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Pesticide poisoning was the likely cause of the mysterious deaths of at least 18 people in a southwestern Nigerian town earlier this week, the World Health Organization said Sunday. The "current hypothesis is cause of the event is herbicides", WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in a tweet. "Tests done so far are negative for viral and bacterial infection," he added. The victims began showing symptoms early last week in what Ondo state spokesman Kayode Akinmade called a "mysterious disease", prompting fears of a new infectious disease outbreak in a region ravaged by Ebola.
As many as 700 migrants were feared drowned Sunday after their packed boat capsized off Libya in what was described as the deadliest such disaster to date in the Mediterranean. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and Italy's coastguard said only 28 people had survived the wreck. Their testimonies suggested there had been about 700 people on board the 20-metre (70-foot) fishing boat, officials said. "It seems we are looking at the worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean," UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.