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Rome Reports

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A Matter of Life and Death: Saving migrants in the Mediterranean

These aren't scenes from a movie...they are real life rescues off the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, scenes like these are becoming far too common.  Waves can turn deadly. In a split second, the sea can become a cemetery of both hope and life.  FILIPPO MARINI Italian Coast Guard  "These are people who are truly desperate. They travel in dangerous conditions. They have nothing. They have no security measures and they travel on old boats.â? Back in February, Pope Francis met with a delegation from the Coast Guard, adding that he felt small and humbled before them.   Their work literally saves lives. It also involves justice.  FILIPPO MARINI Italian Coast Guard "Even before the rescue, we record the scene on video and we talk to migrants on board to find out who the swindler is. It's very important information that we then pass on to the police department who deal with these people out on the ground.â?  The means and workload of Italy's Coast Guard has changed over the years, but their mission is the same. July 20th marks the 150th anniversary. Given the Pope's interest on immigration, it teamed up with the Vatican to design a stamp to mark the anniversary.  MAURO OLIVIERI Vatican Philatelic and Numismatic Office "All proceeds that come from the stamp will be turned over to Papal charities to support programs that help immigrants.â?  In 2014 alone, more than 170,000 immigrants took on the journey and arrived in Italy. Thousands didn't make it.  Most of the migrants come from Libya, but there's also a growing number of Syrians who are trying to flee their country's war and instability.  The drama unfolds in Italy, but it's an issue that affects countries far beyond European borders.  KLH  MG JM -PR Up: MPI