAS Wollongong to attempt to board the vessel in order to confirm the nature of the distress," AMSA said in a statement.
The boat, thought to have between 130 and 180 people on board, is the latest in a series of asylum-seeker vessels attempting to reach Australia's remote territory of Christmas Island from nearby Indonesia.
More than 90 people are estimated to have drowned when two asylum-seeker vessels went down in the waters between Christmas Island and Indonesia in separate incidents in recent weeks.
AMSA said it had been coordinating efforts with Indonesia's search and rescue authority Basarnas. It earlier said the vessel was thought to be about 63 nautical miles (116 kilometres) southwest of West Java and 200 nautical miles northwest of Christmas Island.
The location is within Indonesia's maritime search and rescue zone.
"We have received information about a boat in distress from Australia, but we are not in touch with the boat and have no other information about it," Basarnas spokesman Gagah Prakoso said before the boat was found.
"We are getting ready to send a C-130 Hercules plane to drop off things like life jackets to the stricken boat. We also have 150 personnel getting ready for rescue efforts."
AMSA said after receiving the distress call it had issued a broadcast to ships in the area, advised the stricken vessel to head for the nearest land and requested assistance from Australian border protection ships and aircraft.
Australian Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare earlier said the vessel was motoring its way back to Indonesia but authorities were taking the distress call seriously.
"The boat has rung, said it's in distress, that it's taking on water," he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "Whenever you have a call like that, you take it seriously.
"If the vessel is sinking, if the vessel cannot make it back to Indonesia, we will have HMAS Wollongong on the scene, as well as any merchant vessels that might be available, to rescue the people on the boat."
More than 5,200 asylum-seekers have come to Australia so far this year on boats, many of which are fragile, wooden vessels from transit hubs in Indonesia.
Canberra's bid to deter people smugglers from making the dangerous voyage to Australia by sending asylum-seekers to Malaysia for processing has so far failed to be passed by parliament, despite the recent fatalities.
The conservative opposition, whose support the government needs to pass the bill, oppose the plan on the grounds that Malaysia is not a signatory to UN refugee conventions.
Former Palme d'Or winner Roman Polanski returns to the Croisette with 'Venus in Fur', a new adaptation of a play about the infamous sadomasochistic nov... More Former Palme d'Or winner Roman Polanski returns to the Croisette with 'Venus in Fur', a new adaptation of a play about the infamous sadomasochistic novel by Sacher-Masoch. Duration: 01:06
Date 9 hrs ago, Duration 1:06, Views 47