SYDNEY — An urgent search and rescue mission was under way early today for about two dozen people missing after their boat sank in open seas far off Australia.
A merchant ship that responded to a distress call managed to pluck 17 survivors from the Indian Ocean late Sunday and was searching for others, Australia's Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor said.
About 40 people were believed to be aboard the boat when it went down near the Cocos Islands, sparsely-populated atolls about 800 miles south of Indonesia.
O'Connor said it was too early to say whether those on board were asylum seekers trying to reach Australia, though aspects of the emergency — such as an unseaworthy boat carrying so many people — signaled that may be the case.
Gitmo detainees to receive flu vaccine
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base will soon get swine flu vaccines, despite complaints that American civilians should have priority, a military spokesman said Sunday.
Army Maj. James Crabtree, a spokesman for the U.S. jail facility in southeast Cuba, said the doses should start arriving this month, with guards and then inmates scheduled for inoculations.
He acknowledged there may be an "emotional response" from critics who argue that terrorism suspects should not be allocated swine flu vaccinations while members of the U.S. public are still waiting due to a vaccine shortage.
But he said U.S. military officials are "responsible for the health and care of the detainee population."