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More than 700 people are feared to have drowned after an overcrowded boat smuggling them to Europe capsized off Libya, officials said Sunday, prompting demands for the European Union to react to the Mediterranean's deadliest migrant disaster to date. Italy's coastguard, which was coordinating the search for survivors and bodies, said only 28 people had survived a wreck that triggered fresh calls from Pope Francis and others for European leaders to act over what many saw as an avoidable tragedy. The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said survivors' testimonies suggested there had been around 700 people on board the 20-metre (70-foot) fishing boat when it keeled over in darkness overnight, officials said. "It seems we are looking at the worst massacre ever seen in the Mediterranean," UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said.
Cubans voted Sunday in local elections featuring two opposition candidates who could become the island's first non-Communist elected officials in decades. Political dissidents Hildebrando Chaviano, a 65-year old lawyer and independent journalist, and Yuniel Lopez, a 26-year old computer scientist, have already made history by surviving the first round of balloting and making it to the final vote. Chaviano and Lopez would be the first officials elected from outside the Communist Party since Cuba's electoral law was put in place under former president Fidel Castro in 1976. In their official electoral biographies displayed publicly in Cuba, Chaviano and Lopez are described as "counter-revolutionaries," and there has been no mention of them or their parties in state-controlled media.