Twenty dead after refugee boat sinks on way to Australia

The Australia-bound boat is believed to have been carrying 120 people [AFP]

A boat carrying asylum seekers to Australia, most of them from the Middle East, has sunk off the Indonesian coast killing at least 21 people, Indonesian television reported on Friday. 

Authorities say 28 people survived the incident and more than 70 others are unaccounted for. 
Officials say the passengers were mostly from the Middle East, including Lebanon and Yemen. One Lebanese man is reported to have lost his wife and eight children. 
Survivors said the boat was headed for Australia\’s Christmas Island. 
The sinking comes just days ahead of new Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot\’s first state visit to Indonesia, where his tough boatpeople deterrence policies are likely to be the focus of talks. 
The steady flow of refugee boats is a hot political issue in Australia, polarizing voters and stoking tension with countries like Indonesia and Sri Lanka.
Source: Agencies

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