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Aquarius docked in Marseille. Photo: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (known by its French acronym MSF) was forced last Thursday to shut down its search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean on board the vessel Aquarius, blaming a "dishonest smearing and obstructive campaign."

Why it matters: MSF International President Joanne Liu tells Al Jazeera in an interview: "We just can't understand why saving lives has become illegal." She added that MSF is examining whether there's any possibility of resuming operations in the future.

How difficult was it to continue operations in recent months and what forced you to stop them?

Liu: "The last few months, rescuing people in the Mediterranean was made more and more difficult for us. We were regularly blocked and impeded in trying to save lives. We tried to get a flag for several weeks but things didn't work out. First Gibraltar and then Panama, under increasing pressure from different states, decided to withdraw the flag. So we decided that we needed to close that sequence and see how we go forward."

What happens now with the Aquarius and the rescue mission?

Liu: "With the sabotage of the Aquarius, gone is the most basic humanitarian and legal commitment: saving lives at sea. For the time being, we are re-assessing so it's a bit too early to answer that. We can't resume unless we have a boat flag. There's no sign of that happening right now. We will talk to... countries and put forward what the reality is."

"It's clear that migration is a very, very politically loaded issue. Countries need to understand that human rights of a person do not disappear as soon as they cross the border."

What are the countries opposing your operations saying to this?

Liu: "Right now, it is being portrayed that the number of migrants reaching the shores of Europe is decreasing. That's being shown as a success story by these people. But on the flip side, that's because more and more people are being rescued by the Libyan coastguards and taken back to the filthy, overcrowded detention centers in Libya where almost 5,000 of them are living in inhumane conditions. We're telling them that the cost of their success is human lives and dignity."  

Go deeper: Read the full Al Jazeera report.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Ore. on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.

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